MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 470 this week

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

7.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,044 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 28 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.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation), 5 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street Debut's Today!


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 37 titles
created 28 Feb 2013
 
a list of 37 titles
created 06 Jul 2013
 
a list of 34 titles
created 17 Oct 2013
 
a list of 41 titles
created 19 Nov 2013
 
a list of 32 titles
created 11 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Man Who Laughs (1928)

The Man Who Laughs (1928) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Man Who Laughs.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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
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
Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi
    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 Kortner
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
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
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Dr. Caligari's somnambulist, Cesare, and his deadly predictions.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
Faust (1926)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Jean-Pierre Améris
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Marc-André Grondin, Emmanuelle Seigner
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A producer decides to reopen a theater, that had been closed five years previously when one of the actors was murdered during a performance, by staging a production of the same play with ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Leni
Stars: Laura La Plante, Montagu Love, Roy D'Arcy
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  
Director: Sergio Corbucci
Stars: Jean Sorel, Lisa Gastoni, Ilaria Occhini
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A middle-aged magician is in love with his beautiful young assistant. She, on the other hand, is in love with the magician's young protege, who turns out to be a bum and a thief.

Director: Pál Fejös
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin, Leslie Fenton
Edit

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


Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

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

The clowns wear modern "clown" make-up in Queen Anne's reign (1702-1714). This appearance was not developed until the mid 1800s. Jo Grimaldi was the first clown to wear this style. See more »

Quotes

Ursus: Who disturbs the rest of Ursus the philosopher?
Gwynplaine as a child: My name is Gwynplaine and I am cold and hungry.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Universal Horror (1998) 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

Veidt and Leni and Victor Hugo

A lord refuses to kiss the hand of King James II, so is doubly punished: he perishes in the "Iron Lady" [onscreen in a memorably handled sequence] while his son is sent to a surgeon who [offscreen] carves a grin on his face "so he can forever laugh at his father". Sheltered by a kindly playwright ["like Shakespeare, only much better!"], the boy grows up to join his troupe of itinerant players as the star attraction: "The Man Who Laughs". His fortunes lead him to a blind girl, an ambitious duchess, and Queen Anne, who reinstates him to the nobility, but with further complications.

Conrad Veidt, in a career stretching from CALIGARI to CASABLANCA, always found the emotional authenticity in bizarre roles. Here, in the familiar 19th century figure of the suffering clown, his performance is transfixing: whether tremulous as the girl's hand explores his face, or mortified by the laughter of the House of Lords, Veidt's face makes the role more than a simple martyr: he is man struggling with unjust destiny ["A king made me a clown, a queen made me a lord, but first God made me a man!"].

Big-hearted and unashamedly dramatic, this is clearly the work of Victor Hugo, rags to riches in scope, offering consolation in love. The spirit of the French Revolution is very much in the air in this world of cruel privilege and class antagonism, full of secret doors, dungeons, and volatile mobs. While not as richly populated as Les Miserables and Hunchback, this adaptation still has spectacular set-pieces and elaborate settings.

Considerably less revolutionary is the conventional portrayal of women: virgin and vamp are the only alternatives. The former is the blind girl played by Mary Philbin [who had earlier unmasked Lon Chaney's Phantom]. With blond ringlets arranged to make her face heart-shaped, she edges close to simpering yet rises to genuinely moving moments. The vamp is Olga Baclanova [who became the blonde tormentor in Tod Browning's FREAKS], here writhing around in a black negligee and looking startlingly like Madonna.

Today, the films of Paul Leni are hard to track down, but worth the effort. Starting as an art director, Leni developed his visual command in Berlin; this Germanic style stands out in some beautifully designed compositions, such as a dynamic night sequence: a ship, full of gypsies being deported, heaves through a furious snowstorm. Yet Leni always works at the heart of the human values in the story, sustaining intense moments for all his actors. While some scenes are staged in darkness to rival a film noir, Leni also floods Veidt and Philbin with light, often focusing on one nuance per shot, an old-fashioned but effective strategy.

Filmed on the cusp of the sound revolution, this semi-silent has added sound effects and rather vague non-stop music but no spoken dialogue.


25 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Saddest Movie Ever? rocker623
Source for 'Dark Knight' Imposter jreafilms
The Duchess Looked like a Young Madonna HOHNancy
The book diffrent ending? Sacula
Steeplechase Park, Coney Island aahronheim
What if Paul Leni had lived? bheck1
Discuss The Man Who Laughs (1928) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?