In one of the most offbeat psychological dramas ever produced by a major film studio, Lon Chaney plays Alonzo The Armless Wonder, who performs amazing feats with his feet. He's not really armless, but has his upper limbs strapped to his sides to hide a peculiar anatomical deformity from the police. He falls in love with a young gypsy girl (Joan Crawford) who cannot stand men's hands and seeks to possess her at any cost.
Surgical Scars: A Murder Mystery Evening
"Anyone who considers this entertainment should be placed in the pathological ward in some hospital" said one contemporary review of this notorious film. The initial outrage over the use of people with genuine abnormalities overshadowed the film's real sympathies; if there are 'freaks' on display here, they are not the versatile circus performers to whom the title seems to allude.
A documentary which still remains in a category by itself; Gates of Heaven focuses on an assortment of people involved in the pet cemetery business and the grieving owners who simply want to give the animals they love a proper send-off. For a film supposedly about dead pets, this is a moving reflection of human nature which combines comedy, irony and pathos. The characterful subjects are allowed to speak for themselves, musing on the need for companionship, what it means to be alive and why we work so hard to be remembered in death.