Wed 28 Jul 2010
WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS. MGM, 1928. Lon Chaney, Anita Page, Carroll Nye, Wheeler Oakman, Mae Busch, Polly Moran. Director: Jack Conway. Shown at Cinecon 27, Hollywood CA, September 1993.
Even with a missing reel, this Lon Chaney film was a stunning thriller. Chaney plays a tough New York detective on the trail of “Mile Away” Skeeter (who’s always a mile away from the crime when it happens).
Chaney’s hard as nails, but he’s got a soft spot for Myrtle (played by Anita Page, a Cinecon guest) and for a lad who’s got in with mob and just needs the right influence to go straight. But then the lad falls for Myrtle, who’s mighty taken with him and…
Chaney’s rough-hewn face is a perfect mask for the hard-nosed cop, but bruised the way his heart will be. Nobody could ring the changes on pathos like Chaney, probably the greatest of silent screen dramatic actors. A smashing performance and superb photography and direction.