The Unholy Three (1925 film)
|The Unholy Three (1925)|
|Directed by||Tod Browning|
|Produced by||Tod Browning
Irving Thalberg (uncredited)
|Written by||Clarence Aaron "Tod" Robbins and Waldemar Young|
E. Alyn Warren
|Editing by||Daniel Gray
|Distributed by||MGM as Metro-Goldwyn|
|Running time||86 minutes|
The film was remade in 1930 as a talkie. In both the 1925 and the 1930 version, the roles of Professor Echo and Tweedledee are played by Chaney and Harry Earles respectively. Both were based on the novel of the same name by Clarence Aaron "Tod" Robbins.
Three sideshow performers leave the circus after Tweedledee the midget assaults a child at one of their shows and become "The Unholy Three." Echo the ventriloquist assumes the role of Mrs. O'Grady, a kindly old grandmother, who runs a bird shop. Tweedledee, "The Twenty Inch Man," becomes her grandchild, and Hercules (Victor McLaglen) is their assistant. Soon an incredible crime wave is launched from their little store.
Convincingly disguised as a little old lady, Echo and his two carnival cohorts perform a series of Park Avenue robberies. Echo's sweetheart Rosie (Mae Busch) plays along with the Unholy Three but changes her mind when their latest burglary, which ended in murder, threatens to send an innocent man (Rosie's lover) to the electric chair.
During the scene where Echo and company are fleeing the pet store, Echo decides to take his pet ape with them. The "Ape" was actually a three-foot-tall chimpanzee who was made to appear gigantic with camera trickery and perspective shots. When Echo removes the ape from his cage, the shot shows Echo (with his back turned to the camera) unlocking the cage and walking the ape to the truck. The ape appears to be roughly the same size as Echo. This effect was achieved by having midget actor Harry Earles (who played "Tweedledee" in the film) play Echo for these brief shots, and then cutting to the normal sized Lon Chaney, making it seem as though the Ape is gigantic. (In the 1930 remake the ape is played by a man in a costume.)
- Lon Chaney as Professor Echo, the ventriloquist, aka Mrs. 'Granny' O'Grady
- Mae Busch as Rosie O'Grady
- Matt Moore as Hector McDonald
- Victor McLaglen as Hercules, the strongman, aka 'Son-in-Law'
- Harry Earles as Tweedledee, the midget, aka Baby 'Little Willie'
- Matthew Betz as Detective Regan
- Edward Connelly as The Judge
- William Humphrey as Defense Attorney (billed as William Humphreys)
- E. Alyn Warren as Prosecuting Attorney (billed as A.E. Warren)
- "Progressive Silent Film List: The Unholy Three". Silent Era. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- The Unholy Three at allmovie
- The Unholy Three at the Internet Movie Database
- The Unholy Three at the TCM Movie Database