FREAKS (nature's mistakes; forbidden love) (1932 U.S.) D/P: TOD BROWNING W: AL BOASBERG/WILLIS GOLDBECK/LEON GORDON/EDGAR ALLAN WOOLF
Carny barker Ernie Adams' flashback tells this circus drama of vengeance and betrayal, a true classic original and the jewel in Browning's crown. Harry Earles is a dwarf who shuns his childhood love (Daisy Earles) for the beautiful "normal" trapeze artist Olga Baclanova. But she's in league with the strongman (Henry Victor) and poisons Earles on their wedding night (the reception scene is one of the most devastating in cinema history). The "freaks" all band together to take their revenge. The story's as simple as that, but it's the day-to-day atmosphere of the circus that makes this unique and unforgettable. The human torso lighting a cigar for instance is amazing. Much could be said of the scary ending where the "freaks" suddenly seem menacing and devious for the first time, but i think that this sequence is most definitely justified. But at the time (and still to this day) it was considered way too strong and had to play the roadshow circuit ("Dwain Esper presents"). The cast: Daisy and Violet Hilton (CHAINED FOR LIFE), Schlitze, Josephine Joseph, Johnny Eck, Frances O' Connor, Peter Robinson, Olga Roderick, Koo Koo, Randion, Martha Morris, Elvira Snow, Jenny Lee Snow, Elizabeth Green, Angelo Rossitto, Edward Bropho, Rose Dione, Leila Hayams, Louise Beavers, Albert Conti, Tom London (check out his incredibly long filmography), Michael Visaroff, Wallace Ford and stuttering Roscoe Ates. based on Tod Robbins` story Spurs. Remade as SHE FREAK.

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