Freaks | Chicago Reader

Freaks

Rated NR 64 minutes 1932

If the heart of the horror movie is the annihilating Other, the Other has never appeared with more vividness, teasing sympathy, and terror than in this 1932 film by Tod Browning. Browning flirts with compassion for the sad, deformed creatures of his sideshow—most played by genuine freaks from the Ringling Brothers circus—but ultimately finds horror and revulsion as the outsiders take their climactic revenge. A happy ending, shot by Browning but deleted when the film was rereleased, resurfaced after many years: it shows the midget couple reunited under the condescending gaze of the “normal” friends, firmly reestablishing the complacent sense of “separateness” the body of the film has worked so hard to undermine. With Leila Hyams, Wallace Ford, and Harry and Daisy Earles.

Film Credits

Director: Tod Browning

Writer: Al Boasberg, Willis Goldbeck, Leon Gordon and Edgar Woolf

Producer: Tod Browning, Dwain Esper, Hildegarde Stadie and Irving Thalberg

Cast: Wallace Ford, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams, Roscoe Ates, Harry Earles, Henry Victor, Daisy Earles, Rose Dione, Edward Brophy, Matt McHugh, Olga Roderick and Johnny Eck

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