Laugh clown, laugh

Artist unknown ~ remastered by Rivenrod

11 Comments

  1. This reminds me of Beardsley’s ‘Death of Pierrot’, awful and tragic:

    And also of a quote from dear Aubrey:

    “If I am not grotesque, I am nothing.”

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    1. It is Lady Sparks, it’s from a film – Herbert Brenon’s MGM classic Laugh Clown Laugh (1928) starring Lon Chaney as the clown and co-starring Loretta Young (who was only thirteen at the time).

      Lon Chaney was a master of pantomime.

      If you would like to read a short description, here’s the link: http://2009and-scene.blogspot.com/2010/01/silence-is-golden-laugh-clown-laugh.html

      The story has surprising similarities to the love complications at the heart of clown mythology.

      Enjoy!

      RR

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    2. Thank you, RR! I’ll be clicking this link in a moment. I just need to say that your response above to “Why?!” was breathtaking. And has also given me much to search for and think about. Thank you again!

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      1. I saw the last half of this film on TCM a while ago! (Unfortunately, I rarely see the beginning of anything unless I work hard at it.) Now I understand the story. Lon Chaney was such as fine actor. Thanks again for the link!

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    1. Pantaloon and Harlequin. We only say Harlequin because our forbears could not say Arlecchino so well. Pantaloon, his comic friend, became the loon we recognise today as clown. Harlequin the wistful poet, the shining, golden charmer with words. The un-comic bewilderer.

      Beatrice alas was sixteen months gone with child when Harlequin and Pantaloon first saw and pursued the lovely Columbine. And Pierrot, forlorn and sad at the worlds wickedness, wooed her too. Beatrice threw herself down a narrow stone staircase in Venice and died with her child inside.

      This clown conjures desperate exhaustion at the cruel pantomimes performed throughout the world, our lives, today. One hand to his chest where his heart once beat firm and steady. The other outstretched, imploring, beseeching us to understand. Begging for relief.

      His face should crackle with laughter, but does not. His eyes should gleam with harmless mischief and fun, but do not. His arms should be outstretched in welcome for everyone, but are not. His costume should bedazzle, make us dance with glee, but does not. The exuberance that lit his soul is guttering, dying, and there’s nothing he nor we can do about it.

      He has been forced to pretend and the paint on his face has become a grotesque lie. His costume, an elaborate charade. But, if we care to look we can see in the figure as a whole he recognises what he is and who he has become. He is a man ripped, torn and shattered, perhaps by love, but a man nevertheless unable to be the man he once was. Or the man he craves to be.

      That is why.

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