2 April 2012 | Michael_Elliott
The Man Who Laughs - Italian Style
The Man Who Laughs (1966)
** (out of 4)
This remake of the 1928 silent film isn't anywhere near a good movie but I think fans of that original might find themselves entertained by this thing simply by seeing the changes made in the story. This time the story takes place during the Renaissance in Italy as the deformed Angelo (Jean Sorel) strikes revenge when he thinks the woman that he loves has been killed. That's pretty much all the "story" you need to know as it is rather light and often times seems to be made up as the thing moves along. The original version is a true classic but this remake isn't a horrible movie but instead just an interesting misfire. I think this could have made for an interesting picture as the Victor Hugo story itself is so strong that it could support changing in for various times in history. The problem is that director Sergio Corbucci doesn't have the budget or the screenplay to pull it off. The biggest problem is that it seems every scene is just going for a quick thrill and there's never any real time to build up a story or the characters. Just take a look at a scene where Angelo gets to roll around in the hay with a beautiful woman. The entire scene just feels rushed and there for no real reason other than to give 1966 eyes a sex scene. There are actually some good moments to be found including the action scenes, which I thought were directed quite nicely and they contained a good amount of energy. Another plus was the cinematography, which I found quite good and the color certainly got to show off the red hair of Sorel. Speaking of Sorel, he's fairly good in the part considering he isn't given much of a story to work with. The supporting cast doesn't do much to help either. The special effects of the deformed mouth isn't nearly as impressive. There were quite a few changes from the original make up that simply don't work but this is probably due to the limited budget more than anything else. In the end, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS isn't as bad as its reputation but it's mildly interesting to see how it was changed in order to fit Italy in 1966.