On today’s episode, I talked with actor Derrin Stull, who picked The Man Who Laughs. You know when we were all kids and some of us including myself dressed up as what we were told were the classic Halloween costumes? Y’know like the Mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula? Well, our main character Gwynplaine should be held among them as The Man Who Laughs built the aesthetic foundation and stage upon which the Universal Picture Horror film series, its monsters, and the horror genre as a whole starred.
Directed by German expressionist Paul Leni and starring horror actor progenitor Conrad Veidt alongside the very first scream queen herself Mary Philbin, The Man Who Laughs follows Gwynplaine a man who was horribly disfigured as a child and is sentenced to live his life with a permanent smile due to his father’s failed rebellion. His life is both cursed and blessed in childhood as he saves a baby girl named Deá who is blind, and both are then rescued by a kindly philosopher. They grow older, fall in love, and live happy lives despite the crowds that cruelly mock Gwynplaine until someone unveils his secret past. So, sit back, relax, and watch the smile that inspired one of film’s greatest villains, The Joker.
You can purchase The Man Who Laughs here.
Cinemallennials is a podcast where myself and another millennial are introduced to a classic film for the very first time ranging from the birth of cinema to the 1960s. Myself and my guest will open your eyes to the vast landscape of classic film as we discuss the films’ performers, their performances, those behind the camera, and how they and their films still influence our world today.