I am Colin, a classic literature nut, general bibliophile, fiend for classic films, and introvert extraordinaire.

The story of The Man Who Laughs/ L'homme qui rit is also near-and-dear to me and the blog has become somewhat of a fandom space for it (although there doesn't seem to be many of us, sadly). I will occasionally post personal things too.

Feel free to message me and check out my blogspot site (link below) where I post longer musings and lengthy analyses on various topics.

 

My idea of rich is that you can buy every book you ever want without looking at the price and you’re never around assholes. That’s the two things to really fight for in life.

John Waters  (via detailsdetales)

The second one is why I’ve been busting my ass all summer getting this house ready to put on the market….

(via dinajames)

(Source: marion--crane)

"You are very obliging," answered Beauty, "I own I am pleased with your kindness, and when I consider that, your deformity scarce appears."

"Yes, yes," said the Beast, "my heart is good, but still I am a monster."

"Among mankind," says Beauty, "there are many that deserve that name more than you, and I prefer you, just as you are, to those, who, under a human form, hide a treacherous, corrupt, and ungrateful heart."

"If I had sense enough," replied the Beast, "I would make a fine compliment to thank you, but I am so dull, that I can only say, I am greatly obliged to you."

the-guy-who-laughs:

stupidsexywintersoldier said: 

Certainly better than the makeup in Lhomme qui Ritnot as good as Jack Pierce’s design thoughgranted this one could be labeled the man who smirksi have strong feelings for how the makeup is done in films with my favorite literary characters,especially Erik and GwynplaineNot to mention the Creature from Frankenstein


I know I said “don’t get me started,” but I thought about it so I’m started already, and it’s already been an emo-day, so I may as well go-for-broke. I just hope you don’t mind having this conversation. And anyone who wants to join in, feel free. 
________________________

I posted this morning on Clair de Lune with images of the makeup used for John Barrymore, which, I think all of us agreed, looked really good (for at least the one half of his face on which it was applied). Since there is no way to see how well it moved or how little it impaired his performance, those few visuals are all we have to go on. And this brings up the issue of visual representations through various media and venues.

First, when it comes to storytelling, there are two aspects that need to be present in Gwynplaine’s appearance: The Horrific and The Absurd. Both vary from incarnation to incarnation. But there is another unrecognized element that is imperative to keep in mind: Realism, both in Appearance and Functionality.

Second, I think it’s important to realize that stage makeup is going to be much different than movie makeup as the stage is usually at a distance from its audience and only needs to look good at that distance. It will likely be bigger, brighter, and less realistic up close. Film on the other hand will get much closer and much more intimate with the performers and the makeup has to be a great deal more believable, even at the price of vision, because the demands are greater.

Looking therefore at film, I don’t think anyone will argue that the Jack Pierce design is incredible. It captures Hugo’s vision better than any incarnation I have seen (save for perhaps graphically, although even that is highly debatable), a successful mix of the pitiable and the horrific, and visually it reads beautifully. But it has one serious flaw with it: Conrad Veidt could not speak while wearing the prosthetic/denture set. Fortunately, that film was a silent, so speaking was not a great barrier to great makeup. Horrific? Yes. Absurd? Yes. Realistic in Appearance? Yes. Functional? No.
image


Heading into the post-silent film world, there are other examples of grimaces in makeup. Mr. Sardonicus (1961) has a character that sports a Gwynplaine-like grimace, but this affect is achieved through, what has been described in articles pertaining to the production as, a mask that enabled Guy Rolfe to speak behind it, but while the visual implications are well-driven home upon the audience, it doesn’t move. It doesn’t look real. From the perspective of a twenty-first century audience, it just doesn’t hold up. Horrific? Yes. Absurd? Yes. Realistic in Appearance? No. Functional? No.
image


Then there’s L’uomo che ride (which I haven’t seen yet, but of which I have seen visuals) and it appears to also utilize dentures. This however does not impress upon me the existence of a frozen grimace. It is less about the mouth in this instance than it is about really gnarly teeth that happen to protrude out of the mouth giving it that lifted and twisted appearance. It doesn’t look functional, realistic, or the least bit in keeping with the Hugo visual. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see a smile or laugh there at all. Horrific? Yes. Absurd? No. Realistic in Appearance? No. Functional? No.
image

Then we have
L’homme qui rit (1971). For much of the time, it looks like the same denture treatment. Sometimes it looks like he can’t speak at all and other times he can which makes me wonder if they dubbed over many of the scenes due to the difficulty of the makeup (no idea though, so if you know, let me know?). Sometimes it looks really good and at others not so much, and I can’t even say that the less-realistic times fit within narrative flow (ie, Ursus’ performances). Horrific? Yes. Absurd? Maybe. Realistic in Appearance? Sometimes, some scenes much more than others. Functional? No.

image


And then we’re at L’homme qui rit (2012). I have read a lot of criticism over the makeup. I can understand it. If the character is supposed to be horrific, then he should be horrific. Frankenstein’s Creature? Phantom of the Opera? The uglier and more grotesque the better. But in this case, I wasn’t upset about it which, considering how passionate I am on the story, may seem unusual. But here’s why: the movie makes a great big show out of absurdity, of looking absurd, of being absurd, of being perceived as absurd. If you don’t believe me, look at the depiction of the courtiers, for they looked more like clowns than the clowns did. And while some may disagree, having a big smile carved into your face is absurd, especially when painted to be more noticeable, as happens more often than not during the movie. Ugliness is just a side-dish that doesn’t really belong in this film’s world, because what’s really ugly is the poverty and the way people use one another. And moreover, the makeup, understated though it is, is entirely functional and moved very well. It’s not a Hugo vision or a Pierce masterpiece, but it worked for what it set out to do. Horrific? No. Absurd? Yes. Realistic in Appearance? Yes. Functional? Yes.
image

exguyparis:

Zizi Jeanmaire (Roxanne) and Roland Petit (Cyrano) in Cyrano de Bergerac as produced by Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit in Paris in 1959 at the Alhambra Theatre. Photo by Serge Lido.

exguyparis:

Zizi Jeanmaire (Roxanne) and Roland Petit (Cyrano) in Cyrano de Bergerac as produced by Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit in Paris in 1959 at the Alhambra Theatre. Photo by Serge Lido.

saturdaynightmovie:

Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hillier, Freddie Jones, Phoebe Nicholls, Dexter Fletcher 

the-guy-who-laughs:

Clair de Lune (the Broadway play version of The Man Who Laughs), 1921

This play was performed at the (now demolished) Empire Theater in April and May 1921 for a grand total of 64 performances. Notably, it starred John Barrymore (as Gwynplaine, or for this version, “Gwymplane”) and Ethel Barrymore (as Her Royal Majesty, The Queen) and was written by Michael Strange, pen name for “Mrs. John Barrymore.” According to an article in Arts & Decoration Vol 15-16 (May, 1921), the show was “appalling rubbish.”  

Whoever designed the makeup needed a good smack upside the head though since, as you can see, it’s only evident on one side of his face which kind of negates the whole “laugh” bit, no? The article from Arts & Decoration continues: “The Gwymplane shown us by John Barrymore was less grotesque than Victor Hugo’s clown. He had been thoughtfully toned down to spare our feelings. The comprachicos had not left him hideous. This kills the value of the plot and characters. And when the sadic Duchess sighs for Gwymplane, we are not horrified by her perversity. Poor Gwymplane, at his worst, is not so bad. We only stare at Josephine and ask: ‘Why not?’” 

In Current Opinion Vol 71 (1921), there is a synopsis with excerpts of the script for our reading pleasure, and let me assure you, having read it, it is no pleasure. I am completely inclined to believe that this production was a painful travesty to watch, although I confess that if bootlegs of it existed, I would still watch it.

If you would like to read the play in its entirety, you are in luck. You can find it HERE

Image and Information Sources: 
X, X, X, X

soyouthinkmyeyesarefine asked
You are Squirrelismus' legendary sidekick, JELLYFISH KID, who dons his mighty Jellyfish costume to help Lenore fight crime across America. NO ONE IS SAFE FROM YOU - people may think you simply have a passing interest in architectures but really you have memorised the interior of every building in the country. THERE IS NO WHERE TO HIDE WHEN JELLYFISH KID IS ON THE TRAIL!

I choked, I laughed so hard. And then Dea wanted to know what I was laughing about, so I had to tell her that I read a really funny synopsis (about a movie called Jellyfish Kid, I pray she doesn’t look it up later). That would, um, definitely add adventure to my life. 

operafantomet:

Photos from Det Ny Teater’s original “Beauty and the Beast” production (2005). It was the first non-replica production of the musical. The design was by Terry Parsons. 

BEAST: Kristian Boland
BELLE: Mia Karlsson (I mourn I didn’t get to see her play Belle)
LUMIERE: Preben Kristensen
COGSWORTH: Jesper Asholt 
MRS. POTTS: Kirsten Siggard 
GASTON: Daniel Hällström 
BABETTE: Malin Landing  
LEFOU: Peter Pilegaard 
MONSIEUR D’ARQUE: Tomas Ambt Kofod 
MRS. WARDROBE: Ulla Sell

http://www.detnyteater.dk/beauty-and-the-beast/billeder/

Anonymous asked
You are the most eloquent person I've seen in my life wow

soyouthinkmyeyesarefine:

the-guy-who-laughs:

the-guy-who-laughs:

Thank you, dear anon. It is something I work at and to know that you think I am is extremely gratifying. 

Agreed with anon. I’m thoroughly impressed with how well-written every single one of your replies and posts are.

I really appreciate that, Elf. Thank you. It’s very kind of you to say.

You speak so well, especially when you’re passionate about something

Thank you, Natasha.

Anonymous asked
You are the most eloquent person I've seen in my life wow

the-guy-who-laughs:

Thank you, dear anon. It is something I work at and to know that you think I am is extremely gratifying. 

Agreed with anon. I’m thoroughly impressed with how well-written every single one of your replies and posts are.


I really appreciate that, Elf. Thank you. It’s very kind of you to say.

Anonymous asked
You are the most eloquent person I've seen in my life wow

Thank you, dear anon. It is something I work at and to know that you think I am is extremely gratifying. 

stupidsexywintersoldier said: 

Certainly better than the makeup in Lhomme qui Ritnot as good as Jack Pierce’s design thoughgranted this one could be labeled the man who smirksi have strong feelings for how the makeup is done in films with my favorite literary characters,especially Erik and GwynplaineNot to mention the Creature from Frankenstein


I know I said “don’t get me started,” but I thought about it so I’m started already, and it’s already been an emo-day, so I may as well go-for-broke. I just hope you don’t mind having this conversation. And anyone who wants to join in, feel free. 
________________________

I posted this morning on Clair de Lune with images of the makeup used for John Barrymore, which, I think all of us agreed, looked really good (for at least the one half of his face on which it was applied). Since there is no way to see how well it moved or how little it impaired his performance, those few visuals are all we have to go on. And this brings up the issue of visual representations through various media and venues.

First, when it comes to storytelling, there are two aspects that need to be present in Gwynplaine’s appearance: The Horrific and The Absurd. Both vary from incarnation to incarnation. But there is another unrecognized element that is imperative to keep in mind: Realism, both in Appearance and Functionality.

Second, I think it’s important to realize that stage makeup is going to be much different than movie makeup as the stage is usually at a distance from its audience and only needs to look good at that distance. It will likely be bigger, brighter, and less realistic up close. Film on the other hand will get much closer and much more intimate with the performers and the makeup has to be a great deal more believable, even at the price of vision, because the demands are greater.

Looking therefore at film, I don’t think anyone will argue that the Jack Pierce design is incredible. It captures Hugo’s vision better than any incarnation I have seen (save for perhaps graphically, although even that is highly debatable), a successful mix of the pitiable and the horrific, and visually it reads beautifully. But it has one serious flaw with it: Conrad Veidt could not speak while wearing the prosthetic/denture set. Fortunately, that film was a silent, so speaking was not a great barrier to great makeup. Horrific? Yes. Absurd? Yes. Realistic in Appearance? Yes. Functional? No.
image


Heading into the post-silent film world, there are other examples of grimaces in makeup. Mr. Sardonicus (1961) has a character that sports a Gwynplaine-like grimace, but this affect is achieved through, what has been described in articles pertaining to the production as, a mask that enabled Guy Rolfe to speak behind it, but while the visual implications are well-driven home upon the audience, it doesn’t move. It doesn’t look real. From the perspective of a twenty-first century audience, it just doesn’t hold up. Horrific? Yes. Absurd? Yes. Realistic in Appearance? No. Functional? No.
image


Then there’s L’uomo che ride (which I haven’t seen yet, but of which I have seen visuals) and it appears to also utilize dentures. This however does not impress upon me the existence of a frozen grimace. It is less about the mouth in this instance than it is about really gnarly teeth that happen to protrude out of the mouth giving it that lifted and twisted appearance. It doesn’t look functional, realistic, or the least bit in keeping with the Hugo visual. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see a smile or laugh there at all. Horrific? Yes. Absurd? No. Realistic in Appearance? No. Functional? No.
image

Then we have
L’homme qui rit (1971). For much of the time, it looks like the same denture treatment. Sometimes it looks like he can’t speak at all and other times he can which makes me wonder if they dubbed over many of the scenes due to the difficulty of the makeup (no idea though, so if you know, let me know?). Sometimes it looks really good and at others not so much, and I can’t even say that the less-realistic times fit within narrative flow (ie, Ursus’ performances). Horrific? Yes. Absurd? Maybe. Realistic in Appearance? Sometimes, some scenes much more than others. Functional? No.

image


And then we’re at L’homme qui rit (2012). I have read a lot of criticism over the makeup. I can understand it. If the character is supposed to be horrific, then he should be horrific. Frankenstein’s Creature? Phantom of the Opera? The uglier and more grotesque the better. But in this case, I wasn’t upset about it which, considering how passionate I am on the story, may seem unusual. But here’s why: the movie makes a great big show out of absurdity, of looking absurd, of being absurd, of being perceived as absurd. If you don’t believe me, look at the depiction of the courtiers, for they looked more like clowns than the clowns did. And while some may disagree, having a big smile carved into your face is absurd, especially when painted to be more noticeable, as happens more often than not during the movie. Ugliness is just a side-dish that doesn’t really belong in this film’s world, because what’s really ugly is the poverty and the way people use one another. And moreover, the makeup, understated though it is, is entirely functional and moved very well. It’s not a Hugo vision or a Pierce masterpiece, but it worked for what it set out to do. Horrific? No. Absurd? Yes. Realistic in Appearance? Yes. Functional? Yes.
image

inlinearline:

                                     ”Were you always like this?”
I had this kind of horror AU in mind where instead of being born deformed, Erik’s mother was the one who gave him the deformity over time. You know, maybe he stole somethng from the study and she found out about it, and the next night she acts extremely sweet so he won’t expect the punishment. It might just be me, but I felt like it fit well into the gothic horror aspect of the setting. Idk more posts to come, feel free to use the idea

inlinearline:

                                     ”Were you always like this?”

I had this kind of horror AU in mind where instead of being born deformed, Erik’s mother was the one who gave him the deformity over time. You know, maybe he stole somethng from the study and she found out about it, and the next night she acts extremely sweet so he won’t expect the punishment. It might just be me, but I felt like it fit well into the gothic horror aspect of the setting. Idk more posts to come, feel free to use the idea

elf-in-mirror:

…for who could ever learn to love a beast..?

——

Concept art for Erik and Christine from the Phantom of the Opera. Sorry, I know I’ve posted both of these before, at least in black and white. Bear with me - I’m still trying to work out a final design.

Brushes by keepwaiting.