Fun Size Review: The Ace of Hearts (1921)

Lon Chaney plays a heartbroken anarchist in this incredibly curious tale of terrorism and unrequited love. The suits apparently wanted to have their cake and eat it to: a torn-from-the-headlines political story without any actual politics.

Chaney and Leatrice Joy do what they can with the material and it’s definitely worth watching for fans but its somewhat wimpy approach to the material does not do it any favors. Nor does Lon Chaney’s hair.

How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
Chaney blows up the rest of the secret society so that Joy can escape with her true love.

Read my full-length review here.

If it were a dessert it would be: Cake Mix Biscotti. Definitely a compromise but I wouldn’t say no to it.

Availability: Released on DVD as part of The Lon Chaney Collection.

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10 Replies to “Fun Size Review: The Ace of Hearts (1921)”

  1. As Chaneys go, it’s a dull one. Don’t know what it’s doing in the Turner DVD package, when there are so many better choices.

  2. Fritzi:

    I’m so impressed with Lon Chaney performances that I’m grateful for your realistic approach to the strengths and weaknesses of his films. THE ACE OF HEARTS pales next to THE PENALTY, but Chaney is still riveting as Farallone–in spite of his silly hair. I loved the stray dog! Leatrice Joy made nothing of her under-written character and John Bowers was nearly as much of a non-entity–I liked him much more in LORNA DOONE. Why were Lon and John crazy about Leatrice? Nothing in evidence from the film. Perhaps a more charismatic or alluring actress was needed? Someone who could make the change of heart of her assassin character believable, overcoming the script weaknesses? Besides the great Lon, the scenes in the restaurant with an impending bomb explosion were well-done and nerve-wracking.

    1. Leatrice Joy could definitely be incredibly attractive in the right film, I think maybe she just wasn’t able to showcase her natural sense of humor.

  3. You know it’s not a particularly good Chaney film when the scariest part of it is his hairstyle.

  4. I found of interest the sets and fashions in this film, they hark back to the edwardian era and give no hint of the “roaring twenties” which lay around the corner

    1. I discuss that a bit in my main review: the viewer is kind of sealed in with these extremely strange-acting and strange-looking people and we aren’t really let out for air. I believe the costuming was meant to evoke the stereotypical look of anarchists and communists.

  5. Cue for me to read the main review! But it does tie in with the notion that anarchists/communists are a bit “strange”.

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