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The Man Who Laughs (1928)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,833 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 26 critic

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.

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Title: The Man Who Laughs (1928)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Dea
...
Gwynplaine / Lord Clancharlie
Julius Molnar ...
Gwynplaine as a child (as Julius Molnar Jr.)
...
Duchess Josiana
Brandon Hurst ...
Cesare Gravina ...
Ursus
Stuart Holmes ...
Lord Dirry-Moir
Sam De Grasse ...
King James II (as Sam DeGrasse)
George Siegmann ...
Josephine Crowell ...
Charles Puffy ...
Innkeeper
Zimbo the Dog ...
Homo the Wolf (as Zimbo)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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

Plot Keywords:

1690s | jester | clown | nobleman | revenge | See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

4 November 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Laughs  »

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  »
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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

The opening scene happens in James II's reign (1685-1688), but Lord Clancharlie is sentenced to death in an Iron Maiden, an instrument of torture not invented until 1793. See more »

Quotes

Ursus: [looking at the baby] Blind!
[sees Gwynplaine grinning]
Ursus: Stop laughing! Stop laughing I say!
Gwynplaine as a child: I'm not laughing!
Ursus: [looks at Gwynplaine's grin] Comprachicos!
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

 
Lovely... a must see!!!
30 March 2007 | by (Colombia) – See all my reviews

I always think that Paul Leni's "The Man Who Laughs" was another silent horror piece with a lot of good ideas and thrilling scenes. Well... i was not wrong, except in the "horror" thing, and I lack to think of the beauty that could give me. Actually, "The Man Who Laughs" is one of the best silent films (With "Broken Blossoms" and "Metropolis") that i have ever seen ever. As too one of the most beautiful films that i have ever seen too.

"The Man Who Laughs", based on Victor Hugo's novel, told us the story of Gwynplaine (Great performance of Conrad Veidt, who too appeared as Cesare in famous "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", participate in the first gay themed film in history "Diffrent from the Others" and "Casabalanca") a man that, when he was little, was operated by an evil man and now, his face always have a long smile. When he was little, he finds a death mother with a newly born one, a beautiful girl, but she is blind. Then he finds help, home and food with Ursus. Years later, he grown up, as the lovely girl, now a beautiful woman named Dea. With Ursus (Now, he is old) go with a fair. For their side there is the evil Barkilpehdro, who was the responsible of our dear main character's sad circumstances. This evil character do it for one thing, power... Gwynplaine doesn't know that he could be a powerful man. Now, back with Gwynplaine, we find a big saddest by him, he don't want to be a clown. And Dea is the only person who see the real Gwynplane. Then we find the story of a beautiful but evil and rebel duchess (Perfomed perfectly by Olga Baclanova, who appeared too in "Freaks"),she has as pupil: the evil Barkilphedro. So, what do you think that happen if all this characters find them in a fair? Just watch it out, and be prepared, because is a thrilling experience.

In my personal opinion, "The Man Who Laughs" is an important piece of the history of cinema, maybe , of their time too. First of all, the love story is so tender, so beautiful... that i don't think yet that exist such movie!!! Then, the stages, all the scenario is perfect, makes us to feel what it wants. Is here too another personal opinion, i think that "The Man Who Laughs" it was early to their time, Paul Leni (Director of "The Cat and the Cannary" and "Waxworks"). Its just that the movie present topics that in that time was very difficult to show, or was too (talkin about film technique) novel, or in other word: new. For example, there is a scene when a man watch through the bolt of a door to the duchess taking a bath, yes it doesn't show her nude, but certainly, what they show it was much for this time, i think. In film technique i can give a lot of examples, for example, mix of sounds in a lot of scenes, camera moves... etc... i can put a lot of examples. In few words, "The Man Who Laughs" is a real masterpiece, a real must see. This is a beautiful film, and i loved it. Try to see it if you have not see it yet. If you love excellent films, if you love silent films, if you love beautiful films, if you love thrilling films, if you love touching films... you must see "The Man Who Laughs"

*Sorry for the mistakes, well... if there any.


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