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As the leader of the band the Magnetic Fields, Stephin Merritt has always played the outcast. It’s only fitting that this new score pairs him with some of silent cinema’s quintessential iconoclasts, director Browning and master monster Lon Chaney. The film also features then-relative-newcomer Joan Crawford. In The Unknown, a characteristically outré offering from Browning, Chaney plays a supposedly armless circus performer named Alonzo. He can do anything with his feet that most do with their hands, but he carries a terrible secret: Not only does Alonzo possess hands, he uses them to strangle people to death.

Those who attended Merritt’s wonderful performance accompanying the strange silent film adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 2010 might recall that he hinted at the possibility of playing live with a trio of films over the years at SFIFF. This will be his second. — Sean Uyehara (USA, 1925, 75 min)




Tickets $25 for SFFS members, $30 for general public
Tuesday, May 6, 8:00 pm
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street
DEVELOPER'S NOTE: http://old.sffs.org/content.aspx?pageid=3757