A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney’s Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures
As a magician once said, nothing is as it seems. Less than a year after publication of his biography of Lon Chaney, author/makeup artist Michael F. Blake uncovered a wealth of new material that had remained boxed up in a family’s garage.
Introduced to the children and grandchildren of Chaney’s former business manager, Alfred Grasso, a box containing unbelievable rare material was given to Blake to examine. In the case of Chaney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, it rewrote film history. It was always believed for decades that Irving Thalberg, then in charge of production at Universal Studios, had made the decision to film Victor Hugo’s novel with Chaney as the star. Instead, the material, which contained letters, telegrams and contracts, show that it was Chaney’s idea to make the film – not Thalberg.
Realizing this material was too good for a mere magazine article that would get heavily edited, Blake chose to write another book on Chaney, focusing on his performances and films. Along the way in researching and writing, Blake’s first book opened the doors for him to speak with other workers and performers who had either refused interviews or were simply overlooked.
A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney’s Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures offers a wealth of new material and the book is a solid companion piece to Blake’s wonderful biography.
Praise for A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney’s Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures:
“This book is a sound complement to the first, augmented by Mr. Blake’s professional expertise.” – Washington Times
“It is a bright and informative companion volume rather than an exercise in redundancy… Recommended.” – Choice
“A Thousand Faces should secure and expand Chaney’s lasting reputation as one of the most innovative talents of early Hollywood movie-making.” – Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“If you’re a Lon Chaney fan and want the facts, read Blake’s books.” – VideoScope