Castro Theatre Fri, May 3, 2019 9:20 PM
Film Info
Director:Tod Browning
Cast:Lon Chaney
Lionel Barrymore
Mary Nolan
Warner Baxter
Total Run Time:65 min.


Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Frank Bockius
Hate twists the heart of Phroso the Magician when he finds out his wife is in love with another, and he pursues an elaborate plan for revenge all the way to the Congo. The penultimate collaboration between “cinema of the macabre” director Tod Browning and shape-shifting actor Lon Chaney, West of Zanzibar was lucky not to get banned outright for adapting the lurid Broadway hit play, Kongo, but a finessing of writer credits and a new title appeased the Hayes Office. Reflecting years later on the appeal of Lon Chaney’s series of on-screen outcasts, writer Ray Bradbury once said: “He was someone who acted out our psyches. You fear there is some part of you that’s grotesque, that the world will turn away from.” Audiences certainly did not turn away and the film was a standing-room-only smash hit.

Print courtesy of Warner Bros.

Introduction by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks


Copresented by MiDNiTES for MANiACS

Additional Information

 Image Credits: Pamela Gentile

Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Frank Bockius
Based at London’s BFI Southbank, Stephen Horne is considered one of the leading silent film accompanists working today and his music has met with acclaim worldwide. Principally a pianist, he often incorporates other instruments into his performances, sometimes playing them simultaneously. He has recorded music for DVD releases and television broadcasts of silent films and regularly performs internationally. This year marks Horne’s twelfth year playing at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

Versatile percussionist Frank Bockius specializes in jazz and is versed in medieval, flamenco, and Latin music styles. He has performed for dance and theater companies as well as in his own bands, including the jazz quintet Whisper Hot and the percussion ensemble Timpanicks. He joined the Guenter Buchwald's Silent Movie Music Company twenty years ago and has since performed for silent films at festivals in Kyoto, Pordenone, and Sodankylä, Finland. He made his first appearance at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2014.