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Freaks (1932)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Horror  |  20 February 1932 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 29,596 users  
Reviews: 246 user | 178 critic

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

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(suggested by story: "Spurs") (as Tod Robbins)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wallace Ford ...
...
Venus
...
Roscoe Ates ...
Roscoe (as Rosco Ates)
...
Hercules
Harry Earles ...
Daisy Earles ...
Rose Dione ...
Madame Tetrallini
Daisy Hilton ...
Violet Hilton ...
Schlitze ...
Himself
Josephine Joseph ...
Half Woman-Half Man
Johnny Eck ...
Half Boy
Frances O'Connor ...
Armless Girl
Peter Robinson ...
Human Skeleton
Edit

Storyline

A circus trapeze artist, Cleopatra, takes an interest in Hans, a midget who works in the circus sideshow. Her interest however is in the money Hans will be inheriting and she is actually carrying on an affair with another circus performer, Hercules. Hans's fiancée does her best to convince him that he is being used but to no avail. At their wedding party, a drunken Cleopatra tells the sideshow freaks just what she thinks of them. Together, the freaks decide to make her one of their own. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Strangest... The Most Startling Human Story Ever Screened... Are You Afraid To Believe What Your Eyes See? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 February 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Forbidden Love  »

Box Office

Budget:

$310,607 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to one source, director Tod Browning was introduced to the story by Cedric Gibbons, longtime head of MGM's Art Department. He was supposedly boyhood friends with author Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins and convinced the studio to purchase film rights for the sum of $8,000. Another source claims that the diminutive actor Harry Earles gave Browning a copy of the story during the production of The Unholy Three (1925) in hopes that he could star in the adaptation. See more »

Goofs

During the scene in which Hans' friends menace Cleopatra in the wagon, the flute soundtrack doesn't match the finger movements of the dwarf playing the flute. See more »

Quotes

Phroso: Don't go out filling your hide with a lot of booze celebrating. 'Cause fun what's got that way never done NO one no good. Get me?
Venus: I got ya'.
Venus: [stops and takes a closer look at Phroso] Say, you're a pretty good kid!
Phroso: You're darn right I am! You should have caught me before my operation!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturn in Opposition (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Dancing Dolls
(uncredited)
Music by Julius Seredy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
hideously beautiful
18 September 2005 | by (Hellfudge, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

It is ironic how director Tod Browning followed up "Dracula"--a horror film with painterly set design and a distinct atmosphere of unease--with a horror film more grounded in reality. Whereas the sets in "Dracula" were as skillfully rendered as the most elaborate of tapestries, the abstraction of "Freaks" comes from the title characters, who are at once hideous, wonderful, and all too human. Browning doesn't present these characters--who were actual sideshow performers--in an exploitative manner (though the long disclaimer that precedes the film is a definite reflection of his concern), but instead touches on a humility, modesty, and altruism that makes them as capable of expressing joy, sorrow, and vengeance as any 'normal' human being. And that's the overriding moral of "Freaks," wherein busty trapeze artist Cleopatra marries sensitive midget Hans only so she and her lunkheaded, strongman lover can make off with his inheritance. Granted, this plot has since become cliché, but to apply it to sideshow performers who are truly in their element 'under the big top' is something of a masterstroke...as it makes the 'normals' seem that much more out-of-place and unwelcome. (A complaint: as some of the dialog is difficult to decipher, it seems that the sound quality was either poorly recorded at the time or when it was transferred to video.)


29 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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