7.8/10
4,528
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

Gwynplaine's fixed grin and disturbing clown-like appearance was a key inspiration for comic book talents writer Bill Finger and artists Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson in creating Batman's greatest enemy, The Joker. See more »

Goofs

When Josiana wakes up and embraces Gwynplaine, she puts both her arms around his neck. In the next shot, only her right arm is around his neck and she uses her left to prop herself up. See more »

Quotes

Dea: God closed my eyes so I could see only the real Gwynplaine.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jonathan Creek: The Letters of Septimus Noone (2014) 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

New York
19 November 1998 | by boris-26See all my reviews

This silent horror gem doesn't get many viewings. Conrad Viedt, in his best film role plays an unfortunate memeber of royality whose mouth is carved in a horrific grin. He winds up in a circus sideshow, where gawkers marvel at his eternal grin. However, Viedt does such a wonderful performance here, especially with the fact he has the limitation of expressing inner anquish with eye movements. After the sideshow episode, he falls in love with a blind girl, (Mary Philbin, recently menaced by "The Phantom Of The Opera") who can't see his grostesque mouth. Paul Leni, who died of blood poisioning in 1931, keeps the pace of the film active. The late Bob Kane, creator of "Batman" claims Viedt's character was the inspiration for The Joker.


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