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The Last Laugh (1924)

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

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 Olaf Storm ... Junger Gast [Young Guest]
Hermann Vallentin 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 | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany

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, 31 December 1925
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

When the porter loads the trunk on his back in the rain, the rain isn't falling on it. Once he takes a couple of steps, it is. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Deadly Circuit (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A classic movie from the silent era that is well worth hunting out
14 December 2004 | by Lunar JetmanSee all my reviews

Warning - Possible spoilers lie within.

This is the first silent movie I have watched in its entirety, having previously found myself becoming restless and distracted, I normally find them quite difficult to watch. I came across the Criterion edition of the movie in a large collection of Laserdiscs that I purchased recently, and decided to give it a try. I was speechless.

'The Last Laugh' (or 'The Last Man', as its translation would lead you to believe, is a touching story from director F.W. Murnau about an un-named Hotel Porter & Doorman (played excellently by Emil Jannings) who, through no fault of his own, is demoted to Lavatory attendant, and we hereby watch as his life collapses around him. It's an incredibly emotional story - during his downfall, as his friends and family mock him, Jannings' depressed, hunched-over figure can be painfully sad to watch. I found myself filling up in the scene when he finally hands his beloved porter's uniform over to the night watchman.

A landmark in the era of silent films, Murnau used some very clever camera tricks (such as smearing vaseline on the camera lens for 'dream' sequences). It was also one of the first films to use a completely free moving camera with no tripod, testimony to the success of this can be seen immediately in the first scene as the film starts. There are also no title cards in the film. Nor are they needed - The story is carried perfectly by the actors and on no occasion do you feel that you don't know what is going on.

I won't give anything away here, but there are some people that may feel the ending is a little out of place - However, I had grown so fond on Jannings' character that in a way, I was relieved to see the film move on from the final scene where he is sat hunched on the seat in the washroom - and for him to finally have 'The Last Laugh' so to speak :o)

If you have any interest in old cinema, and have not seen this, or just fancy a change from all of the samey Hollywood flicks being churned out right now, I suggest you hunt out a copy right away. Highly recommended.


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