Saturday, 2 July 2011

Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)

Laugh, Clown, Laugh is a silent movie from 1928 starring Lon Chaney, Loretta Young and Nils Asther.

IMDb: As professional clowns Tito and Simon are traveling, they happen upon an abandoned child, whom they take in and name Simonetta. When Simonetta is older, she becomes a circus performer herself. One day she is looking for roses, and climbs into the garden of Count Luigi Ravelli. The count becomes infatuated with her, but she leaves as soon as possible. 
Sometime later, Ravelli consults a doctor about his fits of uncontrollable laughter, and there he meets Tito, who has come to seek help for his fits of uncontrollable weeping. The two decide to help each other, and they establish a friendship, but problems arise when they realize that they are both in love with Simonetta.

scenes with Nils Asther from the film

Count Luigi Ravelli (Asther) spies someone in his rose garden.
It's lovely Simonetta (Loretta Young), and the Count lifts her from the fence.
He has rather busy hands.
He wraps his handkerchief round Simonetta's cut.
Then he tries to place a rose somewhere a gentleman has no business being.
But Simonetta keeps him out of her nubbies and holds the bloom instead.
The Count takes her to his house, and straight to his bedroom.
He lifts her onto the bed. Some astonishingly blatant groping goes on here.
For something really quite chaste, this is 
one of the most sexually charged things I've ever seen.
For those into feet, this scene will make you happy.

"What a lovely child of nature you are! What an alluring woman you could be!" 
They are interrupted.
"Send that peasant away!" 
 The lady spits hellfire. The Count rushes to soothe. 
Simonetta is shocked at the situation and escapes out a window.
With the competition gone, the lady lets herself be pushed her out the door.
But the lovely Simonetta has gone. The Count begins to laugh compulsively.

* the years pass *

The Count seeks out help because of his uncontrollable giggling.
At the doctor he meets Tito, Simonetta's adopted father, who keeps crying.
The doctor suggests to Count Luigi that he will be cured if he falls in love.
Then the doctor says the same to Tito... I get the feeling it's his fallback diagnosis.

Luigi and Tito talk together on the balcony.
"You mean, you can't help laughing  -"
" - any more than I can help crying?"
Hey, whatever works.

Simonetta arrives. She is advised to help Tito be more social for his condition. Tito insists the three of them leave the doctor's arm in arm together. 
They spend time together and go for a carriage drive.
But then Tito discovers the Count has given Simonetta some expensive pearls. 
He accuses him of having improper designs.
The count shows Tito a proposal of marriage included with the necklace.
Flik nobly gives the Count his blessing, 
even though he loves Simonetta himself.
Simonetta still believes the Count is trifling after her past experience.
After he proposes she realises he is serious, and consents. Tito is heartbroken.
Count Luigi and Simonetta spend time together.
"Oh Luigi, I could be so happy, if only Tito were not  - alone. 
Can't we have him near us? He seems so helpless - ."
"Of course, dear. We need him too. He seems almost part of us."

that's the end of the scenes with Nils Asther

also, check out these blog entries about Laugh, Clown, Laugh:

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