Saturday, September 18, 2010

Laugh Clown Laugh (1928)

Once again Lon Chaney will die for love and to me this is his most emotional role. The movie might be titled Laugh, Clown Laugh but this is one sad, sad clown. Lon Chaney plays a clown named Tito who is secretly in love with Simonetta played by Loetta Young. He struggles within himself to find a way to tell Simonetta how he feels about her. He finds it morally wrong to have these feelings because he raised Simonetta since she was a young child when he found her abandoned as a small child. Tito's best friend Count Luigi shares the same feelings for Simonetta. Its no wonder why everyone is in love with this woman. Loretta Young is beautiful in this film. The strange thing is how sexually charged this film is. The censorship was so strict in America in the 20's that in some states film makers were not even allowed to show any skin at all on a woman's leg. In this film the camera lingers on very sexual scenes. Like kissing a woman's bare foot or caressing bare legs and there is scenes where men's hands almost are touching women's breasts. Of course this all seems very tame by todays standards but back in the 20's this kind of thing just wasn't shown. Anyway, back to the story. Tito and Count Luigi both try to win Simonetta's heart and the audience knows that she loves Tito (Chaney) but Tito is unwilling to cope with his moral hangups. Chaney gives a heart wrenching performance before he finally kills himself in the end. Many people say that the clown makeup is very unsettling and that the character Tito is kind of scary. I however do not share this opinion. At times the makeup can look kind of creepy but for me Lon Chaney portrayed his character as the saddest clown in the world and for an actor to be able to pull that off through all the makeup is incredible. Laugh, Clown Laugh is probably my favorite Chaney film I have seen to date. Its a must see for anyone who is into cinema in general.

No comments:

Post a Comment