in about 100 words or less
US 11m, Silent, B&W
Director: Charles Giblyn; Cast: Murdock MacQuarrie, Lon Chaney, Seymour Hastings, Agnes Vernon, Dick Rosson
By the Sun’s Rays is a generally unremarkable silent western short that is believed to be the earliest known surviving film in which Lon Chaney appears. As the archetypical silent era villain, Chaney is Frank Lawler, a corrupt clerk working for a mining company who tips off bandits about the movements of gold shipments originating from his office. Losing one to many shipments, the Deep River Mining Company hires a detective who must not only get to the bottom of the robberies, but save the girl from Lawler’s unwanted advances. Though second-billed, Chaney’s menacing performance stands apart from the otherwise ordinary cast and foreshadows his successful career (Klaus Ming March 2015).