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Story of an inventor who, suffering betrayal in life, makes a career of it by becoming a clown whose act consists of getting slapped by all the other clowns. He falls in love with another circus performer, and those who betrayed him enter his life yet again. Written by
Robert Tonsing <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I think one could argue that "He Who Gets Slapped" is Lon Chaney's best film. Since Lon Chaney is the greatest character actor of all time, this makes it a must-see (a term I abhor) for everyone. The way to watch this movie is as a sort of twisted fairy tale. The Melodrama exists to satisfy audience demands but there is much more going on here, and what's beautiful is that it is happening in a way that affects the viewer even if he or she isn't aware of it. Lon Chaney's performance is heartbreaking, particularly when he carries the cloth heart that has been torn from his breast, but at other moments he is sadistic and vengeful, as when he lets the lions out to kill a scheming circus manager and a sotted aristocrat. When I watch this scene I admit that I am laughing with Lon -- you have to love it! Norma Shearer and John Gilbert..... nobody ever had a better supporting cast. The circus theme is a parable for the world of human relations, where we are often called upon to amuse others instead of showing our true feelings. Lon's performance is a classic of self-torture and humiliation, and this movie should be remembered for all time as establishing MGM on the track that made it Hollywood's all time greatest studio.
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