IMDb > The Man Who Laughs (1928)
The Man Who Laughs
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The Man Who Laughs (1928) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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7.8/10   3,113 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Victor Hugo (novel)
J. Grubb Alexander (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Man Who Laughs on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 November 1928 (USA) See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Pure Classic See more (45 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Mary Philbin ... Dea

Conrad Veidt ... Gwynplaine / Lord Clancharlie
Julius Molnar ... Gwynplaine as a child (as Julius Molnar Jr.)

Olga Baclanova ... Duchess Josiana
Brandon Hurst ... Barkilphedro
Cesare Gravina ... Ursus
Stuart Holmes ... Lord Dirry-Moir
Sam De Grasse ... King James II (as Sam DeGrasse)

George Siegmann ... Dr. Hardquanonne
Josephine Crowell ... Queen Anne
Charles Puffy ... Innkeeper
Zimbo the Dog ... Homo the Wolf (as Zimbo)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Deno Fritz ... Sword Swallower
Henry A. Barrows ... (uncredited)
Richard Bartlett ... (uncredited)
Les Bates ... (uncredited)
Charles Brinley ... (uncredited)
Carmen Castillo ... Dea's Mother (uncredited)
Allan Cavan ... (uncredited)
D'Arcy Corrigan ... (uncredited)
Carrie Daumery ... Lady-in-Waiting (uncredited)
Howard Davies ... (uncredited)
Nick De Ruiz ... Wapentake (uncredited)
Louise Emmons ... Gypsey Hag (uncredited)
J.C. Fowler ... (uncredited)
John George ... Dwarf (uncredited)
Jack A. Goodrich ... Clown (uncredited)
Charles Hancock ... (uncredited)
Lila LaPon ... Featured (uncredited)
Torben Meyer ... The Spy (uncredited)
Joe Murphy ... Hardquanones messenger (uncredited)
Edgar Norton ... Lord High Chancellor (uncredited)
Broderick O'Farrell ... (uncredited)
Lon Poff ... (uncredited)
Frank Puglia ... Clown (uncredited)
Henry Roquemore ... (uncredited)
Templar Saxe ... (uncredited)
Allan Sears ... (uncredited)
Scott Seaton ... (uncredited)
Louis Stern ... (uncredited)
Al Stewart ... (uncredited)
Anton Vaverka ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Paul Leni 
 
Writing credits
Victor Hugo (novel "L'Homme Qui Rit")

J. Grubb Alexander (adaptation)

J. Grubb Alexander (continuity)

Walter Anthony (titles)

May McLean  uncredited
Marion Ward  uncredited
Charles E. Whittaker  uncredited

Produced by
Carl Laemmle .... producer
 
Original Music by
William Axt (uncredited)
Sam Perry (uncredited)
Erno Rapee (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Gilbert Warrenton (photography)
 
Film Editing by
Edward L. Cahn  (as Edward Cahn)
 
Art Direction by
Charles D. Hall 
Thomas F. O'Neill  (as Thomas O'Neil)
Joseph C. Wright  (as Joseph Wright)
 
Costume Design by
David Cox  (as Dave Cox)
Vera West 
 
Makeup Department
Jack P. Pierce .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Paul Kohner .... production supervisor
 
Editorial Department
Maurice Pivar .... supervising film editor
 
Music Department
Joseph Cherniavsky .... musical director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Walter Anthony .... titles
Charles D. Hall .... technical director
Carl Laemmle .... presenter
Lew Landers .... production staff member (as Louis Friedlander)
Jay Marchant .... production staff member
R.H. Newlands .... technical researcher (as Prof. R.H. Newlands)
Thomas F. O'Neill .... technical director (as Thomas O'Neil)
Bela Sekely .... story supervisor (as Dr. Bela Sekely)
John M. Voshell .... production staff member
Joseph C. Wright .... technical director (as Joseph Wright)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
110 min
Country:
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System) (musical score and sound effects) | Silent
Certification:

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:
Anachronisms: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Holy Batmania (1989) (V)See more »
Soundtrack:
When Love Comes StealingSee more »

FAQ

How did this American movie from 1928 get away with showing female nudity?
Is Gwynplaine based on the Joker?
See more »
31 out of 33 people found the following review useful.
Pure Classic, 10 August 2001

A young boy is terribly disfigured by roving gypsies by the order of King James II of England as a punishment to one of his disobeying nobles. The gypsies carve a permanent smile in the young boy's face and then leave him for dead as they leave for their homeland. The young boy wanders aimlessly for shelter amidst the cold coastline filled with snow, ruins, and swinging bodies from the hangman's noose in the background. Here he finds an infant..alive..clutched in the frozen hands of a woman whose husband was hanged. This was the beginning of The Man Who Laughs...and it was so powerfully filmed that a race of emotions filled me as I watched awe-struck, yet horrified. Paul Leni directed this great film based on the novel by Victor Hugo. Conrad Veidt plays the grown Gwynplaine who travels around the English countryside with his adopted parent Ursus the Philosopher and the young Dea, the girl whose life he saved as a baby. Dea has turned into a blooming young woman, yet blind from her birth. Dea is played very nicely by Mary Philbin, who played in The Phantom of the Opera(1925) in the female lead. The way Leni has the characters interact is very effective. We can feel the tension in Veidt's character as he submits to the growing pains of love. We feel his sorrow as he cries through smiles. The rest of the film involves a royal plot by the queen and her henchman/jester(by the way, Brandon Hurst does a phenomenal job as this cruel heartless jester) to reinstate some royal property to Gwynplaine so he can be married to a duchess that the queen does not like. The story is pretty good and one can see where it is going early on, but the way Leni creates suspense and pathos overpowers any negative defects. The acting all around is very strong. This is a powerful film on many levels. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride through love, hate, despair, joy, and much more. I laughed; I cried. The best part though was that the film has a marvelous message about perceptions. Here we have this character Gwynplaine that smiles outwardly and makes people laugh, but he is full of despair. He cries on the inside. People should not always be taken at face value. By the way, Bob Kane, the creator of Batman, credits this film and the character of Gywnplaine for his creation of the Joker. I can see how. Watch this and the silent version of The Bat in the same evening and you will see what stirred a young Bob Kane's imagination.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Man Who Laughs (1928)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Veidt's Makeup captrose
The Duchess Looked like a Young Madonna HOHNancy
Mary Philbin . . . curlew-2
Who played Lord Clancharlie? nerettyksduredro
Saddest Movie Ever? rocker623
Who played the two 'Iron Lady' executioners? yelknirb67
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