As professional clowns Tito and Simon are traveling, they happen upon an abandoned child, whom they take in and name Simonetta. When Simonetta is older, she becomes a circus performer herself. One day she is looking for roses, and climbs into the garden of Count Luigi Ravelli. The count becomes infatuated with her, but she leaves as soon as possible. Sometime later, Ravelli consults a doctor about his fits of uncontrollable laughter, and there he meets Tito, who has come to seek help for his fits of uncontrollable weeping. The two decide to help each other, and they establish a friendship, but problems arise when they realize that they are both in love with Simonetta. Written by
A clown afflicted with terrible melancholy and an Italian Count plagued by uncontrollable laughter seek solace with the girl they both love.
LAUGH, CLOWN, LAUGH is a silent showcase for the dramatic skills of Lon Chaney. No phantoms or monsters here; no belfries, dungeons or secret laboratories. What you do have is a rather simple story set against a circus backdrop, the milieu which was so dear to Chaney's heart. Here is a clown tormented; even though consumed with love for his young protégée, he cannot put his feelings into words. No need--his marvelously expressive face, even when hidden by greasepaint, poignantly portrays every emotion. Chaney once again displays his talent as one of the supreme actors of the American Silent Film.
Nils Asther enters the movie playing a rich cad, but his character is allowed to grow into rather more than that. Deftly underplaying his role he provides a nice counterpart to Chaney. Beautiful Loretta Young has little to do except look lovely and that is enough.
MGM has given the film superior production values, which was the fitting respect shown for one of their most important stars.
H. Scott Salinas has composed an excellent film score which perfectly complements the action on the screen.
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