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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Man Who Laughs (1928) Paul Leni


The Man Who Laughs (1928) is an American silent film directed by the German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni. The film is an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel of the same name and stars Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine and Mary Philbin as the blind Dea with Olga Baclanova, Josephine Crowell, George Siegmann.

The film is known for the grim carnival freak-like grin on the character Gwynplaine's face, which often leads it to be classified as a horror film. Film critic Roger Ebert stated, "The Man Who Laughs is a melodrama, at times even a swashbuckler, but so steeped in Expressionist gloom that it plays like a horror film."

The Man Who Laughs is a Romantic melodrama, similar to films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). The film was one of the early Universal Pictures productions that made the transition from silent films to sound films, using the Movietone sound system introduced by William Fox. The film was completed in April 1927 but was held for release in April 1928, with sound effects and a music score that included the song, "When Love Comes Stealing," by Walter Hirsch, Lew Pollack, and Erno Rapee.

Directed by Paul Leni
Produced by Paul Kohner
Written by: (Novel) Victor Hugo, Screenplay: J. Grubb Alexander, Walter Anthony, Mary McLean, Charles E. Whittaker
Cinematography, Gilbert Warrenton
Editing by, Edward L. Cahn, Maurice Pivar
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date: New York Premiere - April 27, 1928
Running time: 110 min.

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