The Last Laugh
(Der Letzte Mann)

Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov
Screening on Film
Directed by F.W. Murnau.
With Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft.
Germany, 1924, 35mm, black & white, silent, 85 min.
Print source: HFA

J is for Jannings... At Last

This tragic tale of an aging hotel doorman who is demoted to lavatory duty features a landmark Expressionist performance by the great character actor Emil Jannings, who imbues the character’s wounded pride with near-mythic resonance. The first film to bring German director Murnau to international acclaim, this silent film classic transforms the doorman’s humiliation at losing his cherished coat into a parable of the German obsession with the trappings of rank. The story is told without recourse to intertitles, relying instead on innovative visual exposition and the groundbreaking camerawork of Karl Freund.

Part of film series

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive

Other film series with this film

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: Actors E–J

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Haunted Visions:
The Films of F.W. Murnau

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Decadent Shadows. The Cinema of Weimar Germany