The Penalty (1920)
Lon Chaney organizes the robbery of the San Francisco Mint
The 1920 Goldwyn Pictures Corporation film "The Penalty" a silent film about a crippled man who becomes
known as "Blizzard" and the king of San Francisco's underworld.
The boy has grown up full of resentment for his condition and plans to avenge himself on the doctor
and his family.
city's police and fire departments and then loot the undefended city.
The building was active as a mint at the time; it opened in 1874 and closed in 1937.
The building is now known as the Old Mint or the "Granite Lady".
The doctor amputates both legs but then an experienced doctor arrives and tells Dr. Ferris that
he didn't need to do what he did. The boy hears this and hears the older doctor telling the parents
that the surgery was necessary to save the boy's life.
2. San Francisco, a view of the city
The city has one hideous blemish, The Barbary Coast, the location of vice and gambling.
3. The Barbary Coast
The Diana Hall and the Hippodrome are real places.
Blizzard wears a pair of leather covers over his stumps.
He is very intelligent and has a knowledge of music and art.
"that cripple from Hell", is up to something.
He asks her to infiltrate Blizzard's organization.
Through the Master I much reach his slaves - the underground powers of the Reds
I shall be the master of a city!
And for my mangled years the city shall pay me
With the pleasures of a Nero and the powers of a Caesar!
Dr. Wilmot Allen is Dr. Ferris' assistant and would like to marry Barbara.
Barbara, however, has dedicated herself to Art, and refuses to marry until she produces a
masterpiece of sculpture.
She succeeds, partly due to her education in music, and mainly by being able to manipulate
the foot pedals while Blizzard plays his piano.
5. Rose and Blizzard
Barbara places an advertisement in the newspaper:
WANTED - Model to pose for statue of "Satan After the Fall"
If you think you look like Satan, apply at studio of Barbara Ferris, 32 Institute Place
6. Barbara interviews the new model
Some excellent judges think that I resemble Satan
If there is enough of me.
Blizzard is hired as the model and later tells his associates:
Do I look like Satan?
Before I am through with her and her father, they'll think I'm the devil himself!
Barbara asks Blizzard how he knows so much about Art, and he tells her that his father was a
distinguished man who detested the boy's deformity and caused the boy to leave home.
Blizzard " When Satan fell from Heaven he looked for power in Hell."
7. Blizzard meets Dr. Ferris again
The two men recognize each other.
8. Dr. Ferris explains to Barbara
Dr. Ferris then tells Barbara the story of his failure with the boy.
The story inspires Barbara with more affection for Blizzard.
Back at his house, Blizzard meets with his main assistant and lays out his plan.
9. Gangs are formed
Then an explosion will be the signal for the attack.
10. Explosion on Telegraph Hill
A mob appears downtown near the Ferry Building (which is still standing).
11. Raiders of the Ferry Building
12. The Army battles the mob
"The heart of the city will be left defenseless - ours to loot at will"
13. Robbing the bank
This building has housed banks for many years.
14. The San Francisco Mint
Blizzard still scheming, now with legs, orders his men to enter the Mint.
15. The San Francisco Old Mint today
It looks about the same.
16. Blizzard's men attack the Mint
Blizzard's men carry bags of loot down the steps, most likely gold coins.
17. Blizzard giving orders
Blizzard concludes his scheme, but his assistant asks him:
Assistant: You talk as if you had legs! by God! You've gone mad!
Blizzard: But with the madness that succeeds!
Rose has moved into Blizzard's house.
18. Blizzard and Rose
Rose has fallen for Blizzard and their shared love of music has made them lovers.
19. Blizzard and Barbara discuss art
Blizzard begins romancing Barbara, but she laughs at him.
He begins to attack her but can't reach her on his stumps.
20. Rose calls Dr. Ferris
Dr. Ferris, Barbara, and Dr. Allen are separately lured to Blizzard's house and he tells Dr. Allen:
Listen my baffled hero - if you wish the lady to go free
You must hand over to me your superb legs
Dr. Ferris will cut them off for you
Then he will graft them to me
They will be very becoming
Blizzard explains his bizarre plan to Dr. Ferris.
21. Blizzard explains to Dr. Ferris what he wants
You've played the trick with apes - now I'm putting human beings at your service
Your victim is fulfilling destiny in making you the master surgeon of the world
You must make it possible - unless you would have your charming daughter married to these
Give me legs and I will be a model son-in-law
Then I'll be a tower of strength - I'll be a Caesar
The doctor replies: "You're right, you'd be a Superman. I'll do it!"
22. After the operation
Dr. Ferris explains that he operated on Blizzard's head and not on his legs.
He removed a contusion at the base of the skull which caused pressure on the brain, explaining:
He has never been wholly responsible for his acts
This man, let alone, may become as great a power for good as he was for evil.
Blizzard announces that he is leaving crime and reverting to his real name (which is not stated).
23. Blizzard's men are worried
They worry that Blizzard will "snitch" or inform on them, and decide to eliminate him.
24. Blizzard and Rose
Frisco Pete is the chosen assassin and he shoots the former Blizzard, who, dying exclaims:
Fate chained me to Evil - For that I must pay the Penalty
Don't grieve, dear - death interests me.
25. Barbara and Dr. Allen
"All that's left of him - an evil mask of a great soul".
Lon Chaney as Blizzard
Charles Clary as Dr. Ferris
Claire Adams as Barbara Ferris (Daughter)
Ethel Grey Terry as Rose (Secret Service)
Kenneth Harlan as Dr. Wilmot Allen (Dr. Ferris' assistant)
James Mason as Frisco Pete (Blizzard's man)
Writers: Charles Kenyon, Gouverneur Morris