The Man Who Laughs (1928)
Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 11
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 0
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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 2,122
Released with sound effects and a music score that included the song "When Love Comes Smiling" by Walter Hirsch, Lew Pollack and Erno Rapee, Paul Leni's near masterpiece remains one of the silent era's last great romantic melodramas. Based on Victor Hugo's 1869 novel L'Homme qui Rit, The Man Who Laughs starred German import Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine, a carnival freak doomed to live life wearing a perpetual grin carved on his face by Dr Hardquannone (George Siegman because his father, Lord
Nov 4, 1928 Wide
Sep 30, 2003
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As usual in Hugo, love is measured in sacrifice, yielding a sincere and extravagant sense of romance.
Baclanova is amusing as a decadent duchess, but it's Leni's pictorial genius -- aided here by what must have been an enormous budget -- that marks the film as one of the most exhilarating of late silent cinema.
This production has been fashioned with considerable skill. It is, of course, a gruesome tale in which the horror is possibly moderated but none the less disturbing.
Poised between the great German horror that preceded it and the great Universal horror that followed, it is, for genre fans, an inviting and necessary stop.
The Man Who Laughs demonstrates that, however much we gained with sound, we lost opportunities that arise when storytelling prioritizes vision.
While this is a flawed film, it boasts some of the most impressive acting of the silent era. It certainly has sharpened my interest in Veidt.
An expressionistic masterpiece of spooky, fairy tale Poe-meets-Perrault imagery...
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