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The Last Laugh (1924)

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A masterpiece by F.W. Murnau.  The film stars Emil Jannings as a unnamed hotel doorman at the luxurious Atlantic Hotel in Germany.  Maly Delschaft plays his unnamed niece.  Max Hiller played her unnamed Bridesgroom.  The doorman takes great pride in his job.  One day he is demoted by his manager (who thinks he is getting too old to represent the hotel ) to wash room attendant.  Its a very simple but powerful plot that I will leave right there.

I saw a rough copy on Youtube. Kino Lorber has a restored version.  The camerawork and lighting is just fantastic even in this rough copy.  Karl Freund  ( Metropolis) is the cinematographer.  His innovation of the unchained camera technique is used here.  Another fascinating part of the production by Murnau is the lack of intertitles.  Its a effect which really heightened the mastery of the acting and production of the film.  The original scoring of the film is by Giuseppe Becce.  Its very powerful.  On the Kino restoration you have the choice of the original score or a new score by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra.  I have heard snippets of the new score but prefer the original.  ( Late edit)  There are HD versions of the film floating around on Youtube with the new score.

This is a very powerful film and it paved the way for the bigger productions that Murnau was able to do later.  Its a masterpiece and I rate it a solid 10 out of 10...









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