The Unholy Three

The Unholy Three ★★★

Of all Chaney’s starting vehicles to remake as a sound version, The Unholy Three makes the most sense even if it wasn’t a very thrilling choice. (West of Zanzibar would have been my choice but it was quite a recent release still in 1930). It would have been really hard for Chaney to seamlessly transition to sound chalked in makeup with hooks in his mouth. In a wig masquerading as a old grandmother was not just much more manageable but also allowed Chaney to show off his vocal chords, doing multiple voices throughout.

Other than adding sound, there really isn’t much more to this remake than the 1925 Todd Browning original. It never feels too stagey but the ridiculous plot is hard to realistically sell without the mystique of silent film. I would have loved to see Chaney in an original talkie but at least we know his voice decently matches his persona.

Also I love that whoever adapted this decided to keep the murderous gorilla.

Shawn liked this review