To my own personal regret, I haven't yet seen the 1928 classic on which this French/Italian version is based. The basic premise is truly intriguing and you can derive from this film that the original has got to be a fantastic film. The pivot character is a young man called Angelo (Jean Sorel from Lucio Fulci's "Lizard in a Woman's Skin") who got kidnapped as a boy by gypsies in order to turn him into an acrobat and sell him to a circus. His face was horribly mutilated on purpose (he appears to have a constant grin) to increase his "value" as a circus-freak even more. The story is set in 16th century Spain (or is it Italy?) and Angelo is torn between civil wars and an unanswered love. I hope to see the original soon, because I understand that this setting is different and a lot more confusing. This version is overlong and quickly becomes boring. Moreover, the screenplay makes a ridiculous twist near the end, when we're supposed to believe that surgeons in the 16th century were flawlessly capable of performing complex plastic surgery. The make-up effects are admirable, the body count is enormous and Sorel's acting is well above average. Even though a remake, "The Man Who Laughs" is a movie with great potential and it's a shame the execution is so darn poorly.
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