Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

4 / 5
Tagline: N/A
Directed by: Paul Leni
Written by: J. Grubb Alexander
Actors include: Mary Philbin, Conrad Veidt, Julius Molnar Jr.
Genre: Drama, Horror
Length: 110 minutes
Banned: Nope
Country: USA

Well I rated this perhaps a little higher than my enjoyment level was throughout, but it's mainly because it's a beautifully made and acted picture. The big problem I actually had with this film is that it's overly long and not a heck of a lot happens in the middle. The beginning is magnificent, we meet a man who came to check on his Son at a castle. Immediately we learn this man isn't welcome and we learn that his Son had a grotesque grin carved into his face by some people who apparently maim children for a living? Anyhow, the boy's father is put in an iron maiden, then we meet the boy. He's left behind by the carvers and he finds a baby girl in the arms of a dead Woman. The Girl ends up being raised with the boy by a kindly Gentlemen they happen upon. The boy becomes a clown and he cannot frown, and the girl is blind but they fall hopelessly in love. From there we get a big plot about royalty and money that is rather dull, although the ending is pretty fantastic. Also interesting is that the Duchess in the film looks an awful lot like Madonna, and her character is extremely risque for the time. Also keep your eye out for their wolf named "Homo" seriously...I know it's wrong but it's pretty funny really and the wolf is a rather large character. Anyhow the effects are amazing and it's more of a touching story (you should see how sad the laughing man really is) than a horror story, but at least the elements of horror are there in the basis. It's also a bit confusing in places, and although most of it makes sense in the end I'm still a little perplexed about some things. This one is a must see for silent movie fans but be forewarned that it is a bit trying in places.

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