The March 19 screening will be a silent screening. The March 25 screening will be presented with live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin. 

Marking the first of their eight film collaborations at MGM, in the aftermath of producer Irving Thalberg’s move from Universal, Browning and Lon Chaney teamed up for this singularly unsettling adaptation of Tod Robbins’s 1917 circus novel of the same name. Chaney stars as ventriloquist Professor Echo, the leader of a trio of swindlers and former sideshow castmates who, along with Echo’s pickpocket girlfriend, Rosie (Mae Busch), collectively impersonate a respectable family of shopkeepers, the better to scam and steal from their wealthy customers. When a badly botched burglary results in murder and the panicked criminals opt to frame an innocent man, Echo and Rosie face a moral reckoning whose bittersweet resolution cements the film’s status as a justly celebrated pinnacle of Browning’s signature brand of outré melodrama, depicting the ethical calculus of lives lived on the margins and in the shadows. 35mm print preserved by George Eastman Museum.