Outside the Law (1920)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama  |   Release Date - May 9, 1926 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

One of the earliest of the "psychological" crime yarns, Outside the Law stars Priscilla Dean as "Silk Moll" Madden, daughter of ex-crook "Silent" Madden (Ralph Lewis). Moll has tried to remain honest, like her reformed father. But when Silent Madden is framed for a shooting and sent to jail, Moll assumes he's guilty and reverts to a life of crime. She falls in with jewel thief "Black Mike" Sylva (Lon Chaney Sr.), who, unbeknownst to her, is responsible for railroading her father. When she learns the truth about Black Mike, Moll and another disillusioned crook, "Dapper Bill" Ballard (Wheeler Oakman), skip with a cache of stolen jewels and hide out somewhere in San Francisco. The climax is a tricky bit of camera legerdemain, wherein Black Mike is killed by a Chinese cohort-also played by Lon Chaney Sr. Co-written by director Tod Browning and Lucien Hubbard, Outside the Law was remade as a talkie in 1930, again directed by Browning and starring Edward G. Robinson in the Chaney role.



criminal, daughter, father, frame-up, showdown