- Outside the Law (1920 film)
Outside the Law Directed by Tod Browning Produced by Tod Browning Written by Gardner Bradford
Starring Priscilla Dean
Cinematography William Fildew Distributed by Universal Film Manufacturing Company Release date(s) 26 December 1920 Running time 75 minutes Country United States Language Silent
Outside the Law is considered to be one of the first psychologically driven films in the gangster genre. It was the second film on which Browning worked with Lon Chaney. The contrasting dual roles Browning wrote for Chaney as a heroic Chinese servant and an evil gangster are considered to have solidified the long-lasting collaboration between the two. Outside the Law is one of only a handful of Browning's films that is not a horror film. The film has been commended for its strong female lead, saying actress "Priscilla Dean in this picture is a film revelation... [she] goes to the fore and remains there..." In contrast to many films of the period, it generally depicts its Chinese characters favorably, most notably by having characters invested in the Confucian teachings of the teacher character, Chang Lo.
Silent Madden, a criminal leader in San Francisco, and his gangster daughter Molly (Priscilla Dean) have forsaken a life of crime after receiving counsel from Chang Lo, a Confucianist philosopher living in Chinatown. A despicable gangster named Black Mike Sylva (Lon Chaney) frames Molly's father for murder, causing Molly to lose faith in abiding the law and prompting her return to a life of crime. Black Mike plots to double-cross Molly as well during a jewelry theft, but Molly gets word from her gangster lover and foils Black Mike's plans. While hiding out from the law, Molly's hard heart is slowly melted by her gangster lover. The film ends with a climactic shootout.
This film was considerably longer in its original 1921 release. It was thought lost for some 50 years until a print was located in 1975. The newly found print was a 1926 re-release of the film by Universal after Chaney and Browning had moved over to MGM and achieved greater stardom. The scenes from the original release that appear to be trimmed or whittled down are certain plot motivations by the Ah Wing character, who originally had a bigger role in the story.
- Priscilla Dean - Molly Madden (Silky Moll)
- Wheeler Oakman - Dapper Bill Ballard
- Lon Chaney - Black Mike Sylva / Ah Wing
- Ralph Lewis - Silent Madden
- E. Alyn Warren - Chang Lo
- Stanley Goethals - That Kid
- Melbourne MacDowell - Morgan Spencer
- Wilton Taylor - Inspector
- John George - Humpy (uncredited)
- Anna May Wong - Chinese Girl (uncredited)
- ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: Outside the Law". Silent Era. http://www.silentera.com/PSFL/data/O/OutsideTheLaw1920.html. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- ^ Cinemaweb review of Outside the Law (retrieved September 14, 2009)
- ^ Bernard F. Dick, City of dreams: the making and remaking of Universal Pictures, p. 55
- ^ Silentsaregolden.com reprint of Variety review
- Outside the Law at the Internet Movie Database
- Outside the Law is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Outside the Law (1930 film) — Outside the Law Directed by Tod Browning Produced by E. M. Asher Tod Browning Carl Laemmle Jr. Written by Tod Browning Garrett Fort … Wikipedia
Outside the Law — can refer to the following: Outside the Law (1920 film), a 1920 film directed by Tod Browning Outside the Law (1930 film), a 1930 film, also directed by Tod Browning, and a remake of the 1920 film Outside the Law (1937 film), a 1937 Argentine… … Wikipedia
Film de casse — Un film de casse est un genre cinématographique. Il s agit d un film à l intrigue complexe tournant autour d un groupe de personnes essayant de dérober quelque chose. Les versions à dominante humoristique sont souvent rangées dans la catégorie… … Wikipédia en Français
The Haunt of Fear — Publication information Publisher EC Comics Schedule … Wikipedia
The Wizard of Oz (1939 film) — The Wizard of Oz Theatrical release poster Directed by Victor Fleming Uncredited: Norman Taurog Richard Thorpe … Wikipedia
Film speed — is the measure of a photographic film s sensitivity to light, determined by sensitometry and measured on various numerical scales, the most recent being the ISO system. A closely related ISO system is used to measure the sensitivity of digital… … Wikipedia
The Skin Game (play) — The Skin Game is a play by the John Galsworthy. It was first performed at the St Martins Theatre, London in 1920. A film of the play, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was made in 1931 . PlotThe plot tells the story of the interaction between two… … Wikipedia
The Age of Innocence — For other uses, see Age of innocence (disambiguation). The Age of Innocence … Wikipedia
The Holocaust — Holocaust and Shoah redirect here. For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). Selection on … Wikipedia
The Merchant of Venice — This article is about Shakespeare s play. For other uses, see The Merchant of Venice (disambiguation). The Merchant of Venice Title page of the first quarto of Merchant of Venice (1600) … Wikipedia