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Laughter in Hell (1933)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  12 January 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 21 users  
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In the late 1800s, a man is sentenced to life at hard labor for killing his wife and her lover.



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Title: Laughter in Hell (1933)

Laughter in Hell (1933) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barney Slaney
Tommy Conlon ...
Barney as a Boy
Merna Kennedy ...
Marybelle Evans
Berton Churchill ...
Mike Slaney
Tom Brown ...
Lew Kelly ...
Arthur Vinton ...
Grover Perkins
Mickey Bennett ...
Grover as a Boy
Abraham Jackson
Ed Perkins
Dick Winslow ...
Ed Perkins, as a boy
Rollo Lloyd ...
Noel Madison ...
Tom Ricketts ...


In the late 1800s, a man is sentenced to life at hard labor for killing his wife and her lover.

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Crime | Drama





Release Date:

12 January 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Laughter in Hell  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Ford was originally set to direct the film. See more »

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User Reviews

Depressing Depression Flick
27 May 2013 | by (Ramsey, NJ) – See all my reviews

In the very first scene, Barney Slaney's (Pat O'Brien) Ma dies. Things go downhill for Barney from there, as he apparently has two kinds of luck; no luck and bad luck. He grows up and marries a woman who cheats on him and eventually gets sent to jail for killing her lover. But since this is Tennessee in the 1900's, it is not exactly jail - he has been sentenced to life at hard labor on a chain gang.

"Laughter in Hell" is a pre-code picture and the main objection must have been the harsh treatment convicts would receive, including whippings and poor living conditions. There is also a scene in which his wife is brazenly conducting her affair in their own bedroom, although there is no in flagrante delicto footage.

But the picture is a downer from start to finish, and the prison scenes have the feel of an expose on conditions therein. Our hero finally finds deliverance from his misery in the lovely form of Gloria Stuart, who is luminous as the kind soul who takes him in after his escape. The film ends on a note of hope for the desperate Slaney, with the expectation of a new life as he and Stuart cross the border via wagon and mule team to a neighboring state.

Acting is good all around and it is O'Brien who makes the movie go, with good support from Douglas Dumbrille in a hateful role as the prison warden, and from Clarence Muse as his best friend behind bars. See it only to bring out your inner masochist. Shown at Cinefest, Columbus, O., 5/13.

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