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 <email@example.com>
The process of carving a victim's face to look like it is smiling broadly, has come to be known as a Glasgow Smile or a Chelsea Smile after organized crime rings in those two British cities used such mutilations as a terror tactic. See more »
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 »
[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!
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This was our first Conrad Veidt experience. The Man Who Laughs is a spellbinding piece of visual art. Veidt's acting is sensational. I knew the plot of the story and wondered how he would portray feelings of sadness and regret with a permanent smile carved on his face. After viewing the tape, we were amazed how the emotions exuded from the TV screen. This is our second Mary Philbin experience and both of us prefer her acting in this movie to her role in The Phantom of the Opera.
We have viewed silents on the TV screen as well as the big screen. We discovered that there is more of the "larger than life" emotions projected and felt by the audience through the larger screenings that is somewhat missed on the 27" TV screen. Not so with this performance. My wife and I were both moved to watch it from the beginning...one more time.
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