7.8/10
4,553
54 user 39 critic

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

When a proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690, he is cruelly executed and his son surgically disfigured.

Director:

Paul Leni

Writers:

Victor Hugo (novel), J. Grubb Alexander (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Mary Philbin ... Dea
Conrad Veidt ... Gwynplaine / Lord Clancharlie
Julius Molnar Julius Molnar ... Gwynplaine as a child (as Julius Molnar Jr.)
Olga Baclanova ... Duchess Josiana
Brandon Hurst ... Barkilphedro
Cesare Gravina Cesare Gravina ... Ursus
Stuart Holmes ... Lord Dirry-Moir
Sam De Grasse ... King James II (as Sam DeGrasse)
George Siegmann ... Dr. Hardquanonne
Josephine Crowell ... Queen Anne
Károly Huszár Károly Huszár ... Innkeeper (as Charles Puffy)
Zimbo the Dog Zimbo the Dog ... Homo the Wolf (as Zimbo)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Delmo Fritz Delmo Fritz ... Sword Swallower
Deno Fritz Deno Fritz ... Sword Swallower
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Storyline

Gwynplaine, son of Lord Clancharlie, has a permanent smile carved on his face by the King, in revenge for Gwynplaine's father's treachery. Gwynplaine is adopted by a travelling showman and becomes a popular idol. He falls in love with the blind Dea. The king dies, and his evil jester tries to destroy or corrupt Gwynplaine. Written by Helen Elsom <helenel@sco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A nevető ember See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The process of carving a victim's face to look like it is smiling broadly has come to be known as a Glasgow Smile or a Chelsea Smile after organized-crime rings in those two British cities used such mutilation as a terror tactic. See more »

Goofs

After swimming in the river, Homo, the wolf, is dry when he immediately attacks Barkilphedro. He is dry when pulled back into the boat after his second crossing of the river. See more »

Quotes

Ursus: [looking at the baby] Blind!
[sees Gwynplaine grinning]
Ursus: Stop laughing! Stop laughing I say!
Gwynplaine as a child: I'm not laughing!
Ursus: [looks at Gwynplaine's grin] Comprachicos!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Island of Lost Souls (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

When Love Comes Stealing
(uncredited)
Written by Walter Hirsch, Lew Pollack and Erno Rapee
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Monarch Scorned!
4 March 2008 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

A most extraordinary movie, filmed on an absolutely staggering scale in the most extravagant yet stylish manner possible by director Paul Leni. Superbly photographed, costumed and set, this handsomely atmospheric horror piece is certainly one of a kind. In its own peculiarly dark niche, I can think of no other competitors, not even Universal's own "Hunchback of Notre Dame".

This movie has the further advantage of a far superior cast. Mary Philbin betters her portrayal in "Hunchback" by a mile, while Conrad Veidt in a Chaney-type role easily steals the picture by sheer charisma rather than simply horrific make-up. Mind you, he is given a good run for his money by Brandon Hurst as the scheming villain, Baclanova as the sexy Josiana, and Josephine Crowell (in her final feature film) as the imperious queen.


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