7.7/10
1,582
47 user 12 critic

Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)

Passed | | Drama | 14 April 1928 (USA)
A professional clown and a self-indulgent count learn to help each other with their problems, but then become romantic rivals.

Director:

Herbert Brenon

Writers:

David Belasco (play), Tom Cushing (play) | 2 more credits »
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On Disc

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lon Chaney ... Tito
Bernard Siegel ... Simon
Loretta Young ... Simonetta
Cissy Fitzgerald ... Giancinta (as Cissy Fitz-Gerald)
Nils Asther ... Luigi
Gwen Lee ... Lucretia
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Storyline

As professional clowns Tito and Simon are traveling, they happen upon an abandoned child, whom they take in and name Simonetta. When Simonetta is older, she becomes a circus performer herself. One day she is looking for roses, and climbs into the garden of Count Luigi Ravelli. The count becomes infatuated with her, but she leaves as soon as possible. Sometime later, Ravelli consults a doctor about his fits of uncontrollable laughter, and there he meets Tito, who has come to seek help for his fits of uncontrollable weeping. The two decide to help each other, and they establish a friendship, but problems arise when they realize that they are both in love with Simonetta. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What did he hide behind his painted smile?

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

14 April 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ríe, payaso, ríe See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$293,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Circus Performer Hilda Nelson, whose whole Family were Circus People/Acrobats taught Lon Chaney to walk the wire and doubled for Loretta Young on the tightrope. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: [First Lines] Spring comes early in the Italian hills. Peasant hearts are light - and the voice of the travelling circus is heard in the land...
See more »

Alternate Versions

An alternate "happier" ending was shot and was available to theaters who did not like the original. Unfortunately this no longer exists. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Devil's Rejects (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the Great Films
26 July 2004 | by teehee7See all my reviews

Not only is this the greatest performance I've seen by Chaney, it is one of the great films.

In this, Chaney definitively proves he is one of the greatest actors, perhaps the greatest, in all of film. Although he appears in different make-ups in almost every scene, the make-up is to portray himself as a younger man who slowly grows older as the 25-year span of the film tells the well-known tragic love story more familiarly known as "Pagliacci," the clown who could not laugh.

The film co-stars a radiant 14-year-old Loretta Young, who Chaney supposedly guided to another great performance. Without the director, who was unduly harsh on her, knowing it. When Chaney found out, he made sure he was always with Young whenever the director was. Young's mistreatment ended.

Several times I was near tears because Chaney's performance--watch his eyes, hands and demeanor--is so naturalistic, even though somewhat melodramatic, as all silent performances were.

Almost all of Chaney's films were about unrequieted love, but here he may have reached his apotheosis. I won't know until I see a few more of his non "horror" films, especially, "He Who Gets Slapped."

Don't let what I've said make you think this is some clunky "tear-jerker," It is filled with good laughs, drama, wonder and real pathos. Chaney's final scene is utterly tragic and beautiful.

Even non-Chaney fans will be awed by "Laugh, Clown, Laugh."


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