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LAST LAUGH, THE (LETZTE MANN, DER)

LAST LAUGH, THE
Scene from "The Last Laugh" (photo © Filmmuseum Berlin/Deutsche Kinemathek)

The porter of the grand hotel is old and feeble and, although he does his job well, he is stripped of his identity and pride when the hotel director demotes him to a restroom attendant. On the very day of his demotion, his niece celebrates her wedding. He secretly wears his old uniform so that he too can shine among the guests at the wedding. But his few moments of regained pride turn out to be a harsh awakening when he is recognized by an envious colleague. The poor old man seems doomed to spend his remaining years cleaning up the hotel restrooms, until a wealthy young man dies in his restroom one day, and leaves his estate to the person in whose arms he dies.


Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau was born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe in Bielefeld on 28 December 1888. He studied Philology in Berlin and History of Art and Literature in Heidelberg, and then broke off his studies to attend the Max Reinhardt Drama School and became a regular member of the ensemble from 1913. He directed such films as Nosferatu (1922), The Last Laugh (Der letzte Mann, 1924), Faust - A German Folk Tale (Faust - eine deutsche Volkssage, 1925/126) and Tartueff (1926), among others. In 1925, he received a four-year contract from Hollywood and made the masterpiece Sunrise (1927) before severing his contract to make Tabu in the South Seas. He was killed in a car accident a week before Tabu's premiere in 1931.
Genre Drama
Category Feature, Silent
Year of Production 1924
Director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Screenplay Carl Mayer
Cinematography Karl Freund
Giuseppe Becce, Peter Schirmann, Werner Schmidt-Boelcke
Walter Roehrig, Robert Herlth
Cast Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller, Emilie Kurz, Hans Unterkircher, Olaf Storm, Hermann Vallentin, Emmy Wyda, Erich Schoenfelder, Georg John, Emil Jannings
Producer Erich Pommer
Production Company Ufa/Berlin
Length 75 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Original Version
 silent with German Intertitles
Intertitled Versions German, English, French
Festivals Berlin 2003 (Retrospective), Cambridge 2008, Angers 2013, Festival do Rio 2013, Kolkata 2019
German Distributor Transit Film/Munich

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