Silent Sunday: Outside the Law (1920)

In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian philosophy, and Black Mike Sylva, a murderous rake of the San Francisco underworld.

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A mob boss trying to go straight is framed for murder.  “Silent” Madden is sentenced to prison and the man who sent him there, ruthless thug “Black” Mike Silva, takes over his territory.  Madden’s daughter, Molly learns the truth about “Black” Mike’s treachery from one of Mike’s own gangsters, Dapper Bill Ballard.  Drawn together by passion, greed, and a thirst for revenge, Molly and Bill steal a cache of hot jewels from Mike’s safe.  With both the police and “Black” Mike combing the city for them, Molly and Bill try to lay low in an anonymous apartment as the noose gradually tightens…

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Chaney was still a few years away from the widespread fame that was to come…

Also stars Priscilla Dean, Wheeler Oakman, and Ralph Lewis.

Outside the Law

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