England, the late 17th century. King Jacques II has his enemy Lord Clancharlie tortured to death and sells his young son to child traffickers, the "comprachicos." The boy, whom the traffickers disfigure - twisting his mouth into a hideous permanent grin - flees and saves a blind baby from the cold, Dea. Both are taken in by Ursus, a traveling showman who lives in his wagon in the company of Homo the wolf. The years pass. Gwynplaine, now known as "the man who laughs," has become a star of the fair-ground. He is in love with Dea, who has grown into a beautiful young girl and is unaware of his deformity...
J. Grubb Alexander, daprès le roman de Victor HugoAdaptation : Charles E. Whittaker, Marion Ward, Mary McLean.Direction artistique : Charles D. Hall, Joseph Wright, Thomas F. ONeill Gilbert Warrenton Charles Hall, Thomas F. ONeill, Joseph Wright Maurice Pivar, Edward L. Cahn Mary Philbin, Brandon Hurst, Cesare Gravina, Olga Baclanova, Josephine Crowell, George Siegmann, Sam De Grasse, Stuart Holmes, Nick de Ruiz, Julius Molnar, Zimbo, Conrad Veidt
He was a painter and a stage designer. He was intersted in theater. He was a screenwriter, an actor and started direction in 1916. He asserted himself with two main films in silent German cinema, the one close to Kammerspiel, and the other closer to expressionism: Le Cabinet des figures de cire. In 1927, Carl Laemmle asked for him in Hollywood where he directed four films for Universal, like La Volonté du mort.