The 1928 Film that Inspired the Joker: “The Man Who Laughs”

The Man Who Laughs is the forgotten silent film masterpiece directed by the German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni. It is slowly being rediscovered as the film that is credited for creating the image that Bob Kane would later use as inspiration for his Joker character from Batman.

The film is an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name and stars Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine and Mary Philbin as the blind Dea. The film is known for the grim carnival freak-like grin on the character Gwynplaine’s face, which often leads it to be classified as a horror film.

Taking place in England in the year 1690, The Man Who Laughs features Gwynplaine, the son of an English nobleman who has offended King James II. The monarch sentences the nobleman to death in an iron maiden, after calling upon a surgeon, Dr. Hardquannone, to disfigure the boy’s face into a permanent rictus grin. As a title card states, the King condemned him “to laugh forever at his fool of a father.”

Film critic Roger Ebert stated, “The Man Who Laughs is a melodrama, at times even a swashbuckler, but so steeped in Expressionist gloom that it plays like a horror film.”

Full Film Below Images.

Rob Zombie – The Man Who Laughs

DIY Motorized Green Screen Lazy Susan

This DIY project illustrates how to create a table for spinning a person around with a green screen background.

More details here.

Using a front wheel hub which can be purchased brand new for just over $20 dollars, you can create a table that can easily spin several hundred pounds. I haven’t seen anyone take this approach before. Since very little force is needed to move the hub, you can use string to pull it manually. Or it can be motorized with small motors, and can even be pulled with a simple Bicycle inner tube. No matter how much weight you put on there, it moves like butter…

Something Educational and Something F*cking Stupid: History of Film/Tech and Chimp on a Segway

The history of film is a story of technology fused with the performing arts. Boston University Film student Ryan Piccirillo explores this relationship in this in depth essay tracing story and technology through the past century.

…The development of motion picture complexity has been driven by a continuing technological evolution, ignited and manipulated by human initiative and inventiveness, which has afforded filmmakers the opportunity to practice a more complex craft to tell more complex stories. In concert with societal attitudes and proximity, this evolution has driven the development of distinct styles, movements, and methods that would have been impossible without increasingly advanced apparatus. However, while this technological progression has been linear, it has not necessarily coincided with a similar evolution of quality; the skill of a filmmaker should not be judged by the technological complexity of the production, but by the ability of the filmmaker to wield the technology of the time and of his or her choosing to effectively and clearly convey a narrative, evoke an emotion, or make an impression. Although the linear technological evolution of filmmaking has empowered filmmakers by offering a more diverse catalogue of tools and techniques, it is the filmmaker’s ability to effectively and discerningly utilize this technology within a temporal and societal context that truly drives cinematic quality, of which there has been no clear linear progression.

— Student Pulse | Read The Full Article

Okay, I realize that’s a lot of text to read… so to make it worth your while, here’s a chimpanzee riding on a Segway:

The Wrap – Being Eaten Alive by Filmmaking Clutter

John is down about the state of his office. Sad face. :(

Episode 11

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Show Notes

This is what happens when you neglect an office for 6 months, though I don’t know how good it looked back then…

One of my New Commercial shelves for housing cameras and other fun stuff:

Capturing Sound for Independent Films
Scott Weber Sound Supervisor for Avid’s demo movie Agent MX-Z3RO, offers indie filmmakers some sound advice.

DIY Realistic Corpse from a Cheap Plastic Skeleton
I must admit “corpsing” was not a term I was familiar with until I stumbled across this video, but thank god there is now a easier cheaper way of doing it.

Canon EOS DSLR Controller Android App
DSLR Controller is the first app that allows you to fully control your Canon EOS DSLR from your Android device with only a USB cable. No computer or laptop required, no root required, only a compatible mobile device, a compatible camera, and the right USB cable.

Quieting the Lizard Brain
“What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship,” says bestselling author Seth Godin, arguing that we must quiet our fearful “lizard brains” to avoid sabotaging projects just before we finally finish them.

cinemetrics: visualizing movie data
cinemetrics is about measuring and visualizing movie data, in order to reveal the characteristics of films and to create a visual “fingerprint” for them. Information such as the editing structure, color, speech or motion are extracted, analyzed and transformed into graphic representations so that movies can be seen as a whole and easily interpreted or compared side by side.

Creating the Original Stormtrooper Mask
A step by step guide to the creation of the original Stormtrooper by prop maker Andrew Ainsworth. In 1976 at Shepperton Design Studios Ainsworth created the original Stormtrooper helmets and armor for the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope.

DIY DSLR Video Rack Focus With Post It Flags
In this video, Michael Andrew shows a very easy and inexpensive alternative to rack focusing DSLR video cameras using post-it flags. Michael demonstrates the technique, how to set it up and how to get it down with just a little practice.

The CGI Secrets of Rise of the Planet of the Apes
What’s it like working with a digital chimp? TIME reporter, Megan Gibson finds out when she talks to the cast and director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Pixar’s Amazing Zoetrope
Zoetropes date back to the nineteenth century, but this one created by Pixar may be the coolest one ever. It is currently on exhibit inside the animation building in Disneyland’s California Adventure.

What Is Brazil? Glimpse into the Making of Terry Gilliam’s Classic
“What Is Brazil?” consists of interviews, clips of the film and behind the scenes footage, including material of the cut snooker ball eye sequence that you may or may not have heard of.

History at the Box Office: Why Movies are Making More Money than Ever
Only ten films have grossed over $1 billion and six of those were released in 2010 and 2011. How is it that movies are making more money than ever?

Documentary: Animated Soviet Propaganda
Vladimir Lenin declared that cinema was the most important art for promoting communist ideology. This documentary goes behind the iron curtain and looks at propagandist animation from USSR from 1924-1984.

7 Pro Tips to Surviving the 48 Hour Film Project
The advice here is based on real life experiences which haven’t all been stellar. Listen and hopefully you can avoid some of the pitfalls of this weekend of insanity. If you don’t, who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky… or you might end up putting your fist through a wall.

DIY Felt Camera Slider DIY Felt Camera Slider
Here is a simple idea by Peter G for creating a cheap camera slider using felt, a board and a picture frame.


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