|Outside the Law|
|Directed by||Tod Browning|
|Produced by||Tod Browning|
|Written by||Gardner Bradford
|Distributed by||Universal Film Manufacturing Company|
|Release date(s)||26 December, 1920|
|Running time||75 minutes|
Outside the Law is considered to be one of the first psychologically driven films in the gangster genre. It was the second film on which Browning worked with Lon Chaney. The contrasting dual roles Browning wrote for Chaney as a heroic Chinese servant and an evil gangster are considered to have solidified the long-lasting collaboration between the two. Outside the Law is one of only a handful of Browning's films that is not a horror film. The film has been commended for its strong female lead, saying actress "Priscilla Dean in this picture is a film revelation... [she] goes to the fore and remains there..." In contrast to many films of the period, it generally depicts its Chinese characters favorably, most notably by having characters invested in the Confucian teachings of the teacher character, Chang Lo.
Silent Madden, a criminal leader in San Francisco, and his gangster daughter Molly (Priscilla Dean) have forsaken a life of crime after receiving counsel from Chang Lo, a Confucianist philosopher living in Chinatown. A despicable gangster named Black Mike (Lon Chaney) frames Molly's father for murder, causing Molly to lose faith in abiding the law and prompting her return to a life of crime. Black Mike plots to double-cross Molly as well during a jewelry theft, but Molly gets word from her gangster lover and foils Black Mike's plans. While hiding out from the law, Molly's hard heart is slowly melted by her gangster lover. The film ends with a climactic shootout.