The Last Laugh [DVD] [1924]

F.W. Murnau's classic silent film The Last Laugh comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Stereo. There are neither subtitles nor closed-captions on this release. Supplemental materials include excerpts from the alternate version of the film that was made available to exhibitors, and a still photo gallery. This is a fine release that should be of interest to anyone with an interest in the lost art form of silent cinema.
$22.99
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Overview

Synopsis

The Last Laugh
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. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Emil Jannings
    Emil Jannings - The doorman
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    Hans Unterkirchen - Hotel manager
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    Emmy Wyde - Thin Neighbor
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    Maly Delschaft - The doorman's niece
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    Max Hiller - Her bridegroom
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