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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.

Director:

Paul Leni

Writers:

Victor Hugo (novel), J. Grubb Alexander (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,267 ( 3,341)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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 »
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

Joker was based on an actor While Finger & Kane created the Joker and Jerry Robinson sketched it, the character was highly inspired by a photo of actor Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine (a man with a disfigured face, giving him a perpetual grin). 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

Clown: What a lucky clown you are! You don't have to wipe off your laugh.
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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent Classic of Victor Hugo's Novel
24 September 2006 | by claudio_carvalhoSee 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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