Expired January 25, 2021 7:45 AM
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JIMI CABEZA DE VACA & NORA KEYES Perform a New, Original Score to TOD BROWNING'S THE UNKNOWN


ON THE FILM: 

For many years, The Unknown was thought lost, until in 1968 a 35mm print of this 1927 silent was located at the Cinémathèque Française. In many respects considered to be the best of Browning’s films with Lon Chaney, Browning draws a remarkable and haunting performance from him and fills the plot with twists and unforget-table characters, creating a chilling masterpiece of psychosexual drama. 


"One wonders how MGM ever got conned into making this resplendent study in morbid psychology. As much a casebook as a horror movie, it tells the truly marvellous tale of Alonzo the Armless Wonder (Chaney, of course), who uses his feet to perform a circus knife-throwing act. Only masquerading as armless (wanted by the police for a strangling, he’s concealing the telltale evidence of a hand with two thumbs), he falls for pretty Estrellita (Crawford), the bareback rider. But she has a trauma about being touched by men, so he besottenly decides to have his arms amputated, only to find a handsome strong man emerging as a successful rival for her heart, cue for a fiendishly vengeful Grand Guignol finale staged during the strong man’s act. One of the great silent movies, astonishing in its intensity, this is by far the best of the remarkable series of Browning/Chaney collaborations.” - TIME OUT


ON THE MUSIC: 

Over the last dozen years, Los Angeles based multi-instrumentalist and composer Jimi Cabeza de Vaca and singer-songwriter Nora Keyes have performed live scores to King of Kings, Pandora’s Box, Faust, Sunrise, Metropolis, Haxan, Aelita, Queen of Mars, The Unknown, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Most of these have been performed multiple times and all of them have featured additional musicians. When working with a large ensemble, they have been billed as the Cabeza de Vaca Orchestra featuring Nora Keyes; when working with a small ensemble, they have performed as Rococo Jet. This performance of The Unknown will be the first time that they will perform a live score as a duo. 

  • Year
    1927 / 2020
  • Runtime
    51 minutes
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Tod Browning
  • Cast
    Lon Chaney, Joan Crawford