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Laughing Anne (1953)

 -  Adventure  -  1 July 1954 (USA)
5.2
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 16 users  
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Based on Conrad's short story of a red-headed beauty of the eighteen-eighties who was a singer in an elegant Parisian night-club, whose laugh gave her the title of "Laughing Anne". Her ... See full summary »

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Title: Laughing Anne (1953)

Laughing Anne (1953) on IMDb 5.2/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Capt. Davidson
Margaret Lockwood ...
Laughing Anne
...
Jem Farrell
Ronald Shiner ...
Nobby Clark
Robert Harris ...
Joseph Conrad
Jacques B. Brunius ...
Frenchie
Daphne Anderson ...
Blonde singer
Helen Shingler ...
Susan Davidson
Danny Green ...
Nicholas
Harold Lang ...
Jacques
Edgar Norfolk ...
Conrad's companion
Sean Lynch ...
David
Gerard Lohan ...
Davy
Andy Ho ...
Chinese merchant
Maurice Bush ...
Battling Brunius
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Storyline

Based on Conrad's short story of a red-headed beauty of the eighteen-eighties who was a singer in an elegant Parisian night-club, whose laugh gave her the title of "Laughing Anne". Her lover, Jen Farrell wins a fight that should have led to a meeting with heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan but crooks, who had sought to fix the fight, fixed him instead and Farrell is so hurt that Laughing Anne realizes he will never fight again. They drift to the Eastern seas where Anne becomes a singer in sordid Javanese bars. There she meets Captain Davidson, the master of a trading schooner, stows away on his ship and begs him to take her to Singapore. In the slow lazy cruise, Davidson falls under the spell of Laughing Anne and begs her to marry him, but she has learned from him an old forgotten sense of loyalty, jumps ship at Singapore and makes her way back to the blowzy, forlorn life with Farrell. Years later, Davidson meets her again when an unusual cargo takes him to a strange lonely, ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Their prize was gold...and a woman in the sinister dives of the Java Sea!

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Adventure

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Release Date:

1 July 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Between the Tides  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

All the World Is Mine on Sunday
Music by Pierre Roche
Lyrics by Geoffrey Parsons
Sung by Margaret Lockwood (singing dubbed by Lita Roza)
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User Reviews

 
No laughing matter
4 February 2013 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Dismissed in Halliwell's Film Guide as "poor work all around", "Laughing Anne" must be more than just bad to explain why it stays in the memory. Despite some admittedly odd touches – it's not totally without merit.

"Laughing Anne" was based on "Because of the Dollars", a short story by Joseph Conrad, who later reworked it as a play. The plot and the characters underwent considerable reshaping for the 1954 film version. A favourite Conrad device was to have a storyteller recounting a tale he had witnessed, and the film has Conrad, played by Robert Harris, narrating the story.

Wendell Corey plays Davidson, the captain of the Susan, a cargo vessel plying the seas around Java in the early 1900's. Never a name that had crowds lining up around the block, Wendell Corey looks pretty world-weary in this outing. Although only 40 at the time, he looks older.

When Davidson ends up in a waterfront bar, he attracts the attention of a French singer, Laughing Anne.

Margaret Lockwood plays Laughing Anne. She takes her character's name seriously; when first introduced, she throws her head back and delivers a long peal of forced laughter – just so we know she is Laughing Anne. Fortunately, she tones down this effect for the rest of the movie.

As Davidson and Anne become acquainted, they are interrupted by Jem Farrell played by Forest Tucker. Farrell, who owns the bar, has lost both hands and protects the stumps with leather coverings. A tricky effect for 1954 – where you would normally expect the loss of hands to make a man's arms shorter, in this film it actually makes them longer. Farrell keeps his arms in his pockets most of the time but this only draws more attention to them.

Farrell turns out to be Laughing Anne's boyfriend and he does not take kindly to the attention Davidson is showing her. When Davidson returns to his vessel, Laughing Anne stows away to escape the abusive Farrell. As they head to Singapore, they fall in love.

The story of how Laughing Anne became involved with Farrell is told in flashback. Farrell has become dependent on Anne but treats her badly. However, when the Susan reaches Singapore, Anne leaves Davidson to return to Farrell because she knows he will need her.

Six years elapse and Davidson has undertaken an assignment to exchange currency at a remote settlement up-river. He meets Laughing Anne again, although still with Farrell she now has a six-year old son who Davidson suspects might be his. Davidson talks her into finally leaving Farrell but before they can, Farrell plots to steal the money that Davidson has on board the Susan. Laughing Anne warns Davidson, and this leads to her death as well as Farrell's.

Davidson ends up raising Anne's son even though he realises he is not the father. The final scene in the film when the son lets out the exact same laugh as his mother is pretty weird.

"Laughing Anne" has many strikes against it but the desperation of the two downbeat leads and Tucker's brooding, handless man give the story a moodiness that many a better-crafted film has struggled to achieve. All things considered, Halliwell's dismissal of it was just a little too cursory.


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