The Shadow of Silk Lennox (1935)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Having refused for years to ride on his famous father's coattails, Creighton Chaney was convinced by Poverty Row producer-director Ray Kirkwood to bill himself Lon Chaney, Jr. in a proposed series of 24 action thrillers, of which this very minor gangster melodrama was the second entry. Foreshadowing things to come, Chaney made his underworld mobster in The Shadow of Silk Lennox an almost likable character, complete with a catch phrase ("fine as silk!") and a way with the ladies. Lennox is the brains behind a series of bank robberies and uses a popular singing team, Jimmy (Dean Benton) and Nola (Marie Burton), as his patsies. Without realizing it at first, the two innocents hold the key to Lennox's downfall -- a phonograph record -- and when a gang member is suddenly found murdered, Jimmy and Nola use their inside information to bring the mobster to justice. Coming near the end of the gangster cycle, this one used every cliché in the book, including the G-Man masquerading as a gangster and people being "taken for a ride." Producer Kirkwood never made good on his promise of 24 Chaney films; in fact, only one other film -- the even more obscure Scream in the Night -- ever saw the light of day. Both films were dusted off and re-released in the early 1940s to take advantage of Chaney's newfound stardom at Universal.

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Keywords

gangster, agent [representative], bad-guy, criminal, disguise, good-guy, impersonation, infiltration, nightclub, undercover