The Penalty (1920)
Description: Among Lon Chaney's early villainous roles was Blizzard, the criminal mastermind of this melodrama set in San Francisco's Barbary Coast neighborhood. As a young man, Blizzard was the victim of an auto accident, and a quack doctor had mistakenly ordered his legs amputated at the knees. He grows up an embittered, violent man interested only in taking revenge on the rich and powerful, especially the doctor who maimed him and is still practicing. Rose, a secret service agent (Ethel Grey Terry), is dispatched to infiltrate Blizzard's gang, but she falls under his spell and becomes his mistress. Blizzard is himself attracted to a lovely artist who wants to paint his portrait, but she resists his advances. Ultimately, Blizzard's plan to have another man's legs grafted onto his own is thwarted when it's discovered that the long-ago accident had caused a reversible brain injury which turned him to the dark side. Rather than perform the operation on his legs, the doctor repairs Blizzard's brain, and Blizzard awakens to find that he is no longer interested in a life of crime. He marries Rose, but his criminal associates decide he must pay the ultimate penalty for his knowledge of their activities.~ Tom Wiener, All Movie Guide
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