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The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh

Director: F.W. Murnau Cast: Emil Jannings
Emil Jannings
, Kurt Hiller
Kurt Hiller
, Emelie Kurtz
Emelie Kurtz
F.W. Murnau
The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh

Director: F.W. Murnau Cast: Emil Jannings
Emil Jannings
, Kurt Hiller
Kurt Hiller
, Emelie Kurtz
Emelie Kurtz
F.W. Murnau


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F.W. Murnau's German silent classic The Last Laugh (Der Letze Mann) stars Emil Jannings as the doorman of a posh Berlin hotel. Fiercely proud of his job, Jannings comports himself like a general in his resplendent costume, and is treated like royalty by his friends and neighbors. The hotel's insensitive new manager, noting that Jannings seems winded after carrying several heavy pieces of luggage for a patron, decides that the old man is no longer up to his job. The manager demotes Jannings to men's washroom attendant, and the effect is disastrous on the man's prestige and self-esteem. Logically, the film should end on a note of tragedy, but Murnau (either because he was ordered to by the producers or because he just felt like it) adds a near-surrealistic coda, wherein Jannings, having suddenly inherited a fortune, returns to the hotel in triumph. The Last Laugh was a bold experiment for its time: a film told entirely visually, with no subtitles save for the semi-satirical explanation of the climax. In a sense, Karl Freund's camera is as much a "character" as anyone else, commenting upon Jannings' rise and fall via then-revolutionary camera angles, jarring movements and grotesque lens distortions. Many historians credit The Last Laugh as the vanguard of the "German invasion" of Hollywood during the mid- to late-1920s.

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Product Details

Release Date: 11/14/2017
UPC: 0738329215453
Original Release: 1924
Rating: NR
Source: Kino Classics
Region Code: A
Time: 1:30:00

Special Features

New musical score (2017) by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra, Sheldon Mirowitz, Artistic Director; Original 1925 score by Giuseppe Becce, orchestrated by Detlev Glanert (2003); Audio Commentary by film historian Noah Isenberg; "The Last Laugh: The Making Of," A 40-minute documentary; Bonus DVD featuring the unrestored export version with music by Timothy Brock, performed by the Olympia Chamber Orchestra

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Emil Jannings The doorman
Kurt Hiller The Daughter's Fiance
Emelie Kurtz His Aunt
Hans Unterkirchen Hotel manager
Emmy Wyde Thin Neighbor
Maly Delschaft The doorman's niece
Max Hiller Her bridegroom
Olaf Storm Young Guest
Hermann Vallentin Guest with pointed belly
Georg John Night Watchman

Technical Credits
F.W. Murnau Director
Robert Baberske Cinematographer
Giuseppe Becce Score Composer
Karl W. Freund Cinematographer
Robert Herlth Art Director,Production Designer
Carl Mayer Screenwriter
Erich Pommer Producer
Walter Röhrig Art Director,Production Designer
Edgar G. Ulmer Production Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Last Laugh
1. Opening Titles [:35]
2. The Atlantic [:35]
3. Tenement Life [5:54]
4. Daybreak [2:21]
5. Demotion [7:23]
6. Defrocked [6:00]
7. The Theft [5:49]
8. The Wedding [4:41]
9. The Dream [4:03]
10. Reality [4:14]
11. The Depths [5:41]
12. Prying Eyes [5:48]
13. The Ugly Truth [5:14]
14. The Darkest Hour [9:46]
15. The Last Laugh [4:39]
16. Big Spender [5:33]
17. The New Man [3:33]
18. Grand Exit [3:58]
19. Chapter 19 [2:27]

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