Man of a Thousand Faces (R) (Widescreen) product details page

Man of a Thousand Faces (R) (Widescreen)

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The Man of a Thousand Faces is an above average 1950s biopic distinguished by a sympathetic performance by James Cagney as silent film star Lon Chaney. Produced by Universal, the studio for which Chaney had become a major star in The Phantom of the Opera, the Oscar-nominated screenplay is more fanciful tribute than objective history. Fortunately, the film has Cagney, and, fortunately for Cagney, the committee-written screenplay has a varied emotional range, allowing him to exhibit a showy spectrum of styles. While probably the best of director Joseph Pevney's feature films, there's little in the way of a director's voice. This was a studio project, and Pevney's forte was the efficient management of production budgets, not cinematic brilliance. Russell L. Metty's black white cinematography is a solid asset, giving portions of the film an appropriate 1920s feel, but overall this is a by-the-numbers production, brightened by its casting choices and Cagney's stellar lead performance. Richard Gilliam, All Movie Guide