Laughter (film)

Laughter is a 1930 American pre-Code film directed by Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast and starring Nancy Carroll, Fredric March and Frank Morgan.[1]

Directed byHarry d'Abbadie d'Arrast
Produced byMonta Bell
Written byHarry d'Abbadie d'Arrast
Douglas Z. Doty (also story)
Herman J. Mankiewicz
Donald Ogden Stewart
StarringNancy Carroll
Fredric March
Music byVernon Duke (uncredited)
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byHelene Turner
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • September 25, 1930 (1930-09-25)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story.[2]

A copy has been preserved at the Library of Congress.[3]

In 1931, a German-language version called Die Männer um Lucie was released starring Liane Haid and Lien Deyers. This film is considered lost.


Peggy is a Follies dancer who forsakes her life of carefree attachments in order to meet her goal of marrying a millionaire. Alas, her elderly husband, broker C. Mortimer Gibson, is a well-meaning bore, and soon Peggy begins seeking entertainment elsewhere.

A year after their marriage, three significant events occur almost simultaneously. Peggy's former boyfriend, Paul Lockridge, a composer and pianist who is in love with her and seems to have a funny quip for every occasion, returns from Paris. She reunites with him as he offers her his companionship as a diversion from her stuffy life. Also, Ralph Le Saint, a young devil-may-care sculptor who is still in love with Peggy, plans his suicide in a mood of bitterness, and Gibson's daughter, Marjorie, returns from schooling abroad. Marjorie is soon paired with Ralph, and the romance that develops between them is paralleled by the adult affair between Peggy and Paul.

Ralph and Marjorie's escapades result in considerable trouble for Mortimer, while Paul implores Peggy to go to Paris with him, declaring "You are rich--dirty rich. You are dying. You need laughter to make you clean," but she refuses. When Marjorie plans to elope with Ralph, Peggy exposes the sculptor as a fortune hunter; and, dejected, he commits suicide. As a result, Peggy confesses her unhappiness to Gibson, then joins Paul and laughter in Paris.


  1. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Laughter
  2. Osborne, Robert (1994). 65 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards. London: Abbeville Press. p. 27. ISBN 1-55859-715-8.
  3. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress p.101 c.1978 by the American Film Institute

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