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In an effort to top the critical and financial success of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera, studio head Carl Laemmle recruited two influential artists of the German Expressionist school: actor Conrad Veidt (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) and director Paul Leni (Waxworks). The shadowy exteriors, the carnival setting, the demonically misshapen "hero" made The Man Who Laughs something entirely new to American cinema -- the foundation upon which the classic Universal horror films would be built. Veidt stars as Gwynplaine, a nobleman's son who is kidnapped by a political enemy, and then is mutilated by a gypsy "surgeon" who carves a monstrous smile upon his face. Finding shelter in a traveling freakshow, he falls in love with a blind girl (The Phantom of the Opera's Mary Philbin), the one person who cannot be repulsed by his appearance. As years pass, the hand of fate draws Gwynplaine back into the world of politcal intrigue. He becomes the plaything of a jaded duchess (Freaks Olga Baclanova), and his enemies renew their efforts to control him.

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Special Features An original 20-minute documentary on the making of the film Candid home movie footage of Conrad Veidt and fellow European emigr�s Greta Garbo, Emil Jannings, and Camilla Horn. Extensive gallery of rare photographs and art. Booklet essay by John Soister, author of Conrad Veidt On Screen. Excerpt of the Italian release version, with unique hand-painted title cards. Excerpt from Victor Hugo's original novel.

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KI3102 Man Who Laughs DVD (1928/Conrad Veidt) $29.95 $24.99