7.7/10
5,195
63 user 45 critic

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.

Director:

Paul Leni

Writers:

Victor Hugo (novel), J. Grubb Alexander (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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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 ... 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

Forever disfigured by a wide and mirthless grin on his face, the orphaned son of a nobleman, Gwynplaine, rescues the blind baby-girl, Dea, in cold seventeenth-century England. Taken in by the paternal carnival philosopher, Ursus, the unloved boy grows into a kind and honest man who chooses, however, to hide his grotesque deformity behind a black cloak, utterly convinced that the beautiful Dea will never truly love him because of his horrible secret. Feeling unworthy of Dea's noble feelings, Gwynplaine will soon cross paths with the aristocratic temptress, Duchess Josiana, as a cruel and long-standing conspiracy in the palace of Queen Anne presents him with the burden of choice. Will poor Gwynplaine, the Man who Laughs, renounce everything in the name of love? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Universal's third VICTOR HUGO Masterpiece. A Blending of the Terrible with the Sublime, of the Monstrous with the Magnificent. (Print Ad-Cairns Post, ((Brisbane, Queensland)) 24 June 1929) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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:

The Man Who Laughs See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,347
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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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

This film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 16 critic reviews. 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

King James II: The proud rebel who refused to kiss our hand returns to kiss the iron lady!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Man Who Laughs (1966) 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

Wow
11 October 1999 | by flip-23See all my reviews

I saw this last night at the New Orleans Film Fest and was blown away. The film has been restored and was shown with a live octet to boot. The story was complex yet easy to understand and the acting was great. I was amazed at some of the camera work and film editing for such an early period in film history. It is too bad Leni died so young because he was headed for greatness.


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