The Unholy Three (1925)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller  |   Release Date - Aug 16, 1925 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

To base a silent film on a character that depends wholly on sound to be effective -- a ventriloquist for example -- may seem like sheer folly, but that is exactly what director Tod Browning and screenwriter Waldemar Young set out to do in The Unholy Three. That they succeeded as well as they did is mainly due to the amazing Lon Chaney, who made as convincing a carnival performer masquerading as a little old lady as he did a hunchback. Not that The Unholy Three stands up to too much scrutiny. Why, for instance, would Chaney's larcenous Grandma O'Grady risk his entire operation on a straight arrow like Matt Moore's Hector? And how come everyone is engaged in cataloguing the content of their safe at the very moment Grandma and Tweedledee (Harry Earles) arrive to case the joint? Such questions should of course never be asked of an unabashed melodrama like The Unholy Three, which depends entirely on the audience's ability to suspend disbelief.