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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

L’homme qui rit

Fortnight 1998, Feature film, 1 h 56

Synopsis

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…

Director

Paul Leni

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.

Brandon Hurst
Cesare Gravina
Conrad Veidt
George Siegmann
Josephine Crowell
Julius Molnar
Mary Philbin
Nick de Ruiz
Olga Baclanova
Sam De Grasse
Stuart Holmes
Zimbo

Screenplay
J. Grubb Alexander, d’après le roman de Victor HugoAdaptation : Charles E. Whittaker, Marion Ward, Mary McLean.Direction artistique : Charles D. Hall, Joseph Wright, Thomas F. O’Neill

Image
Gilbert Warrenton

Editing
Maurice Pivar, Edward L. Cahn

Set decoration
Charles Hall, Thomas F. O’Neill, Joseph Wright

Production :
Universal Pictures