Wednesday, October 7, 2009

24. Der Letzte Mann/The Last Laugh (1924)

Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed By: F.W. Murnau
Written By: Carl Mayer
Main Cast: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller, Emilie Kurz, Hans Unterkircher


Received The Last Laugh in the mail today from Netflix and at only a running time on ninety minutes, decided to knock it off the list right away.

The movie starts with an aging man who is working as a doorman at the Atlantic hotel, and quite proud of his job, is he, indeed. We see him early having a bit of trouble carrying in one of the guests' pieces of luggage, and a little later on we see him receive a letter from the hotel manager, relieving him of his doorman duties and demoting him to washroom attendant, due to his rising age.

From here we see him go a bit mad. A once chipper, happy, proud man now a depressed, barren, old man, going through the motions of his new job. Prior to being relieved he happens to make off with his old uniform and continues to wear his uniform to and from work to lead his family and friends to believe that nothing has changed. When his wife comes to visit him at work, she finds him in the washroom and after letting out a shriek runs home and within minutes his entire apartment complex is aware that he's a lowly washroom attendant.

When the man is seemingly near death and sunken deep into depression, the movie's only title card is shown and reads: "Here the story should really end, for, in real life, the forlorn old man would have little to look forward to but death. The author took pity on him and has provided a quite improbable epilogue." From here we are shown a ridiculous ending where the old man inherits a fortune, a move that, in my opinion, really lessened the quality of this picture.

Up until the ridiculous ending, I was considering this a fairly average movie, not great, yet not terrible either. It was an absolute tragedy to see this old man, who took such pride in the job that he carried, demoted to a new, lowly job and to see his complete and utter breakdown. Unlike Murnau's Nosferatu, there were very little spectacular camera shots, save for the one shot when the wife finds her husband working in the washroom, and we get a quick zoom in, to her terrorized face. But all in all, the ending really brought this down for me, as it seemed like a cheap way to make the viewer leave with a happy feeling.

RATING: 4/10 I probably could've gone with a five or six, if they hadn't tacked on that ending, but as a whole this movie was nothing spectacular, in my eyes.

NEXT UP: Seven Chances...More Keaton!!!

October 7, 2009 6:19pm

1 comment:

  1. Sounds pretty boring to me, you are doing a great job with this project! Stick with it.


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