The Man Who Laughs (1928) – Ten years ago, I was bored. I’m still fairly bored with a lot of things, but that’s beside the point. Ten years ago, I heard it was Ash Wednesday, and knew of certain people who gave things up for Lent as some sort of temporary virtue. I decided to do something temporary myself, to prove I could, just as any filthy Catholic. But rather than give something up, I took on watching movies. Now, as I begin my eleventh year of this nonsense, I see that I can never stop, and this will continue into my final years. I hope this brings someone pleasure besides just myself.
Back in the day, I forget when, exactly, I watched The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I criticized George Sanders for holding a completely immobile face in some odd, vain attempt to convey the unchanging aspect of the title character at the expense of any emotional meaning behind his actions or words being communicated to the audience. In The Man Who Laughs, Conrad Veidt makes George Sanders look like an absolute amateur. Although he maintains a grotesque smile for the entire duration of his screen time, he manages to show us a character with a full range of emotions. Go to hell, George Sanders.