West of Zanzibar

Not rated yet!
Director
Tod Browning
Runtime
1 h 05 min
Release Date
24 November 1928
Genres
Drama, Mystery
Overview
A magician seeks vengeance upon the man who paralyzed him and the illegitimate daughter he sired with the magician's wife.
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VJ Morton1
Right Wing Film Geek



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)
  • West of Zanzibar, 1928 - ★★★★½

    WEST OF ZANZIBAR (Tod Browning, USA, 1928, 9) R

    ... or as the geographically-literate call it, TANGANYIKA. Cemented my dislike for the Pabst film’s narrative sloppiness right away, by disposing of backstory (Chaney gets crippled and loses his woman) in two efficient and hard-hitting scenes that can’t’ve lasted 5 minutes. Now he’s in East Africa, plotting his revenge. The first great “character” star, Chaney broods maniacally, executing a plot against Lionel Barrymore that we think may be heading toward incest but goes in a different (but also perverse) direction. ZANZIBAR is based on a play, which makes sense given that the central character is called “Dead-Legs” (Chaney crawls about, only occasionally using the wheelchair) and much of the action centers around his hut. Browning apparently opens it up a little, showing African tribal ceremonies, characters arriving by boat, etc. But the compressed space and time, Chaney’s murderous energy, the narrative efficiency and Browning’s perverse identification gives the film a wound-up tension that never lets go from the first scene, of a magic trick that you KNOW has gotta be reprised.

    ...
    (Review Source)

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