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The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 4 November 1928 (USA)
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.

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(novel), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
... Dea
... Gwynplaine / Lord Clancharlie
Julius Molnar ... Gwynplaine as a child (as Julius Molnar Jr.)
... Duchess Josiana
... Barkilphedro
Cesare Gravina ... Ursus
... Lord Dirry-Moir
... King James II (as Sam DeGrasse)
... Dr. Hardquanonne
... Queen Anne
Károly Huszár ... Innkeeper (as Charles Puffy)
Zimbo the Dog ... Homo the Wolf (as Zimbo)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Delmo Fritz ... Sword Swallower
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:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 November 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Homem Que Ri  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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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

The opening scene happens in James II's reign (1685-1688), but Lord Clancharlie is sentenced to death in an Iron Maiden, an instrument of torture not invented until 1793. See more »

Quotes

Lord Clancharlie: I came back to find my little son. What have you done with him?
King James II: By our grace he is still alive, and quite well, I believe. A Comprachico surgeon carved a grin upon his face so he might laugh forever at his fool of a father.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Universal Horror (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

When Love Comes Stealing
(uncredited)
Written by Walter Hirsch, Lew Pollack and Erno Rapee
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent Classic of Victor Hugo's Novel
24 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

In 1690, in England, the nobleman Lord Clancharlie returns from his exile to see his young son. The peer is captured by the cruel King James II and before being killed, he is informed that his beloved son had been sold to the gypsies Comanchicos that carved a permanent grin on his face. The Cormanchicos abandon the boy in the cold snowing winter, and while looking for shelter, he finds a baby hold in the arms of her dead mother. He brings the baby with him and they are welcomed by the philosopher Ursus (Cesare Gravina), who finds that the baby is blind and raises them. Years later, Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt) becomes a successful clown, and together with the blind Dea (Mary Philbin), they present plays for common people. Gwynplaine and Dea are in love for each other, but he refuses to marry her because of his ridiculous appearance. When the evil jester Barkilphedro (Brandon Hurst) discloses the origin of Gwynplaine, he plots a means to be rewarded by the Queen, jeopardizing the love of Gwynplaine and Dea.

The Man Who Laughs" is a magnificent classic based on the famous Victor Hugo's novel. The performances of Conrad Veidt and Brandon Hurst are amazing and there are many touching and heartbreaking scenes. My eyes became wet when the artists act like the audience cheering for Gwynplaine to spare Dea from the truth. The appearance of the character Gwynplaine inspired Bob Kane in the creation of "The Joker", one of Batman's greatest enemies. Another point that I would like to highlight is the resemblance of Madonna, in the beginning of her career, with the Russian actress Olga Baclanova, who performs daring scenes including of nude with her amoral character of Duchess Josiana. I have never read Victor Hugo's novel, but it seems that the conclusion in the original story is less optimistic than in this movie, but anyway I loved this film. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "O Homem Que Ri" ("The Man Who Laughs")


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