Outside the Law/The Trap [DVD]
- SKU: 17785283
- Release Date: 04/28/2009
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One of the earliest of the "psychological" crime yarns, Outside the Law stars Priscilla Dean as "Silk Moll" Madden, daughter of ex-crook "Silent" Madden (Ralph Lewis). Moll has tried to remain honest, like her reformed father. But when Silent Madden is framed for a shooting and sent to jail, Moll assumes he's guilty and reverts to a life of crime. She falls in with jewel thief "Black Mike" Sylva (Lon Chaney Sr.), who, unbeknownst to her, is responsible for railroading her father. When she learns the truth about Black Mike, Moll and another disillusioned crook, "Dapper Bill" Ballard (Wheeler Oakman), skip with a cache of stolen jewels and hide out somewhere in San Francisco. The climax is a tricky bit of camera legerdemain, wherein Black Mike is killed by a Chinese cohort-also played by Lon Chaney Sr. Co-written by director Tod Browning and Lucien Hubbard, Outside the Law was remade as a talkie in 1930, again directed by Browning and starring Edward G. Robinson in the Chaney role. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
When he made this film, Lon Chaney's fame was already established, but he was only inches away from superstardom -- a few months later he would portray the title character in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Trapper Gaspard (Chaney) is a French-Canadian innocent; all this changes, however, when he returns home from a trip to find that both his sweetheart, Thalie (Dagmar Godowsky), and his mine have been stolen by a stranger, Benson (Alan Hale, Sr.). Overnight, the trapper becomes mean and vengeful. Because of Gaspard, Benson -- who has married Thalie -- is unfairly sent to jail on a shooting rap, and then when Thalie dies, Gaspard winds up with her son (Stanley Goethals). He plans to continue his revenge with the boy, but instead he comes to love him dearly. His feelings for the boy's father, however, remain unchanged. When Benson is about to be released from jail, Gaspard sets a trap by placing a vicious wolf in his home, ready to attack the moment he enters. But instead, the boy goes into the house and Gaspard, in a panic, dashes in and kills the wolf. He emerges, torn and disfigured (Chaney never could resist a good make-up job), but with the boy safe. The boy and his father are reunited, while Gaspard finds love -- and romance -- with a newly arrived school marm (Irene Rich). ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Lon Chaney - "Black Mike" Sylva, Ah Wing
- Priscilla Dean - Molly Madden/Silky Moll
- Stanley Goethals - "That Kid"
- Melbourne MacDowell - Morgan Spencer