IMDb > Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)
Laugh, Clown, Laugh
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Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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7.7/10   1,171 votes »
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Release Date:
14 April 1928 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A professional clown and a self-indulgent count learn to help each other with their problems, but then become romantic rivals. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A powerful performance by the man known as "the man of a thousand faces." See more (41 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Lon Chaney ... Tito
Bernard Siegel ... Simon

Loretta Young ... Simonetta
Cissy Fitzgerald ... Giancinta (as Cissy Fitz-Gerald)

Nils Asther ... Luigi

Gwen Lee ... Lucretia
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frankie Genardi
Julie DeValora ... Nurse (uncredited)
Helena Dime ... Lady at Luigi's Party (uncredited)
Leo Feodoroff ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Betsy Ann Hisle ... Little Girl at Tito's Death (uncredited)
Emmett King ... Doctor (uncredited)
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Directed by
Herbert Brenon 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
David Belasco  play
Tom Cushing  play
Joseph Farnham  titles
Elizabeth Meehan  writer

Produced by
Herbert Brenon .... producer
Irving Thalberg .... producer
 
Original Music by
H. Scott Salinas (2002)
 
Cinematography by
James Wong Howe 
 
Film Editing by
Marie Halvey 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ray Lissner .... assistant director
Will Sheldon .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Cedric Gibbons .... set designer
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Gilbert Clark .... wardrobe
 
Music Department
Jack Feinberg .... set musician
Sam Feinberg .... set musician
 
Thanks
Mark Northam .... special thanks (2002 alternate version)
Don B. Ray .... special thanks (2002 alternate version) (as Don Ray)
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
USA:73 min (22.4 fps)
Country:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Netherlands:14 (1928) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
All extant prints are missing reel 4.See more »
Quotes:
Narrator:[First Lines] Spring comes early in the Italian hills. Peasant hearts are light - and the voice of the travelling circus is heard in the land.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Devil's Rejects (2005)See more »

FAQ

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
A powerful performance by the man known as "the man of a thousand faces.", 27 June 2007
Author: Spent Bullets from Chinatown, California

A one man special effects unit, Lon Chaney was known as The Man of a Thousand Faces and more than lived up to his nickname. Of course, he is best known for his work The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but his career was loaded with impressive performances of all kinds. Laugh, Clown, Laugh certainly showcases one of the many he did.

Herbert Brenon, known as a despotic director, directs the film. It's a bittersweet romantic melodrama, a film with a similar theme that Chaney did in 1924's He Who Gets Slapped. The fifteen-year-old Loretta Young (only 14 at the time of shooting) is 45-year-old Lon Chaney's leading lady. Young started in showbiz at the age of four as an extra, but this was her first major role. The film proved to be popular; MGM had it shot with an alternative happy ending to its sad ending and let the individual movie houses decide which version they wanted. No surviving copy of the happy ending seems to have survived. It's taken from a 1923 play by David Belasco and Tom Cushing based on the Italian play Ridi Pagliacci by Gausto Martino, Elizabeth Meehan is the screenwriter. The play had a successful run in New York with Lionel Barrymore in the Chaney role. It was shot on location in Elysian Park, a suburb of Los Angeles by the legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe.

The film is simply about Tito (Lon Chaney) a clown in a traveling circus, a performer who once drew in massive crowds with his skills. When he was younger, he found himself in a most unusual situation, however. He and his friend Simon discover an abandoned young girl, who has no chance of survival on her own. Out of kindness, the two take her in and she is raised on the road with the two performers. As time passes and the years roll on, the girl blossoms into a beautiful young woman, known as Simonetta (Loretta Young). Tito's prime has passed, which has him in a depressed state at the outset. He and the self-indulgent Count Luigi Ravelli (Nils Asther) learn to help each other with their problems, but become romantic rivals when Simonetta falls for the rich count. Tito then falls into a spiral of sadness, due his mixed emotions.

Probably the first thing you'll notice about Laugh, Clown, Laugh is how little attempted dialogue there is. The title card is used infrequently. The vast majority of this movie is told in near pantomime: gestures, facial expressions, and stage direction. It is also eloquently plotted, so we understand the situations and dramatics instantly and inherently.

Without Chaney though, this film just would not work. It would seem forced or flashy, almost hyperactive in some ways. Chaney is the anchor, the solid center whose pure motives move quickly over to the mixed when he realizes the emotional bond between Simonette and himself is growing more "physical." Without the seriousness, the emotional concrete that Chaney provides to tie the movie to a core concept, the flighty nature of Loretta Young or the overacting of Simon and Count Lavelli would forever damage the narrative. Chaney is the epitome of a clown laughing on the outside as he is dying on the inside, and Laugh, Clown, Laugh is a classic film.

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)
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Loretta Young's Age j-pudwill
Tito's relationship with Simonetta sherylshannon
'...I am Flik.' Ecrevain
Arne Anderson makes a very unfair comment mikestreeter
Question about Tito's last trick FranLovesBetteD
Because..I am Flik Doug-169
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