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The Last Laugh (1924)

Der letzte Mann (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 5 January 1925 (USA)
An aging doorman is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbors and society after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious hotel.

Director:

F.W. Murnau

Writer:

Carl Mayer
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Emil Jannings ... Hotelportier [Hotel Doorman]
Maly Delschaft ... Seine Nichte [His Niece]
Max Hiller Max Hiller ... Ihr Bräutigam [Her Bridegroom]
Emilie Kurz Emilie Kurz ... Tante des Bräutigams [Bridegroom's Aunt]
Hans Unterkircher Hans Unterkircher ... Geschäftsführer [Hotel Manager]
Olaf Storm ... Junger Gast [Young Guest]
Hermann Vallentin ... Spitzbäuchiger Gast [Potbellied Guest]
Georg John ... Nachtwächter [Night Watchman]
Emmy Wyda Emmy Wyda ... Dünne Nachbarin [Thin Neighbor]
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Storyline

Emil Jannings is the doorman of the elegant Atlantic Hotel. He is proud of his uniform and function, and respected by his community. When he reaches the old age, he has difficulties to carry trucks and suitcases. The hotel manager decides to change his function to washroom attendant. This apparently simple action is enough to destroy him as a human being. He loses his self-respect and when his neighbor finds that he is janitor of the hotel, he loses the respect of his neighbors and friends. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest film story ever told-and not a title in it! Most entrancing love story of all time-without a single lover! Bigger than anything you've ever seen. A human interest story taken from a page of life. (Print Ad- Twin City Review, ((Champaign, Ills.)) 31 July 1925)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Alfred Hitchcock, who was working in Germany at the UFA studios at the time of this production, F.W. Murnau had all the street signs, posters and shop signs done in a version of Esperanto. See more »

Goofs

When the porter comes home with the stolen coat, the third button down (which fell off earlier) is still there until a close-up of him at the door. See more »

User Reviews

 
uniform vs identity
4 December 2001 | by krebstarSee all my reviews

There can be no doubt that costumes were highly important in The Last Laugh. The topic was actually build upon a costume anywise. The doorman's uniform was a symbol for prestige, high-honor, the key to be well treated in every situation. He was giving extreme importance to his outlook while he was working as a doorman. We saw this when he was twisting his mustache in front of the hotel. Not only him but also his family and his neighbors even show great respect to his uniform as well. Neighbors stop patting their carpets not to spread dust on his uniform, men bow and take out their hats when he passes by, at home niece's mother sews the button of the uniform with great care... It seems that by doing all this, they are appreciating the prestige the costume has brought to their lives and in a way showing appreciation by keeping it in perfect shape. Last Laugh there wasn't much of a contrast in terms of colors. The contrast was in terms of the different treatment the doorman received after his job loss. It was clear that after the loss of his job, nobody was friendly to him anymore. Also the contrast between the rich and the poor was underlined. There was a parallel editing of the ex-doorman drinking his soup in the toilet and the rich people having their dinner at the hotel's restaurant.

There were lots of dolly ins and outs, tracking movements, dialectical montage, close-ups and parallel editing in it. Dollies are often used in shocking situations. It is used when the ex-doorman's relative sees him working at the toilet. As it is a shocking situation, camera dollies-in very fast to the woman's horrified face. The same function of dolly-in occurs when the ex-doorman comes to the hotel in the morning and sees from far away the new doorman. It is a fast dolly as well. With these unexpected dollies, the audience is always kept tense knowing that the reality may strike at any moment. Dialectical montage is seen quite a lot of times as well. It occurs when the doorman looks left and then we see the wedding dress. Therefore we understand that it is the dress he is looking. On the whole doorman's uniform seems to be controlling his life and that he is blindly obeying what the uniform brings to him. In this way, he is like a citizen unquestioning the authority of the government. Finally, Last Laugh is a classics which have influenced and will continue to influence other artistic works through generations.


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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

None

Release Date:

5 January 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Laugh See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$94,812
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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