Monday, 23 January 2012

Narrative - Tom Browning's Freaks (1932)

Fig 1.

Tod Browning's Freaks (1932) Director - Tod Browning

'Freaks' revolves around the participants of a travelling circus. When a beautiful trapeze artist marries a midget for his money and tries to kill him so she can live with her strongman lover, the 'freaks' in the circus at finding out her wicked plot seek revenge. As a film you would think it would feel exploitative of the actors but "Browning's treatment is never voyeuristic or condescending, but sympathetic in such a way that after a few minutes we almost cease to perceive them as in any way abnormal." (Timeout, Unknown date)  In today's more forgiving world for people with a disability you could see this film never being made today, not because of the treatment of the actors but due to political correctness gone made.

Fig 2.

As for the the performance of the actors it carries a genuine feel of unity between the cast as the 'freaks' who in this horror movie turn out as the protagonists and the beautiful trapeze artist in reality is the evil antagonist. This all adds up to making a compelling story as the actrs are real 'freaks'. "As nothing here is faked or dreamt up by some special effects department, Browning forces us to reassess our assumptions of the normal and abnormal." (BBC, 2002) There is a lesson to be learned (but if you haven't learnt it already by now you probably need help) in that one should never judge a person from the outside. Just because someone appears beautiful on the outside it doesn't mean there is beauty found within and visa versa.

Fig 3.



Freaks, The New York Times, Unknown date, [Online] [Accessed 23 January 2012]

Freaks, BBC2001, [Online] available at [Accessed 23 January 2012]

Image Bibliography

Fig 1 . Freaks, Poster, 1932, [photography],0,214,317_.jpg

Fig 2 . Freaks, Movie Still, 1932, [photography]

Fig 3 . Freaks, Movie Still, 1932, [photography]

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