7.8/10
3,887
54 user 36 critic

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 4 November 1928 (USA)
When a proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690, he is cruelly executed and his son surgically disfigured.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will.

Director: Paul Leni
Stars: Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A world-famous pianist loses both hands in an accident. When new hands are grafted on, he doesn't know they once belonged to a murderer.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Strassny
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
Waxworks (1924)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The owner of a Waxmuseum needs for three of his models stories to be told to the audience. For that reason he has hired a writer, who after one look athe owner's pretty daughter, starts ... See full summary »

Directors: Leo Birinsky, Paul Leni
Stars: Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Allan has a hard time finding the Usher's house, which is known to be cursed... But he is a personal friend of Roderick Usher, who lives with his sick wife Madeline and a doctor. Roderick ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Epstein
Stars: Jean Debucourt, Marguerite Gance, Charles Lamy
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690.

Director: Jean-Pierre Améris
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Marc-André Grondin, Emmanuelle Seigner
The Wind (1928)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A frail young woman from the east moves in with her cousin in the west, where she causes tension within the family and is slowly driven mad.

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In fifteenth century Paris, the brother of the archdeacon plots with the gypsy king to foment a peasant revolt. Meanwhile, a freakish hunchback falls in love with the gypsy queen.

Director: Wallace Worsley
Stars: Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: John S. Robertson
Stars: John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Brandon Hurst
Faust (1926)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn
The Golem (1920)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates the Golem - a giant creature made of clay. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

Directors: Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Stars: Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Ernst Deutsch
The Unknown (1927)
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A criminal on the run hides in a circus and seeks to possess the daughter of the ringmaster at any cost.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Joan Crawford
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Dea
...
Julius Molnar ...
Gwynplaine as a child (as Julius Molnar Jr.)
...
Brandon Hurst ...
Cesare Gravina ...
...
...
King James II (as Sam DeGrasse)
...
...
Károly Huszár ...
Innkeeper (as Charles Puffy)
Zimbo the Dog ...
Homo the Wolf (as Zimbo)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Delmo Fritz ...
Sword Swallower
Deno Fritz ...
Sword Swallower
Edit

Storyline

Gwynplaine, son of Lord Clancharlie, has a permanent smile carved on his face by the King, in revenge for Gwynplaine's father's treachery. Gwynplaine is adopted by a travelling showman and becomes a popular idol. He falls in love with the blind Dea. The king dies, and his evil jester tries to destroy or corrupt Gwynplaine. Written by Helen Elsom <helenel@sco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 November 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Homem Que Ri  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System) (musical score and sound effects)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Gwynplaine's grotesque grin was achieved with prosthesis. Conrad Veidt was fitted with a set of dentures that had metal hooks to pull back the corners of his mouth. He couldn't speak when the dentures were in. The only scene in which he did not wear the prosthesis is the scene where he is ravished by the Duchess Josiana. See more »

Goofs

When Dea reaches through the curtain searching for Gwynplaine, she puts her left hand through the gap but it is her right hand that comes out the other side. See more »

Quotes

Gwynplaine: [Via subtitles, to the House of Lords] A king made me a clown! A queen made me a Peer! But first, God made me a man!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Batman (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

When Love Comes Stealing
(uncredited)
Written by Walter Hirsch, Lew Pollack and Erno Rapee
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An underappreciated classic
12 August 1999 | by (Atlanta, GA USA) – See all my reviews

The first time I encountered The Man Who Laughs was a photo in a horror movie catalog that I had when I was a very easily-spooked 8-year-old. For some reason that grotesque grin frightened me more than the Hunchback, the Phantom of the Opera, and Nosferatu combined. I couldn't bear to look at it, so I carefully marked the page so that I wouldn't accidentally catch a glimpse of it. However, if I had actually seen the movie I wouldn't have been frightened at all. I wouldn't consider The Man Who Laughs a horror movie, but a touching melodrama about a man whose appearance is horrific.

Gwynplaine is a very sympathetic, likeable character, and Conrad Veidt does an excellent job of conveying his inner torment and sadness with subtle eye movements and gestures. Gwynplaine's innate goodness is very clear, despite his macabre appearance. We root for him to overcome all obstacles to find happiness and true love, as we root for the evil jester Barkilphedro to meet with a bitter end. We are not disappointed. I was impressed with the beautiful cinematography, which is exceptional for the time. The score and sound effects are used very well, so well that sometimes you forget that you are watching a silent picture. With the outstanding performances, particularly Veidt's, this is a classic of silent cinema that deserves to have a much wider audience.


15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?