Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates
Domestic Box Office Gross: Not available
If Freaks came out in today, as a long YouTube clip, it'd be a smash. It's a movie that features, among other spectacular oddities, a limbless man who can roll and light a cigarette with only his mouth. Who doesn't want to see that?
In 1932, long before the Internet, plenty of people did not want to see that. Freaks destroyed the career of Tod Browning, who was seemingly untouchable after 1931's smash Dracula. Then he lost it all by making an incredible film using real circus workers to tell a timeless story of community and revenge.
But people just weren't ready for the uncompromising reality of Browning's vision. He never recovered from the disappointment. If it's any consolation to his memory, the film is regarded as one of the most significant films in motion picture history.