All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
The love story of a SIREN, a GIANT, and a DWARF!
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.
This holds up tremendously in one definitive category- the frank depiction of everyday freak-life. It's less about acting and more about real deformities captured in mundane existence. This is a sad film by the end, generating huge amounts of empathy without forcing trite stereotypes upon the freaks. They exist as they are and therefore the film refuses to spotlight the performers with any fake qualities. The honesty on screen is what has aged this finely. Director Todd Browning does not shy away from the shit luck these people were dealt in life. In the end, the story concludes as an essential morality tale and a fascinating window into the past.
Gooble gobble! 80 years later, Tod Browning's revenge tale set among a community of circus sideshow performers is just as unsettling. Much of the film's power comes from Browning's unsensational depiction of his cast of physically (and, in some cases, developmentally) disabled performers - the mostly wooden acting (though Harry Earles, as diminutive ringmaster Hans, is pretty suave) is a worthy trade-off for the verisimilitude. While it's not a message movie, it is fascinating how the "freaks" are disturbing only because of the cultural baggage we bring to the film; they're actually the characters who are portrayed with dignity throughout the film, while it's the "normal" characters who are truly monstrous. It's an idea - Who are the real monsters? - that countless other horror films have explored, but rarely as successfully.
"Freaks" is a much sweeter movie than I thought it would be. Since it's been around for over 80 years, I knew a lot of things about it like the whole "gooble gobble, one of us" thing, the general idea of the movie, and the fact that it cast actual people with deformities over actors in make-up. Even so, I was surprised at the main plot's heart and the affection it builds within the audience towards the whole circus crew (well, villains aside) in a scant sixty-two minutes. It's remarkably fast paced with great performances and dialogue such that even modern movie goers who shy away from old Hollywood would probably really enjoy it. Besides, it's really short (no pun…
Deciding, as any rational person would, to go for a Browning double-bill, I followed The Unknown with the director's controversial "masterpiece", a a description I'm happy to say fits Freaks well. Billed often as a horror, it's really not at all; here is a compassionate, compelling portrait of what is, in essence, a civil rights issue. Shocking contemporary audiences by his casting of deformed circus performers, Browning both internally and externally manages to expose the horrific prejudices of society to people fallen victim to, as the film calls it, an "accident of birth". It's an immensely moving film, the casting allowing the terrible plight of these characters to find distressing realism. I'm glad I finally watched this; it's exactly the classic I'd been led to expect.
Tod Browning's Freaks is a well-regarded classic for good reason. At only 64 minutes, it is surprisingly short, but it's funny, well-made and very endearing. A film ahead of its time, it surprised audiences and caused controversy but remains a wonderful, important drama made up of the most unlikely but superbly fitting ensemble cast to ever grace the screen.
I dunno, I kind of felt sorry for the freaks.
One of the most charming ensemble casts ever in a truly unique film. A powerful story about community, prejudice and revenge.
One of the rare films that is far too short. How I wish some of the stories had been lengthened or that we had been able to spend more time with some of the characters.
...this one will have to sit in my mind for a little while...
The performances are shrill and hysterical and the dialogue is extremely hard to hear. Some of the words seem to be spoken in either French or German, which makes it even harder to understand what some of the actors are saying. And everyone speaks so loudly that, when two characters are actually conspiring to kill someone, you really want to tell them that "voices carry." Especially since everyone's trailers / carriages are situated so closely to one another.
However, the film's heart shines through and the dialogue couldn't be more rooted in truth. I was shocked how often it cut right to the bone. For, yes, a movie that was made such a long time ago when people spoke and…
Hardly a horror movie as it was billed, but an interesting look at sideshow performers of the era.
I'd kill to see the original cut as its brevity is my only real gripe.
An entertaining narrative with charming characters and, well, a trapeze artist and circus strongman who you, in no way, can possibly like.
The whole outcome of the plot is predictable, yet the way in which the ending is executed spoils the film's entire message. The last image of the film will be in your head for days.
this is an extremely strange film that quite frankly wouldn't be made today. It is extremely un pc, calling dwarves or people with visiual disfigurements "freaks". not a huge amount happens, story wise it is basically all just setting up the finale, however at only an hour it doesn't drag. it is made pretty well and looks pretty creepy at points. hard to give it a rating as it is so bizarre but it has a weird messed up charm and it is easy to see why it is so well known, i don't i've ever seen anything like it
A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance. - IMDB
It wouldn't be hard to actually gather up all these 'freaks' from a couple of sideshows and whatnot but it's amazing that they actually did. 'm not sure if they were all working together at the time of the filmmakers did in fact, assemble them for the film. Either way, it's amazing to me.
More than anything, I think I'm mostly intrigued of the fact that a film like this exists. It probably helps that it was made in 1932, during the birth of the 'talkie'. I think I would have liked…
Some say horror movie, for one it is directed by the man behind the original 'Dracula' and the real life deformed 'Freaks' do band together, attack and mutilate a woman at the end of the film. Also, there is the famous ritualistic initiation scene "We accept her one of us, gooble gobble".
Some say documentary, as previously mentioned the large majority of 'freaks' in the film are all deformed in real life. It's a film not focussed on the acting with some performances being quite wooden, but instead focusses on the struggles of deformities. It is a work of fiction, but it can be argued Browning was making a social commentary through his depiction of the 'freaks'.
Either way it's an under-appreciated classic which for some will move and others will frighten but above all, it should fascinate everyone.
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Rules of the Game
- Tokyo Story
Another year, another update. 2012 List can be found here.
The following is a really extensive and great list of…