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Home / Film / Feature Articles / “Dirty, Slimy Freaks!”: Tod Browning, Lon Chaney, Freaks and the Eugenics Movement (part 3)

“Dirty, Slimy Freaks!”: Tod Browning, Lon Chaney, Freaks and the Eugenics Movement (part 3)

“Dirty, Slimy Freaks!”

Tod Browning was then, I argue, an artist whose social conscience and personal preoccupations led him in 1932 to approach Freaks as an allegory of the eugenics age; but what in the film and its production supports this reading, and to what extent does Freaks succeed in challenging and subverting eugenics-era ideology?

Tod Browning on the set of Freaks (1932)

The original story, Spurs, on which Freaks is based, was optioned at Browning’s behest by Thalberg at MGM who had always exhorted his screenwriters to find projects that were ‘ripped from the news headlines’.1 The topicality of a story was, according to Thalberg, directly related to its box office potential, a philosophy that had made him successful as a Production Chief at a prodigiously early age. Moreover, Thalberg shared, with Browning and Chaney, a fascination with tales of deformity – a hot topic in the eugenics age. The culture of newspaper values not only informed the choice of subject matter in 1930s Hollywood but also its treatment. Hollywood screenwriters of the 1930s were often composed of newspaper journalists drafted in from New York. Browning himself had worked closely with newspaper man Herman J. Mankiewicz on The Road to Mandalay (1926). Indeed, his Fast Workers, made after Freaks, and his attempted adaptation of They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? demonstrates a continuing interest in the journalistic tradition – a desire to move away from the generic confines of the horror film in favour of the docudrama. There is the sense that, as a social commentator, Browning was outgrowing the genre (certainly in Freaks, Browning already redefined the normality/monster dichotomy that lay at the heart of the horror film) – a problem shared with later directors George A. Romero and Wes Craven. Susan Sontag has said that science fiction/horror films, while they may raise serious socio-political concerns, are ‘inadequate responses’ to the concerns they raise because they tend to be formulaic.2  In Fast Workers, Browning was able to tackle social commentary directly in a ‘realistic’ narrative rather than allegorically in a horror film as he was forced to do in Freaks; but for now, Browning had to deal with the exigencies of 1930s studio conventions, and the production history of Freaks indicates that he was chomping on the bit.

Browning, who always took an active, if uncredited, hand in the scriptwriting process, transformed the source material from what, according to Skal, was little more than an anecdotal short story with ‘detestable’ characters, into  a final script that bore only ‘a passing resemblance’ to Spurs.3

One of the key changes that Browning made to the story was to the character of Hans. The dwarf in Spurs is a ‘hideously arbitrary and vicious individual’4 compared to the victimised Hans in the film version. This sympathy for the ‘Little People’ was emphasised in Browning’s adaptation by the solidarity of the freaks, (“offend one and you offend them all”) which does not occur in Spurs but was introduced to the story by Browning. The final film does retain the revenge theme of Spurs, but, intriguingly, Browning had, according to William S. Hart Jnr. (quoted in Dark Carnival), originally wanted a different ending, which created disagreement between Browning and the studio. “They wanted a macabre ending,” recalls Hart, “but he just wanted to have kind of a sad ending”. Browning’s melancholy fade out would underscore “the sadness of the poor people that couldn’t ever be part of all the other people. And then they forced on him… this wild revenge to make a macabre ending.”5

Tod Browning

Skal comments that it is difficult to imagine Browning ‘shying away from what would transpire at the end of Freaks, given his stock-in-trade propensity for revenge stories and macabre climaxes’6. But is Browning’s proposed ending so difficult to accept, taking into account his obvious sympathies with the ‘freaks’ and his desire – as evidenced by Fast Workers and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? – to move away from horror film conventions?

If I have gone to great lengths elsewhere7 in arguing Browning’s competence as a director, it is because Freaks, in its extant form, presents a problem of contradiction, which, when taken alongside the sense of a faulty narrative resulting from cuts and changes made to the film by the studio, not only undermines Browning’s ideological position in Freaks but has also cast doubt on Browning as an artist who knows what he wants to say and how to say it; that any incoherence in Freaks somehow arises from Browning’s ineptitude.

Freaks suffered many changes at the hands of MGM, particularly during the editing stages and, most infamously, following a disastrous preview screening. This saw thirty minutes cut from the film, including: a curtailing of the revenge sequence in the storm (which, as we have seen, may not have been the conclusion that Browning wanted for the film in the first place); the deletion of the final scene as written in the script which revealed the fate of the main characters (the story was instead later bookended with the scenes of the carnival barker introducing Cleo the duck girl at a sideshow); and the addition of an epilogue intended to recuperate Hans following his revenge on Hercules and Cleo (this epilogue is not present in all versions). One of the effects of these changes is to present an ambiguous view of the freaks that is not so pronounced in Browning’s original version.

Rachel Adams, in her book, Sideshow U.S.A, considered the effects of these many changes to the film (and script), and wrote:

Surveying the many mutations of this film gives a better sense of why the surviving version is so confusing and why it often seems to adopt contradictory positions towards its characters.8

A scene introducing the community of freaks which, in the film, comes immediately after the first scene with Hans, Cleo and Frieda, was originally intended as the film’s opening. As Adams observed, the scene contains a ‘key to understanding Browning’s approach’.9 The action takes place in the French countryside where a groundskeeper tells his master – M. Duval –  that he has just witnessed the horrifying sight of ‘monsters’ trespassing on his land. Initially disgusted by the sight of the freaks playing on his land, Duval changes his mind after a conversation with the freaks’ carer Mme. Tetrallini:

Tetrallini: I like to take them into the sunshine – and let them play like children. That is what most of them are – children.

Duval: Children – when I go to the circus again, I shall understand.

Tetrallini: I know, Monsieur – you will remember them playing – playing like children.

Duval: I shall always remember.

Tetrallini – Among all the thousands who come to stare – to laugh – to shudder – you will be one who understands.

Adams comments that the intention of the scene – highlighted by its positioning as the opening of the script– is clearly to instruct the viewer on how Browning wishes the freaks to be viewed, to ‘dispel the stereotypical association of the disabled body with evil and monstrosity.’10 In the film, the sequence is shortened considerably, and its didactic effect lessened. Later in the 1940s an epigraph was added to the start of the film – also with a pedagogical function – but with a rather different and more ambiguous message. Browning’s scene – although it seems rather moralistic today – was necessary to challenge the dominant viewpoint at the time, voiced by the groundskeeper who complains to his master that “there should be a law to smother such — such things — smother them at birth, or else lock them up”.  The eugenic viewpoint that the freaks are mistakes of nature to be eliminated is, as Adams points out, implicitly challenged by the pastoral setting of the scene which aligns the freaks with a benevolent and peaceful environment – in harmony with nature.11 The epigraph, added later, thus creates confusion and a sense of ambivalence from the start by describing the freaks as ‘mistakes of nature’ which modern science is able to ‘eliminate from the world’. This viewpoint – with its suggestion of eugenic solutions – was never a position endorsed by Browning’s version of the story. Browning’s project – as expressed in this opening scene – is to critique the social context that discriminates against the disabled, ‘turning them into targets of laughter or abuse’. It is the opposite of the eugenics ideology which would seek to smother such ‘monstrosities’ at birth. Browning’s is a call for equality: Tetrallini’s final line of dialogue in the scene – “God cares for all his children” echoes the popular saying, ‘all are equal in the eyes of God’.

Freaks (1932)

Understanding Browning’s intention in this scene enables us somewhat to re-interpret the revenge motif later in the narrative. The film starts from a position where it would generally be considered reasonable in the American society of its time to discriminate against the disabled by locking them up – even to smother them at birth. Considering, then, the level of discrimination against them, the subsequent uprising of the freaks and their revenge on those who offend them becomes, if not morally acceptable, at least more understandable. Their action, in Browning’s original version, is to create a sort of equality by turning Cleo and Hercules into one of them: to make them experience the same discrimination as they, the freaks, do. That the scenes of revenge in the storm are so horrific, re-casting the freaks as monsters, is a fault Browning may or may not have been able to avoid in the filming – it is hard to say. But a re-evaluation of Browning’s intentions based on the original opening of Freaks (as well as the changes made to later scenes) goes some way towards resolving the film’s most pressing contradiction.

The first half of Freaks is very loosely structured: Browning introduces his cast of unusual players in a series of vignettes which demonstrate their talents and personalities, but which as Adams has pointed out ‘make little effort to unify the characters through a common storyline.’12 This slice-of-life approach is, in fact, one of Freaks’ strengths. According to Adams, many of the early scenes were added to the original script as Browning became fascinated with the performers’ remarkable abilities and sought ways for working them into the film. These scenes evoke the episodic feeling of the circus sideshow:

The live freak show relies on curiosity to thrill and entertain its audience, discouraging any substantive interaction between viewer and performer. Curious looking enables the paying customer to see the freak as an object on display for the sole purpose of amusement or education.13

Browning uses the structure of the ‘freak show’ – as do the Letchworth Village photos – but subverts it by demanding, as Adams says, ‘more engaged and potentially sensitive mode of viewing in the audience’.14 The viewer comes to see the freaks as individuals who have overcome their disabilities and found ways to perform everyday activities rather than as objects on display.  Furthermore, Freaks, as Adams states, blurs ‘the distinctions between disabled and able-bodied performers through its depiction of everyday life’.15 The circus world of Freaks is shown as a community where able-bodied and disabled – for the most part – rub along together in their daily routine. The freaks and the normals share gossip, which lends these early scenes the quality of soap opera: typically in these scenes, the normal talks, whilst the freak performs an action (such as rolling a cigarette using only the mouth). The voyeuristic shock of these scenes is thus undercut.

In this world behind the scenes of the sideshow, Browning allows us to glimpse an alternative community, one that does not conform to normative sexuality, and it is this aspect of the film that is perhaps the most subversive.  As Adams puts it, ‘(Browning) provides an environment rich with polymorphously perverse sexuality, where a proliferation of erotic proclivities coexist, partners are exchanged, and heterosexuality is one among many options’.16 The exotic sexuality of the freaks subverts normative standards but also challenges the eugenicists’ policy of involuntary sterilisation of the disabled. Sex is one of the primary ways that the freaks relate to each other in the film and Browning celebrates the sexual union of the disabled in the scene where the bearded lady gives birth to the human skeleton’s child. In the film, Forrest Gump (1994), the first reaction of Forrest on learning that he is a father is to worry that his child might have learning difficulties like him. He is relieved when he is told that his child is ‘normal’. In Browning’s film, by contrast, the freaks celebrate their difference: the parents are proud that the baby is a girl as ‘it’s gonna have a beard’ like her mother!

The scene also raises another bugbear of eugenics ideology: that of miscegenation. President Calvin Coolidge stated that ‘biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend’17. This passed into anti-miscegenation laws that made mixed-race marriage invalid. In Freaks, the prospect of sexual union between freaks and normals is raised not only in the central Hans-Cleo plotline but also in the subplot involving Roscoe and the Siamese twins, Daisy and Violet. The scenes depicting this ménage-a-trois are rich with sexual innuendo, particularly involving the question of shared sexual arousal of the twins (when one twin is kissed, the other experiences arousal also) but also grapple with the day-to-day practicalities of marriage between a normal-bodied man and Siamese twins, and how such a marriage might be made to work. Browning’s solution is to turn a ménage-a-trois into a ménage-a-quatre as the unmarried twin, Violet, finds her own suitor. The dialogue in this scene – where Roscoe is introduced to the suitor, Mr Vadja – emphasises the absurdity of the arrangement (“you must come to visit sometime”). It is comedic but also transgressive. Such couplings are possible, Browning is saying, but only if you break the rules of ‘normal’ society.

The impossibility of union between Hans and Cleo is another matter; based not upon physical differences but ideological ones. An emerging theme in the first section of the film is this question of whether it is possible for a ‘normal’ and a ‘freak’ to achieve union. The Roscoe/Violet/Daisy subplot asserts that such a union is possible but entirely dependent upon the attitudes of the normals towards the freaks.

The first half of Freaks, then, depicts communal living in the circus, with the able-bodied and the disabled ‘all in it together’. Outside of the mainstream this might represent a new way of living – with new sexual possibilities (Siamese twins and Roscoe/Cleo and Hans etc.) that defy normative behaviour and values (liberation!) Only when old attitudes of superiority start to re-emerge – brought about by Hercules and Cleo joining forces to exploit Hans for material gain – are these progressive potentialities threatened.

The hyper-masculinity of Hercules and sexual aggression of Cleopatra are symptoms of their insecurity, leading them constantly to reassure themselves of their superiority through the exploitation of others. They are obsessed by body image. Hercules is all the time displaying his strength and virility. Cleopatra thrives upon the cruel sexual jesting of Hans. They are, in many respects, the modern materialistic couple, interested only in the ‘external markers of success’. Browning establishes their avarice early in a pair of matching scenes: Cleo takes advantage of Hans’ infatuation by borrowing a thousand francs from him; Hercules tries to coerce Venus to prostitute herself for him, prompting her to leave him. Significant, however, is that Cleo accepts Hans’ proposal of marriage before she learns of his fortune: Browning makes it clear that she is not driven by greed alone, at least not initially, but by the need to mark herself as better than the freaks.

Freaks (1932)

Stuart Rosenthal makes the observation that the freaks enjoy a communal solidarity (demonstrated in a social context by the birth of the bearded lady’s baby) whereas Cleo and Hercules, by contrast, appear isolated and solitary.18 They are, in some ways, as much victims of the dominant ideology as the freaks. Their seduction scene, like the ménage-a-trois between Roscoe, Violet and Daisy, is filled with double entendre but also emphasises their surface attraction – their shared narcissism. When Hercules visits Cleo after breaking up with Venus, she offers him some eggs and asks ‘how do you like them?’ while drawing his attention to her breasts. Again in this scene the gaze is emphasised and the act of watching is made to symbolise sexual frustration and cruelty. The seduction is cut short when Hercules realises they are being watched by one of the freaks. Hercules punches the voyeur in the face, remarking “here’s one for your eye”. This is observed by Cleo, whom we expect to be shocked by the brutality of Hercules’s reaction, but her response is one of laughter, taking pleasure in the freak’s punishment. This theme of frustration/cruelty is closely linked to the film’s dominant motif of emasculation/ castration. Rachel Adams identifies this clearly in Browning’s work:

Emasculation (in Freaks) is intimately bound to issues of class, as one of Browning’s recurrent cinematic themes is the struggle between members of the criminal underworld (whose lawlessness is often projected physically by bodies that are monstrous or disabled) and an elite upper class. Impotence in a Browning film is not simply a loss of sexual function, but an inability to generate income through legitimate means.19

Although Browning was a wealthy man during the time of Freaks and lived through the Depression years in a position of financial security, he had struggled with poverty in his youth and, as Adams notes, felt ‘a lifelong uneasiness with wealth and the privileges that accompanied it’.20 This, incidentally, is a trait shared with James Whale, and contributes – in the work of both directors – to an emphasis on the plight of the outsider. In Freaks, it is this fear of emasculation (physically and economically) that drives the characters. Hercules and Cleo make their living – as do the freaks – through their physical attributes. Hercules fears the loss of his manhood in terms of both a literal loss of physical virility and the resulting loss of employment as the circus strongman. Cleo, given her looks and ‘superiority’, is a natural ‘gold-digger’. Their decision to poison Hans for his money is based on their fear of falling into poverty during hard times – of joining an underclass, along with the freaks. This is, of course, exactly what happens to them; it is their fit punishment. In the original ending, Hercules is literally castrated by the freaks; while Cleo is dismembered and deformed. They become ‘one of us’. As Rachel Adams has noted, it is at the point in the film when Cleo interpellates the circus performers as ‘dirty, slimy freaks’ that they become increasingly sinister and monstrous.21 Perhaps it was Browning’s intention that the freaks come to personify the ever-present threat during the eugenics era of becoming ostracised, disempowered and disenfranchised on the basis of difference; of being turned into one of the despised, of being labelled ‘unfit’.

Our discussion of Freaks must conclude with an analysis of Hans and his plight. Hans’ desire is to be a ‘man’, to be whole – not emasculated as he feels now. This he feels he will achieve through his union with Cleo: “the most beautiful big woman”. He is alone amongst the freaks in that he has aspirations to leave the circus – and the community that has accepted him as one of their own – in his pursuit of a bourgeois existence with his ‘normal’ bride.  Browning’s attitude to Hans is deeply ambivalent: his class pretensions, as Adams points out, ‘prevent the viewer from identifying with his aspirations’22; however, because we understand that he feels emasculated by the way mainstream society sees and treats him, we cannot fully refuse sympathy for his plight. He, too, is a victim of eugenics ideology. In the extant film, Hans remains a tragic character. The epilogue presents him alone in his mansion having seen no-one for years (despite his wealth he is clearly miserable). He is re-united with Frieda, who still loves him, but appears unable to overcome his grief and heartbreak. His masculinity is not reclaimed by his revenge on Cleo and Hercules – he can only mourn his sense of loss and humiliation, crying like a child in Frieda’s lap. He remains ‘Little Hans’ – Freud’s child-patient seized by the castration-complex. In the original ending, Hans and Frieda are revealed to be married with a baby, living apart from the freaks but championing the rights of the freaks to procreate (despite eugenics laws). In the extant ending, Hans is isolated from the circus community, no longer a part of it. Nor is he acceptable to the dominant ideology despite his wealth and bourgeois pretensions – eugenics ideology still brands him a ‘freak’. The final image in Browning’s original version is of Hercules singing the rosary, ‘il castrato’.  According to David J. Skal, Browning himself filmed the tacked-on epilogue with which he was forced to replace his original ending.23 It seems that for Browning, the final image of Freaks – the emblem of the times – was always to be one of emasculation.

Fast Workers

Browning went straight from Freaks into Fast Workers, a non-horror film that, nonetheless, continues many of the themes of Freaks. It is, therefore, worth briefly considering Fast Workers in this study of Browning. Fast Workers, a contemporary drama, examines the effects of the Depression on the psyche of the individual, particularly of ‘emasculated’ males. In short, their social environment makes them cynical, exploitative and self-interested. Here the ideological tensions that Browning explored in Freaks take place not between opposing social classes of ‘big people’ and ‘little people’ but in the personality of the individual; in the conflict between the need to maintain interpersonal relationships and the need – during times of economic hardship – to operate in one’s self-interest. As Stuart Rosenthal points out, ‘these inter-relating frustrations make it one of Browning’s most perplexing films, especially with regard to morality and justice.’24

Fast Workers (1933)

The title itself is a double entendre, referring both to Gunnar and Brucker, two riveters building New York skyscrapers, and to their view of women as ‘gold-diggers’ only interested in them for their money. The men’s solution to these gold-diggers, or ‘fast workers’, is something of a double standard: whenever Brucker meets a woman he wants to marry (which is often), Gunnar will hit on her to see if she stays true or not. So far their ruse has not failed to disclose the deceitfulness of women (that their misogyny is only being returned ‘in kind’ by the ‘broads’ they meet fails to register). This theme of duplicity (on both parts) is taken one step further when Brucker meets Mary, whom he hastily marries without consulting Gunnar first, unaware that she is one of Gunnar’s old girlfriends and still in love with him. The moral complexity of the situation is heightened by the Depression-era context: Mary has entrapped Brucker but her desire to improve her condition in difficult times, as Rosenthal notes, is easily appreciated. She is, moreover, genuinely fond of Brucker and means him no harm. She does, however, secretly agree to accompany Gunnar to Atlantic City for the weekend, where Gunnar learns of her ‘duplicity’. Still unaware that she and Brucker have gotten married, Gunnar decides to expose her infidelity to his friend. This, again, is a morally dubious act: ostensibly one of friendship to a man who needs protecting from his own gullibility; however, as Gunnar still has feelings for Mary, he himself feels betrayed and wants to punish. Back in New York, Gunnar gives Brucker incriminating photographs of himself with Mary. Learning that Mary and Gunnar have a history, Brucker becomes crazed with jealousy and arranges for Gunnar to have an accident at work. Later at his friend’s hospital bedside, Brucker is struck with guilt, but Gunnar brushes it off, advising his friend to ‘swear off dames’. Meanwhile, Mary – who has been basically well-intentioned throughout – is rejected by both.

Browning speaks to the impossibility of interpersonal relationships in an environment where people rush into them too fast and for the wrong reasons: the ‘fast workers’ of the title ultimately describes the haste to marry for money and security during desperate economic times and the emotional costs of doing this. For the characters in Fast Workers this makes lasting relationships impossible to find.

Conclusion

From Freaks to Fast Workers to the unrealised They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? – it is clear to see the transition that Browning was trying to make – away from horror films to social dramas that reflected the trauma of the Great Depression. However, Freaks and Fast Workers were both box-office disasters (none of Browning’s subsequent films managed to turn a profit) which forced Browning to remain within the horror genre to make Mark of the Vampire (1935) and the Devil Doll (1936) – neither of them bad films but both lacking the social commentary of previous films. Browning was trying to play it safe, and for good reason: Freaks had been scapegoated by moral reformers and critics of the Hays Code. Even so, in the conservative moral backlash that was rapidly sweeping the country, Browning was considered a ‘risk’, and by the end of the 1930s was unable to get any further projects greenlit. After Miracles For Sale (1939) he never made another film.

Browning himself felt he had been blackballed by Hollywood. His subsequent rejection of cinema reflects the bitterness of a man excluded from his profession because of his wider political viewpoint. “When I quit a thing, I quit”, he is quoted as saying. “I wouldn’t walk across the street now to see a movie”.25 By then the eugenics movement had faded in popularity largely due to Hitler. Freaks had been taken off screens shortly after release. MGM had pulled it from a fairly successful New York engagement, deciding it was too much of a public relations problem. It would not be rediscovered until the 1960s – the era of Vietnam – where it would be seen, according to David J. Skal, as a countercultural text by a ‘profoundly alienated generation’.26

However, in its ‘big people’ vs ‘little people’ can be seen, says Skal, ‘an exaggerated reflection of the unbalanced economics and wide-spread disenfranchisement that characterised the Great Depression’27 – a disenfranchisement that the eugenics movement attempted to justify.

Are we likely to see a revival of eugenics in the near future? According to Garland E. Allen, the answer is very likely yes.

Writing in Science in 2001, Allen argued that the early 20th-century eugenics movement was a product of a particular economic, social, and scientific context: a highly transitional period in American economic and industrial expansion. ‘There was enough logic to the eugenic argument – saving the hard-pressed taxpayer the burden of supporting masses of supposedly defective people – to give it popular appeal’28, writes Allen. For the wealthy benefactors that supported eugenics it provided a means of social control in a period of unprecedented upheaval, and it was these same economic elites that introduced the scientific management of eugenics into the industrial sector. ‘We are poised at the threshold of a similar period in our own history’ states Allen ‘and are adopting a similar mind frame as our predecessors’.29

Allen cites the 1996 best-seller The Bell Curve as resurrecting claims that there are genetic differences in intelligence between races, leading to different socio-economic status.30 Claims about the genetic basis for criminality, manic depression, risk-taking, alcoholism, homosexuality, and a host of other behaviours have also, according to Allen, been rampant in recent scientific and especially popular literature. Allen also expresses concern for the ‘bottom line, cost-benefit analysis of human life’ that is being increasingly adopted by healthcare providers in the United States, arguing that this has serious implications for reproductive decisions. ‘If a health maintenance organization requires in utero screening, and refuses to cover the birth or care of a purportedly” defective” child, how close is this to eugenics?’31 asks Allen.

Allen concludes: ‘If the argument that eugenics is the product of deteriorating economic or social conditions is correct then much will depend on the overall social context that develops in the United States and around the world in the next decade or two. We must demand programs and policies that would alter the economic and social conditions created by our free market economy, which will, if they are allowed to follow their present course, surely create the conditions in which eugenic solutions can, and most likely will, be once again considered acceptable.’32

***

Tod Browning spent the rest of his life in enforced retirement. He never got to make They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?  But how he might have approached the material is suggested in this quote from Browning himself:

If you are cold and lonely and out of a job on a raw winter’s night you will join an audience composed of people who appear to have every right to feel as wretched as yourself, and with them you will get the thrill of being able to feel sorry for someone.33

End notes.

  1. See Gomery, Douglas (2005), The Hollywood Studio System: A History, BFI, London.
  2. See Sontag, Susan (1965) ‘The Imagination of Disaster’ in Against Interpretation and Other Essays, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p209.
  3. Skal, The Monster Show, p147-148.
  4. Rosenthal, p114.
  5. See Skal and Savada, p166.
  6. ibid.
  7. See my article “’An Abomination on the Silver Sheet’: In Defence of Tod Browning’s Skill as a Director in the Sound Era (on ‘Freaks’)”. Bright Lights Film Journal. http://brightlightsfilm.com/tod-browning-director-in-the-sound-era-analysis-of-the-opening-of-freaks/
  8. Adams, p71.
  9. Adams, p70.
  10. Adams, p71.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Adams, p65.
  13. Adams, p67.
  14. Adams, p68.
  15. Adams, p69.
  16. Adams, p64.
  17. See Lombardo, Paul, ‘Eugenic Laws Against Race Mixing’ http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/html/eugenics/essay7text.html
  18. See Rosenthal, p13.
  19. Adams, p80.
  20. Adams, p237-238.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Adams, p80.
  23. Email to the author 9/10/08
  24. Rosenthal, p44.
  25. Quoted in Skal and Savada, p206.
  26. Skal and Savada, p228.
  27. Ibid.
  28. Allen, Garland E. (2001) ‘Is a New Eugenics Afoot?’ in Science, New Series, Vol. 294, No. 5540 (Oct. 5, 2001), p61.
  29. Ibid.
  30. See Hernstein, Richard J. and Murray, Charles A. (1996), The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, Simon and Schuster.
  31. Ibi
  32. Allen, ‘The Ideology of Elimination: American and German Eugenics, 1900-1945’ p37.
  33. Quoted in Skal and Savada, p192.

About Jon Towlson

Jon Towlson is a film critic and the author of CANDYMAN (DEVIL'S ADVOCATES) (Auteur/Columbia University Press, 2018), THE TURN TO GRUESOMENESS IN AMERICAN HORROR FILMS, 1931-1936 (McFarland, 2016), CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (CONSTELLATIONS) (Auteur/Columbia University Press, 2016) and SUBVERSIVE HORROR CINEMA: COUNTERCULTURAL MESSAGES OF FILMS FROM FRANKENSTEIN TO THE PRESENT (McFarland, 2014).

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