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Freaks (1932)

Can a full grown woman truly love a MIDGET ?

Original Title : Freaks
Director : Tod Browning
Writer : Al Boasberg
Willis Goldbeck
Leon Gordon
Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins
Edgar Allan Woolf
Genre : Drama
Horror
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Tod Browning , Dwain Esper , Hildegarde Stadie , Irving Thalberg
Photography : Merritt B. Gerstad
IMDB ID : 0022913
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poster for "Freaks" by Tod Browning (1932)
Freaks (1932) - Tod Browning
 

Starring

Wallace Ford Phroso
Leila Hyams Venus
Olga Baclanova Cleopatra
Roscoe Ates Roscoe (as Rosco Ates
Henry Victor Hercules
Harry Earles Hans
Daisy Earles Frieda
Rose Dione Madame Tetrallini
Daisy Hilton Siamese Twin
Violet Hilton Siamese Twin
Schlitze Himself
Josephine Joseph Half-Woman, Half Man
Johnny Eck Half Boy
Frances O'Connor Armless Girl
Peter Robinson Human Skeleton
Olga Roderick Bearded Lady
Koo Koo Herself
Radian The Living Torso
Martha Morris Armless Girl
Elvira Snow Pinhead (as Zip
Jenny Lee Snow Pinhead (as Pip
Elizabeth Green Bird Girl
Angelo Rossitto Angeleno
Edward Brophy Rollo Brother
Matt McHugh Rollo Brother (as Mat McHugh
Ernie Adams Sideshow patron (uncredited
Louise Beavers Maid (uncredited
Sidney Bracey Hans' Butler (uncredited
Albert Conti Landowner (uncredited
Murray Kinnell Freakshow Barker (uncredited
Tom London (uncredited
Michael Visaroff Jean the Caretaker (uncredited
 

Plot

A carnival barker displays a sideshow freak called the Feathered Hen and tells her story. Cleopatra, a trapeze artist with the carnival, is adored by a midget named Hans. Frieda, Hans' fiancée (also a midget), warns Hans that Cleopatra is only interested in him so that he will give her money. Cleopatra has an affair with Hercules, and when Frieda lets it slip that Hans is to come into an inheritance, Cleopatra and Hercules plan to get the money be having Cleopatra marry Hans. During the wedding reception, Cleopatra, although openly romantic with Hercules, is accepted by the freaks, but is revolted and mocks them. The freaks decide that they no longer need Hercules in their carnival and have a new career for Cleopatra all lined up, and make sure she doesn't "chicken" out.
 

Comments

A one of a kind SPOILERS AHEAD In a traveling circus a midget Hans (Henry Earles) is in love with a trapezze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova).She desn't take him seriously and teases him while seeing the strong man Hercules (Henry Victor) on the side.The she discovers Hans is set to inherit a fortune.She and Hercules decide she'll marry Hans, poison him and get the money.All the other freaks find out and, on a dark and stormy night, extract a terrible revenge. Still potent pre-Code film features real-life freaks in the cast.At first you're fascinated (and repelled) by them, but it's incredible how quickly they become sympathetic, likable characters.2/3 of the film introduces them and their stories and you become accustomed to them.The film shows real compassion for them.But, at the end, the freaks come across as monsters and it totally destroys the sympathy we had for them.Still, the ending is among the scariest in motion picture history. The direction by Tod Browning is OK--nothing special.The acting varies wildlyBaclanova, Wallace Ford and Leila Hyams (as a nice "normal" couple) are very good.Victor is OK.As for the "freaks"--well, they're no actors.Earles is pretty bad--his high-pitched voice makes most of his dialogue incomprehensible and his attempts at emoting are painful to watch.The others are just so-so, but then, they weren't hired for their acting. The film is short (64 minutes) and, in its day, was considered shocking and a huge bomb.The original cut ran 90 minutes but MGM recut it after a disasterous sneak preview.Unfortunately, no prints of the original exist.It was even banned in Britain for 31 years!Now it's considered a horror classic.It isn't really scary until the last 20 minutes and then it turns into real nightmare material.The wedding feast is another highlight. Worth catching--a must-see for horror fans.
 
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Freaks (1932) - Tod Browning
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