Lon Chaney


Directed by                     Victor Seastrom
Produced by                   Victor Seastrom, Irving Thalberg (uncredited)
Screenplay by                 Victor Seastrom, Carey Wilson
Based on                          He Who Gets Slapped by Leonid Andreyev
Starring                           Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert
Cinematography             Milton Moore
Editing by                        Hugh Wynn
Distributed by                 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date                     November 9, 1924 (United States)
Running time                   71 mins
Country                            United States
Language                          Silent, English intertitles


"He Who Gets Slapped" (1924) is a poignant drama starring Lon Chaney. This film illustrates the work of our star director Victor Seastrom.  This was the second film he made in Hollywood after a career in his native Sweden.  It was also the first film produced by the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Lon Chaney plays the role of a scientist on the verge of important discovery.  He has very little means, but gets help from a certain baron, who gives shelter and support to him and his wife.  One day Lon Chaney completes his work and is ready to appear before the Academy.   He happily announces his discovery to the baron.

Lon Chaney entrusts the baron to make the presentation before the Academy.  He is shocked to see that the baron announces the discovery as his own.  When Lon Chaney protests and claims ownership, the baron calls him an insane man and slaps him in the face.  All the academics laugh.  Lon Chaney is heartbroken.  To top it off, his wife deserts him for the baron.

Years later Lon Chaney makes a living as a clown by the name of "He Who Gets Slapped".  One day a certain count brings his daughter to perform in the circus and Lon Chaney is attracted to her.  The girl has a boyfriend who wants to marry her, but her father has different designs for her. He arranges a marriage between his daughter and the same baron for money.  As Lon Chaney gets the news, he is outraged and determined to prevent this marriage.

Lon Chaney tries to stop the marriage by talking to the girl's father, to no avail.  He then decides that he must do anything possible to prevent that matrimony.  He opens the door of a lion's cage in the neighboring room.  Then during a scuffle with the girl's father Lon Chaney gets fatally stabbed.  The baron and the girl's father try to leave to escape being caught by the police, by walk right into the lion and are killed.  

Lon Chaney gets the last laugh.  He has the strength for one last clown performance before dying on the stage.

"He Who Gets Slapped"  is a critically acclaimed drama, in which Lon Chaney delivers another very strong acting performance in the year after he made "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

The film is ranked number 49 in the list of The Top 100 Silent Era Films of the influential website Silent Era.

It enjoys a robust rating in IMDB.   


He Who Gets Slapped (1924) on IMDb



Click to enlarge:


 Lon Chaney in He Who Gets Slapped 1924 director Victor Seastrom 2

   Lon Chaney