It's New Year's Eve. Three drunkards evoke a legend. The legend tells that the last person to die in a year, if he is a great sinner, will have to drive during the whole year the Phantom ... See full summary »
The experienced doorman at the Atlantic Hotel is quite proud of his position, his responsibilities, and his uniform. One busy, rainy night, he has to take a short rest after lugging a heavy suitcase in from the rain. Unfortunately, his manager comes by during the short time when he is not performing his duties. The next day, when the doorman arrives for work, he learns that he has been replaced as doorman, and has been re-assigned to the less strenuous but purely menial position of washroom attendant. Stunned and humiliated, the old man struggles to carry on with his life. Written by
People seem compelled to speak in superlative-terms when talking about the great directors; which film is their greatest, which ones are underrated, etc. But this is a film so simple in its themes, so modest in its methods, that it doesn't lend itself to these labels very easily.
"Nosferatu" was revolutionary, but based on intensity, something that doesn't age very well. Other directors took up this notion of visual intensity (Leni, Boese) but structuralized it, and created the real German Horror masterpieces ("Waxworks," "Golem"). Murnau's discovery came later, with this film. That film narrative wasn't something that you followed linearly, but something you become immersed in. The lack of title-cards is not a gimmick, but a conscious decision not to interrupt the flow of this immersion. Reading is rational (hearing, slightly less so) and prevents this from taking place.
Add a Gogolian tale of aging and dignity, and Murnau makes magic. This is what "touching" and "moving" films should be like.
4 out of 5 - An excellent film
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