Past Event Unseen Treasures from George Eastman House 2013: West of Zanzibar
Master Tod Browning directs this over the top jungle melodrama in which Lon Chaney plays a wrathful vaudeville magician known as “Dead Legs,” who is driven to exact insane revenge on the ivory trader (Lionel Barrymore) who crippled him and stole his beloved wife. When his dying wife returns with a baby girl a year after leaving him, he sends the lover’s child to a brothel and spends the next 20 years in an African swamp with a dissipated doctor, where he manipulates the local tribe into thinking that he’s a powerful sorcerer. Claiming the debauched girl (Mary Nolan) when she comes of age, he sets into motion his long laid plan to lure the trader to his lair and have the locals burn them both alive. One of ten features Browning and Chaney made together, this film probes the darkest recesses of their psyche in one of the silent era’s most manic productions.
A new score for the film composed by Douglas Levine will be debuted live with the composer on keyboard and Ben Opie on woodwinds.
The Warhol Museum continues its partnership with the world-renowned photograph and motion picture archives, George Eastman House, to bring rarely shown silent and early sound masterpieces from its extensive collection exclusively to Pittsburgh.