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Vintage original 27 x 38 in. (70 x 98 cm.) Swedish stone lithograph poster for the classic 1920's circus-themed silent film drama, LAUGH, CLOWN, LAUGH, released in 1928 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and directed by Herbert Brenon.


Printed for the film's original theatrical release in Sweden under the title Skratta Pajazzo, the striking stone lithograph artwork was designed by Eric Rohman, whose posters are very admired by collectors. Its circus theme, bright colors, and Art Deco presentation are dominated by a huge image of Lon Chaney in costume as "Tito" as he performs in the bigtop while musical notes flow from a trombone. Professionally linen-backed, it is in fine+ condition with very minor restoration along portions of the fold lines.


*"Laugh, Clown, Laugh is a 1928 American silent drama film starring Lon Chaney and Loretta Young (her film debut). The movie was directed by Herbert Brenon and produced by Irving G. Thalberg for MGM Pictures. The film was written by Elizabeth Meehan, based on the 1923 Broadway stage production Laugh, Clown, Laugh, by David Belasco and Tom Cushing, which in turn was based on a 1919 play Ridi, Pagliaccio by Fausto Maria Martini [it]. The theme song "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" was composed by Ted Fiorito (music) and Lewis and Young (lyrics).


MGM was thinking of offering Chaney this film in 1925, but delayed production for several years, because Chaney had already appeared as a clown in the 1924 film He Who Gets Slapped and due to speculation that Lionel Barrymore might wish to reprise his role from the stage production. Instead MGM would pair Barrymore with Chaney in West of Zanzibar. Stills exist that show Chaney in his clown make-up. The sets were designed by Cedric Gibbons.


The film was in production from December 19, 1927, to February 2, 1928, and cost $293,000 to make. The worldwide box office gross was $1,102,000."Laugh, Clown, Laugh" is readily available today on DVD. The existing print, however, is not 100% complete; it is missing reel #4, but the missing footage does not severely impact the story. An alternate happy ending wherein Tito survives his fall, Simonetta marries Luigi, and they all remain close friends, was shot at the studio's insistence in case some studios preferred that ending, but the footage no longer exists.


As a trouping comic stage actor in his youth, Chaney would have been acquainted with clown performers of lesser-known fame. In preparation for this film and He Who Gets Slapped Chaney also studied the clown makeup of circus performers and legendary 19th-century clown stage actors like Joseph Grimaldi and George L. Fox, the latter of Humpty Dumpty fame. The film was said to have been Chaney's favorite of all his roles. This film was Loretta Young's first major movie role, at the age of fourteen. In interviews near the end of her life, she expressed her gratitude toward Chaney for his kindness and guidance, and for protecting her from director Brenon's sometimes harsh treatment"
*(source: Wikipedia)


*"A professional clown and a self-indulgent count learn to help each other with their problems, but then become romantic rivals."
*(source: IMDb)



LAUGH, CLOWN, LAUGH (1928) Swedish Poster

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