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Man of a Thousand Faces

Released Aug 13, 1957 2h 2m Biography List
80% Tomatometer 10 Reviews 78% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
Lon Chaney (James Cagney) is a charismatic young man breaking into vaudeville as a juggler and mime. He falls in love with his new assistant, Cleva (Dorothy Malone), but when he reveals that he grew up as the son of two deaf-mute parents, she reacts with horror and disgust. The psychologically unbalanced Cleva leaves Chaney shortly after their son is born, but when he moves to Hollywood, remarries and becomes a movie star, she returns in an attempt to get back into her son's life. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (10) Critics Reviews
Jean Yothers Orlando Sentinel In Man of a Thousand Faces, the film biography' of Chaney... "the mystery man" comes to life again with all his greatness and strangeness. Oct 8, 2021 Full Review Rocco T. Thompson Rue Morgue Magazine For a film dedicated to one of the most subtle and emotionally evocative silent screen artists, Man of a Thousand Faces is conspicuously overstated, stiff, and unmoving. Jul 3, 2024 Full Review Chris Alexander Alexander On Film If you can suspend your disbelief, the lousy make-up doesn't detract from how beautiful, moving and loving a tribute to Chaney's legacy the film is. Dec 16, 2019 Full Review Clyde Gilmour Maclean's Magazine The picture is a bit too long and its sombre tone may irritate those customers who insist on ridiculing all old movies, but its rich sense of period and atmosphere and Cagney's superb performance make it an item worth seeing. Nov 26, 2019 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy This is the usual Hollywood biopic that contains almost as much fiction as fact, but that doesn't dim enjoyment of this celebration of one of the all-time great horror stars. Rated: 3/4 Nov 2, 2019 Full Review Alberto Abuín Espinof 'Man of a thousand faces' draws the figure of a myth, showing that you can get to the true essence of something, or someone, without being true to facts. [Full review in Spanish] Oct 5, 2016 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Steve D Unpleasant and offensive. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 07/08/23 Full Review kevin w Twenty-seven years after his death Universal Pictures decided to resurrect the memory of Lon Chaney, one of their most notable stars with a biopic, no doubt in part in an attempt to stave off the successes of the burgeoning television industry. Chaney made a splash as an actor who is remembered less for his theatrical chops than for his creativity with makeup. James Cagney, notable in his own right, plays Chaney as a workaholic soul who is only alive while performing, and so his life at home suffers. Dorothy Malone plays that life at home who chaffs in her thinly ascribed given role. What is most interesting about the work is the social stigma of the times about being mute, the truest chord in the film. In a slap in of the face of the subject himself the make-up of all things, is second-rate, go figure. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member Crisply photographed in B&W Cinemascope, this overlong and rather pedestrian biopic of silent screen icon Lon Chaney is redeemed by decent performances, a lushly old-fashioned score from Frank Skinner, and a characteristically energetic and unsentimental James Cagney in the title-role. There are ridiculously melodramatic early scenes when Dorothy Malone has to be appalled to discover Chaney's parents are deaf. And Cagney is far too old to be the plausible ingenue of these early scenes. There's not enough focus on Chaney the performer either. If they had cut out half-an-hour and put some oomph in the script it would have been twice as interesting. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Audience Member A loving tribute to horror royalty. Cagney does a solid job bringing Chaney to life, as he struggles to work his way up to legendary status. The wife is cartoonishly over-the-top with convincing you to hate her at the beginning, that it's hard to connect with her later on. Aside from that, it's a nice showcase of the legend. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 04/05/20 Full Review Audience Member I can't get rotten tomatoes to play the movie I don't know how to use rotten tomatoes Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review joel h The beginning of this biopic is overly melodramatic, but somewhere along the way Man of a Thousand Faces transformed into an engaging drama about an enigmatic man. I didn't know much about Lon Chaney going into it, and apparently parts of this film are highly fictionalized, but I enjoyed learning about the life of this iconic actor as he is played by another iconic actor, James Cagney. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Man of a Thousand Faces

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Movie Info

Synopsis Lon Chaney (James Cagney) is a charismatic young man breaking into vaudeville as a juggler and mime. He falls in love with his new assistant, Cleva (Dorothy Malone), but when he reveals that he grew up as the son of two deaf-mute parents, she reacts with horror and disgust. The psychologically unbalanced Cleva leaves Chaney shortly after their son is born, but when he moves to Hollywood, remarries and becomes a movie star, she returns in an attempt to get back into her son's life.
Director
Joseph Pevney
Producer
Robert Arthur
Distributor
Universal Pictures
Production Co
Universal/Universal Int
Genre
Biography
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Aug 13, 1957, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Oct 8, 2020
Runtime
2h 2m