Laughter in the Dark

We received our copies of THE MAN WHO LAUGHS and BUSTER KEATON 3 FILMS (VOL 3) from Masters of Cinema.

Fiona and I wrote a video essay for the former, and I did the latter with an excellent assist from Miranda Gower-Qian. Stephen C. Horne edited both, brilliantly — since we were on full lockdown, this had to be done remotely but with a little back-and-forth of uploaded edits, this was managed smoothly.

MAN WHO was a particularly ambitious job — we enlisted actor friends Steven McNicoll and Fran Dymond to perform extracts from the Victor Hugo source novel and interviews with the principal filmmakers — Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin, Olga Baclanova, Paul Leni…

Both pieces are around half an hour rather than the usual twenty minutes we’re generally paid for — ideally, we want to make video essays that are proper little films… it’s been a slow process of chiseling at the outlines of the video essay, expanding it outwards…

Buy them at the links below, support Shadowplay!

The Man Who Laughs (Masters of Cinema) Blu-ray [2020]
Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Volume 3) (Our Hospitality, Go West, College) (Masters of Cinema) Limited Edition Blu-ray Boxed Set [2020]

6 Responses to “Laughter in the Dark”

  1. My copy threaded its way through Trumpist obstructions like the Enterprise through a quantum mine field and was delivered to the door yesterday by a masked Postal Hero! I haven’t opened it yet — hoping that one of the extras is a vote.

  2. That ad is going into my desktop/screensaver collection.

    Recently watched the Milestone “Phantom of the Opera”. The commentary mentioned that “The Man Who Laughs” was intended as another Lon Chaney vehicle, but Chaney’s unhappiness with the director of “Phantom” caused him to walk.

  3. Yay!

    Yes, Chaney jumped ship to MGM. He was supposed to play Gwynplaine and his mentor, Ursus.

  4. Lovely essay! I was especially struck by Fiona’s comments on Veidt’s strange hand position when he’s hiding his mouth in one scene. I’ve always found it quite striking.

  5. Oh, and Flicker Alley just announced a release of the new Waxworks restoration. Masters of Cinema to follow? The black comedy Ivan section features one of my favorite silent Connie performances. Really funny — and the precision of it.

  6. Thanks! I think a Masters release is likely.

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