8.1/10
10,757
55 user 74 critic

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
Reviews

Watch Now

From $4.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Faust (1926)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn
Phantom (1922)
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A shiftless young man becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman and yearns to find her again.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Alfred Abel, Frida Richard, Aud Egede-Nissen
Drama | Romance | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On the South Pacific island of Bora Bora, a young couple's love is threatened when the tribal chief declares the girl a sacred virgin.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Anne Chevalier, Matahi, Hitu
Tartuffe (1925)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Young man shows his millionaire grandfather a film based on Molière's Tartuffe, in order to expose the old man's hypocritical governess who covets his own inheritance.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Hermann Picha, Rosa Valetti, André Mattoni
Sunrise (1927)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him. Both sides are made flesh - one a sophisticated woman he is attracted to and the other his wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The likeable and carefree Grand Duke of Abacco is in dire straits. There is no money left to service the State's debt; the main creditor is looking forward to expropriating the entire Duchy... See full summary »

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Mady Christians, Harry Liedtke, Robert Scholtz
Greed (1924)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In the castle Vogeloed, a few aristocrats are awaiting baroness Safferstätt. But first count Oetsch invites himself.. Everyone thinks he murdered his brother, baroness Safferstat's first ... See full summary »

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Arnold Korff, Lulu Kyser-Korff, Lothar Mehnert
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life.

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker
Edit

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]
Edit

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Germany

Release Date:

5 January 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Laugh See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first "dolly" (a device that allows a camera to move during a shot) was created for this film. According to Edgar G. Ulmer, who worked on the film, the idea to make the first dolly came from the desire to focus on Emil Jannings' face during the first shot of the movie, as he moved through the hotel. They obviously didn't know how to make a dolly technically, so they created the first one out of a baby's carriage. They then pulled the carriage on a sort of railway that was built on the studio. See more »

Goofs

A hand-cranked camera is reflected in a glass door. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Silent Movies Have Belated Last Laugh
23 December 2003 | by Ben_CheshireSee all my reviews

F. W Murnau works are rare things - he made very few compared to other directors of his day, and many of those he did make have been lost. The reason he made so few can perhaps be understood by watching The Last Laugh. Like Chaplin, Kubrick and Leone, the effort that went into a single picture was the same effort another director might spread across ten. Nosferatu, his famous Dracula story, is great, and i hear his Faust and Sunrise are also things to behold - but many regard "The Last Laugh" as his masterwork, and also one of the greatest movies of all time. Lillian Gish once said that she never approved of the talkies - she felt that silents were starting to create a whole new art form. She was right, but the proof of this can not be seen in the work of Griffith, who was her frequent collaborator, and who she probably was thinking about when she made this statement - but in the work of German director F. W Murnau.

D. W Griffith is usually shunned for his stance on racial issues and praised for his abilities as an influential film artist. I believe he doesn't deserve this praise - and this movie is why. Not only was Griffith about as subtle as a migraine, but watching a Griffith silent, you get more words than images. There's a title card telling you what is about to happen in every image before it does. The images themselves are almost unnecessary - his style is more literary than cinematic. The difference between watching Griffith's Intolerance and watching F. W Murnau's The Last Laugh is like the difference between watching a silent comedy by Hal Roach and one by Charlie Chaplin. The latter of each pair (Murnau and Chaplin) were visualists and artists, using few words, constructing beauty and high emotion through seemingly simple situations (a tramp who discovers a lost child, or a hotel doorman who loses his job, which is the basis of The Last Laugh).

Silent directors strove to and were praised for their ability to tell stories through images alone, as much as possible, and this is one of the reasons silent cinema reached its pinnacle in F. W Murnau's The Last Laugh - which tells the story of a proud hotel doorman (Emil Jennings), who, after many years of service, is demoted from his position to a mens' bathroom attendant. Murnau tells an incredibly sensitive and human tale, showing how much the job meant to him by having him go to work instead of going to his daughter's wedding. He shows how the position made him respected in his neighbourhood, and how he could not face the neighbourhood without his doorman's uniform. And he tells the story almost entirely through images.

There are no title cards telling us what the images are - they are allowed to speak for themselves. The few words used are worked in through letters and signs. Many silent directors cheated and used title cards to explain the images, but only in this movie did the art form of silent movies, which Lillian Gish refers to, take shape.

I was amazed at the level of depth and emotional complexity that Murnau was capable of conveying without resorting to title cards (or their equivalent in talkies, the voice-over). This movie is also notable for its brilliant use of expressionism, and the first brilliant use of a tracking shot. In Murnau's The Last Laugh, silent movies metaphorically were given movement, and learned to run.


43 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 55 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed