Laugh, Clown, Laugh

  • 1928
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, Romance

Another perverse Lon Chaney circus vehicle, adapted from the play Laugh, Clown, Laugh! by David Belasco and Tom Cushing. A young girl named is adopted by Tito (Chaney), a melancholy circus clown who performs under the name Flit. He names the child Simonetta, and she matures into a beautiful young woman (Loretta Young). Tito falls in love with her but keeps...read more

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Another perverse Lon Chaney circus vehicle, adapted from the play Laugh, Clown, Laugh! by David Belasco and Tom Cushing. A young girl named is adopted by Tito (Chaney), a melancholy circus clown who performs under the name Flit. He names the child Simonetta, and she matures into a

beautiful young woman (Loretta Young). Tito falls in love with her but keeps his unfatherly affections a secret. Nobleman Luigi (Nils Asther) is taken with Simonetta's beauty, but the girl learns of Tito's feelings and declares that she loves him, presumably driven by gratitude and a sense of

indebtedness to the man who saved her from an orphan's life. Tito, unconvinced that she really reciprocates his romantic affections, deliberately falls during a familiar tightrope routine and is killed, freeing Simonetta to pursue a more appropriate relationship with Luigi. Like THE UNKNOWN, in

which Chaney's character has his arms amputated to please a young woman with a morbid fear of being touched, this film is driven by a hugely disturbing erotic impulse of which contemporary reviewers made note. Variety's critic observed that Chaney "has the situation in hand and carries through

some passages that call for dainty treatment and nice judgment." The film was shot with two endings: In the happy version, Tito is not killed when he falls from the tightrope, and he gives his blessing to Simonetta and Luigi's marriage. LAUGH, CLOWN, LAUGH was one of Loretta Young's first films:

She was only 14 when it was made.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Another perverse Lon Chaney circus vehicle, adapted from the play Laugh, Clown, Laugh! by David Belasco and Tom Cushing. A young girl named is adopted by Tito (Chaney), a melancholy circus clown who performs under the name Flit. He names the child Simonett… (more)

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