The Man Who Laughs (1928)


Personal opinion: “The Man Who Laughs” is one of Conrad’s most popular and best known films in his entire career. I would say that this is the motion picture in which he has the most expressive eyes. His performance is brilliant, and it is one of the few films in which Connie will make you smile and cry from one scene to another. This mix of feelings is very profound and not thoroughly enjoyable, but it is a lively film, and Conrad’s Gwynplaine is a lively character, despite the fact that he was tortured and disfigured, and so he is obliged to earn a living by working at a circus. He is also a man who loves a blind woman, played by the beautiful and delicate Mary Philbin, and the sexy Olga Baklanova (who resembles Madonna a lot) keeps his interest alive, too. Conrad’s laughing face was a source of inspiration for the Joker from the Batman series, but, despite his appearance, Gwynplaine was not a happy, nor an evil person – he was a man who had frustrations, fears and disillusions, a man who had suffered ever since he was a child, a man who was punished by destiny and who was separated prematurely from his parents (something similar to Connie’s own personal life) and was adopted by a stranger. So, Victor Hugo’s “The Man Who Laughs” is, in fact, the story of “The Man Who Cries”, and it conveys the strong message that one should never judge, nor appreciate the other only through the physical appearance. It is worthy to mention that this is another film in which Connie has a double role, because he plays both the father and son.


One thought on “The Man Who Laughs (1928)

  1. Im compleply agree with your oppinion, personally this film is one of my favorite Conrad’s movies, and of couse I fell in love with Gwynplaine, in fact this character introduces me into Connie’s world (im a very new fan) but he makes me sigh yet and sigh and sight one again… I think Im very in love right now… also I loved Connie in The cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Hands of Orlac… In all this roles, Conrad shows characters who have a lot of beautiful emotions and feelings. And this is something that I apreciatted so much of Gwynplaine.
    Well, I discover Gwynplaine (and Connie) because Im a very big fan of the Joker, and I saw many years ago a comparison of the Joker with other of my fave villains called Le Bled (he is a character from a manga/anime called Steam Detectives) and I can see more behind a crazy mind on the Joker and more than a thief on Le Bled because both were criminals, but both have frustrations too, broken dreams.. and well le Bled’s history was so dramatic too XD… and sometimes I wanted that characters like Le Bled or the Joker was in the other way… the way of Gwynplaine.. because everything He shows was sweetness and lovely feelings… as Le Bled in the lastest episodes…. so Gwynplaine is like a dream for me, is a man who is sensitive, tender, pure, innocent, expresive and perfect couple for a lady like Dea ( everithing I wanted in my mind for my fave villains) and of course being the inspiration of Mr J… well He was so so epic!! Definitly I loved this character. And his tears… how beautiful!!..

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