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Lon Chaney, Marceline Day and Edna Tichenor
Directed by Tod Browning
Written by Waldemar Young (scenario), Joseph Farnham (titles)
Based on "The Hypnotist" by Tod Browning
Starring Lon Chaney, Marceline Day, Conrad Nagel, Henry B. Walthall
Cinematography Merritt B. Gerstad
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date December 3, 1927 (United States)
Running time 69 mins.
Country United States
Language Silent, English intertitles
We have included this film in our program to illustrate the work and contributions of our star Marceline Day.
"London After Midnight" is a classic mystery thriller and a crime drama. The last known copy of the film perished in 1967 in the MGM vaults fire that also destroyed another film with Lon Chaney and Marceline Day, "The Big City". The film is not available for viewing, this is why we have to rely on newspaper articles from the 1920ies. "London After Midnight" is considered the most sought after of all lost films.
Here are just a few of the reviews for this film:
The motion picture has supplied the latest step in modern detective fiction by presenting that great master of characterization, Lon Chaney, in "London After Midnight," a strange, fascinating story of crime detection.
The story revolves around the supposed suicide of Roger Balfour, whose pretty daughter Lucille is then adopted by Balfour's executor, Sir James Hamlin. Burke, a Scotland Yard man. investigates the case, but reports suicide. Five years later Burke gets a staggering, dramatic clue, and decides to re-open the case, employing hypnotism in elucidating the mysterious crime.
This is the best picture Chaney has given us and will be seen and marveled at by thousands of his admirers everywhere. The very strong supporting cast includes several favorites, including Marceline Day, Conrad Nagel, Polly Moran and Henry B. Walthall. (Frankston & Somerville Standard)
The development of the story introduces "ghosts" and many weird denizens of worlds unknown and the tracking down of the criminal is eventually accomplished in the most dramatic, awe-inspiring circumstances. (Morning Bulletin)
''London After Midnight," starring Lon Chaney, is the last word in modern detective fiction - it will galvanize all who see it with astonishment and expectancy, while a very tender love story is part of the theme. That dainty Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer player, Marceline Day, heads the supporting cast opposite "the man of 1000 faces," and Conrad Nagel, admired of millions of fans, together with Henry B. Walthall, famous character actor, and Polly Moran, popular comedienne, appear in the unusually strong cast. (Northern Star)
It is a remarkable story of crime detection, employing hypnotism and psychology in reconstructing a murder to bring the felon to justice. A strange English mansion, over which hang sinister legends and astounding myths, is the eerie background of the plot.
The Man of a Thousand Faces plays the role of a Scotland Yard detective, assigned to the task of ferreting out a strange plot. As a student of hypnotism he pits his knowledge against superstitions beliefs, and solves a mystery that, when the supernatural is explained away, is a remarkable scientific exposition of the craft of the modern investigator of crime. Miss Marceline Day has the leading feminine role. (The Advertiser)
In addition, there is a tender romance surrounding the daughter of the murdered man, played by Marceline Day in a convincing manner. (The Mercury)
If Lon Chaney elects never to make another picture, then he will have done the cinema public a great injustice, for he has proved. time and again, that he is indisputably the screen's finest character actor. In "London After Midnight" "the man of a thousand faces" offers an entirely new type of role, that of Inspector Burke, the smartest man in Scotland Yard, and, in many ways, surpasses all his previous performances. Flapping bats, hooting owls, scurrying mice, and armadillos which crawl about as though worked by clockwork, men with faces bland as wax, who enter rooms in the form of a cloud of smoke and, most marvelous of all - the living dead; these are but a few of the eerie concomitants which make "London After Midnight" the thrilling mystery drama it is. (Auckland Star)
Pulsating drama, black mystery, powerful emotional forces, comedy and love combine: a mighty screen thrill that keeps the onlooker on the very tiptoe of astonishment and anticipation until the criminal is brought to justice.
The famous players in the picture give strong memorable performances. Chaney is wonderful - it is undoubtedly his greatest achievement - and he always dominates the action. "London After Midnight" is in every respect the greatest detective story yet brought to the screen, and should not be missed by any picturegoer. (The Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express)
Click to enlarge:
London after Midnight
Marceline Day does some excellent emotional acting in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day is hypnotized as Lon Chaney and Edna Tichenor look for clues in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day and Conrad Nagel face the investigator in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day wants to learn the truth in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day is at ease with her guardian Henry Walthall in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Lon Chaney is scary in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day and Lon Chaney are very concerned in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day and Henry Walthall will both be tested by Lon Chaney in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day with Lon Chaney in a poster for "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day plays the piano for Henry Walthall in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day is scared by Edna Tichenor in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day is consoled by Lon Chaney in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day and Polly Moran look worried in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Marceline Day is frightened by Lon Chaney and Edna Tichenor in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Director Tod Browning, Marceline Day and Lon Chaney read the book "Easy Lessons in Hypnotism" on the set of "London After Midnight" (1927).
Director Tod Browning, Marceline Day and Lon Chaney are horrified by what they see in the book "Easy Lessons in Hypnotism" on the set of "London After Midnight" (1927).
Polly Moran is scared to death by Lon Chaney in "London After Midnight" (1927).
Lon Chaney is scary again in "London After Midnight" (1927).
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