domingo, 5 de julio de 2009

Laugh, Clown, Laugh

I’m not much of a crier while watching movies, but this one finally did it for me. One of the best silent films I’ve ever seen, it deals with a comedy duo, Tito and Simon, travelling across Italy. Tito (played by the great Lon Chaney) finds a wayward child, and decides to adopt her, something Simon isn’t exactly pleased with. Now named Simonetta, the child grows into a beautiful Loretta Young, who I heard was 14 during filming (damn, still underage!), and Tito falls madly in love with her. Unable to stop crying, he meets an aristocrat (who Tito doesn’t know has already met Simonetta) who can’t stop laughing because of the great life he’s led. Agreeing to help each other, it soon goes haywire when both are in love with Simonetta, which means happiness for the aristocrat, and doom for Tito. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this film, liking it more than most Chaney films (my favorite is still The Unknown). His performance drives the movie, like most of his films, making you feel his pain like a knife in the stomach, and his false smiles and false laughter piercing you like a lightning bolt. The 2002 score and remastering makes it even better. There is a scene however, that’s sorta distracting from the film, where you can see a cheap effect toward the end when Chaney performs his death-defying stunt. It seems his head turns into a paint can, suddenly. Anyway I’ll forgive it because everything else in the movie is so damn good. If you don’t cry in the ending, you’re fucking dead inside!

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