The Man Who Laughs

Type: New Blu-Ray

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo and masterfully directed by Paul Leni!

Blu-ray/DVD Dual Format Edition

Flicker Alley, in partnership with Universal Pictures, are proud to present Universal Pictures’ new 4K restoration of the 1928 silent classic, The Man Who Laughs, accompanied by a newly recorded orchestral score by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra. The composers, in reel order, are Phil Carlson, Benjamin Knorr, Marcelle Simpson, Sonia Coronado, Daniel Tauber, Emi Nishida, and Dai Haraguchi.

The story centers on the extraordinary adventures of Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt), whose wide and mirthless grin inspired DC Comics’ legendary Batman villain, the Joker. Veidt's character has become well known to most cinephiles. Orphaned as a child, Gwynplaine is punished by the king for his father’s transgressions by having his face carved into a hideous grin. Disfigured and alone, Gwynplaine rescues a blind girl named Dea (Mary Philbin), and both end up starring in a sideshow where they fall in love. Because she cannot see, Dea does not know about her lover’s tormented grin.

The Man Who Laughs marks Leni’s penultimate work. Having grown up in Germany during the era of Expressionism, Leni embraces haunting characters, twisted sets, harsh angles, and deep shadows. Heralded as one of the best American silents emulating German Expressionism, The Man Who Laughs presents Leni at his creative directorial peak.

Originally released silent, the film was enough of a hit for Universal in 1928 that the studio released it with a synched musical score using the Movietone sound-on-film process, presented here as a secondary audio track.

Special Features Include:

Paul Leni and The Man Who Laughs - A visual essay by film historian and author, John Soister

Celebrating Universal’s Masterpiece - A booklet essay by film historian and author, Kevin Brownlow.

Notes On the New Score - A short essay by composer Sonia Coronado from Berklee Silent Film Orchestra

Optional Secondary Audio Track - The film’s original 1928 Movietone score

Rare Image Gallery - A slide show of vintage marketing materials, trade ads, memorabilia, and more.