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He Who Gets Slapped
     

He Who Gets Slapped

Director: Victor Sjöström,

Cast: Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert

 
This compelling and exceptionally well-executed silent drama, from new MGM studio executives Irving Thalburg and producer Louis B. Mayer is based on a highly-regarded Russian play and features the studio's biggest stars, Lon Chaney, John Gilbert and Norma Shearer. Directed by noted Swedish filmmmaker Victor Sjostrom, it is the story of a scientific genius who is

Overview

This compelling and exceptionally well-executed silent drama, from new MGM studio executives Irving Thalburg and producer Louis B. Mayer is based on a highly-regarded Russian play and features the studio's biggest stars, Lon Chaney, John Gilbert and Norma Shearer. Directed by noted Swedish filmmmaker Victor Sjostrom, it is the story of a scientific genius who is humiliated by his philandering wife and a major career set-back. To express his pain, bitterness and anger he becomes a circus clown who seems to enjoy the frequently cruel slapstick antics of his new colleagues. While in the circus, he finds a chance at renewal when he falls for a lovely bareback rider. But will he at last find happiness? Or will tragedy continue to be his closest companion?

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
Chosen to inaugurate the new production combine of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, He Who Gets Slapped, from Leonid Andreyev's 1921 Russian play, went on to gross $881,000 in its initial run and only added to Lon Chaney's stature as Hollywood's foremost character actor. Chaney played Paul Beaumont, a happily married scientist on the verge of a great breakthrough. But when his big moment arrives, both Paul's discovery and his wife (Ruth King) are cruelly stolen by the man Beaumont considered his benefactor, Baron Regnard (Marc MacDermott). The latter takes credit for Beaumont's breakthrough before the entire scientific community and when Paul loudly protests, he is publicly humiliated by a slap in the face. Taking the consequences of the resulting laughter, Paul leaves science behind to become a circus clown known only as "He Who Gets Slapped." Soon, he is the show's biggest drawing-card, provoking laughter by letting himself be slapped by a coterie of fellow clowns in response to such declarations as "Gentlemen, the Earth is round!" But when he discovers that the dissipated Count Mancini is literally selling his daughter Consuelo, the circus bareback rider (Norma Shearer), to none other than Baron Regnard, the former scientist contrives a terrible revenge. Chaney's Pagliacci-like clown earned well-deserved accolades from contemporary reviewers and his performance remains the film's centerpiece. But He Who gets Slapped also belongs to veteran character actor Marc MacDermott, whose chilly baron emerges as the film's second tour-de-force. Next to Chaney and MacDermott, Norma Shearer and John Gilbert, as the romantic ingenues, are merely routine. For his role as the suffering clown, Chaney was coached by George Davisand Swedish artist Erik Stocklassa, both of whom appear in the film along with such veteran Hollywood clowns as Ford Sterling and Clyde Cook. Directing his second American film, Swede Victor Seastrom was so taken with Chaney's performance that he got entirely carried away and publicly lauded him as "the finest actor in the history of films and the stage."

Product Details

Release Date:
10/26/2010
UPC:
0883316289815
Original Release:
1924
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:25:00
Sales rank:
14,642

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lon Chaney He Who Gets Slapped
Norma Shearer Consuelo
John Gilbert Bezano
Tully Marshall Count Mancini
Ford Sterling Tricaud
Clyde Cook Clown
Paulette Duval Zinida
Ruth King Beaumont's Wife
Brandon Hurst Clown
George Davis A Clown
Harvey Clark Actor
Marc MacDermott Baron Regnard
Bartine Burkett Actor

Technical Credits
Victor Sjöström Director,Screenwriter
Cedric Gibbons Set Decoration/Design
Louis B. Mayer Producer
Milton Moore Cinematographer
Sophie Wachner Costumes/Costume Designer
Carey Wilson Screenwriter
Hugh Wynn Editor

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