Last Laugh, The | Der letzte Mann – dir. Friedriech Wilhelm Murnau, 1924

date: 30/07/2012 time: 10:00 place: PGE Cinema film program: German Expressionism artistic program: films

DE | 1924 | 77 min
reż|dir Friedriech Wilhelm Murna prod|pro Erich Pommer scen|wr Carl Mayer zdj|ph Karl Freund ob|cast Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller, Emilie Kurz, Hans Unterkircher dys|dis Transit Film GmbH


Experienced doorman from the Atlantic hotel (remarkable Emil Jannings) is very proud about his profession, responsibilities and uniform. One rainy night, having  dragged heavy luggage he must rest for a while. Unfortunately, at that very moment his superior passes him by witnessing his idleness. Having appeared at work the following day he learns that he was replaced as a doorman and demoted to a bathroom assistant. Humiliated, he grieves especially over his splendid uniform.

Murnau recounts this deeply intimate and psychologically rich story with extraordinary mastery of cinematic language. His introduction of so called unchained camera was of particular significance – it made camerawork more free and shots more subjective thus portraying emotional states of the character. It is worth mentioning that the film barely contains inter-titles. Lotte Eisner wrote: “It is a genuinely German tragedy, comprehensible only in a country where a uniform is a god”. The masterpiece is a top achievement of Kammerspiel movement that existed within expressionism and was discernible by intimate depiction of its characters’ fortunes.