|Theatrical Movie Poster (1932)|
With the film, director Browning created autobiographical piece of art. Browning once worked for a circus as a sideshow freak, so the film was sacred to him. As the result, he created a film that was so outrageous and so misunderstood, the studio MGM didn't want to release the film. The studio went so far as to cut the picture down from its original 90-minute running time to just over an hour. Also the studio approached Browning with idea of a "happier ending" for the film. A new prologue and epilogue was filmed for the movie. The film was finally released to theaters on February 20, 1932.And despite all the extensive cuts, audiences still rejected the film.
Controversy surrounded the film even before the film was even released. During one of the many disastrous test screenings, one woman threatened to sue MGM after claiming that watching the film caused her to have a miscarriage. Following the release of the film, Browning had difficulty find work in the business. As a result, his film had destroyed his directing career. However, by the late 1960's, the growing counterculture discovered the film and embraced it, appearing at midnight screenings across America. In 1994, the Library of Congress added the film to its list of preservation in the Nation Film Registry.
FREAKS is a landmark film, a true and honest piece of work that projected the director's vision and his plea of understanding and acceptance. Now, 79 years after the film's original release, it seems like society has finally accepted Browning's artistic masterpiece.
FREAKS is currently available on DVD. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit your local retailer or checkout the Amazon website at www.amazon.com
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