The Man Who Laughs (film)

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The Man Who Laughs may refer to various films, all adapted from Victor Hugo's novel:

  • The Man Who Laughs (1909 film), made in France by the Pathé film company and produced by Albert Capellani. No copies of this film are known to survive.
  • Das grinsende Gesicht (The Grinning Face) (1921), a German 1921 film produced by Olympic Films, directed by Julius Herzka, with Franz Höbling in the leading role as Gwynplaine. This low-budget film is faithful to the novel, but necessarily simplifies and condenses the plot.
  • The Man Who Laughs (1928 film), directed by Paul Leni, starring Conrad Veidt, whose performance as Gwynplaine is cited by students of comic book history as a key influence on the character design of The Joker[citation needed].
  • The Man Who Laughs (1966 film) (L'uomo che ride), an Italian-French 1966 film, also in an English dubbed version titled He Who Laughs, made in Italy and directed by Sergio Corbucci. This version features elaborate colour photography, but a very low production budget. The main action is shifted to Italy and moved backwards in time, with the deformed protagonist meeting Lucrezia Borgia instead of Queen Anne. In this version, Gwynplaine is renamed Angelo (played by Jean Sorel). His disfigurement is represented as a single broad slash across his mouth, crude yet convincing. The story (which is attributed, in the movie credits, to the director, producer and others involved in making the film, but not to Victor Hugo) is a swashbuckler pitting the disfigured acrobat against the henchmen of the Borgias. At the end, Dea (actress Lina Sini) miraculously acquires her eyesight and Angelo undergoes surgery that completely reverses his disfigurement and renders him perfectly handsome.
  • L'homme qui rit (1971 TV film), a TV movie directed by Jean Kerchbron made and distributed in 1971. It is an adaptation of the novel in three episodes, starring Xavier Depraz as Ursus, Philippe Clay as Barkilphedro, Philippe Bouclet as the adult Gwynplaine and Delphine Desyeux as the adult Dea.
  • L'homme qui rit (2012 film). Originally released in Belgium, this French movie features Gérard Depardieu as Ursus, Christa Theret as Dea and Marc-Andre Grondin as Gwynplaine.