UFA Film Nights

Silent Film Classics with Live Musical Accompaniment

And – as extended Version – THE PHYSICIAN

Open Air in the Heart of Berlin

The Last Laugh

August 23
Start: 21.00, Doors open: 20:30

1924

Director: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Script: Carl Mayer
Camera: Karl Freund
Production: UFA
Producer: Erich Pommer
Actors: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller, Emilie Kurz, Hans Unterkircher, Olaf Storm, Hermann Vallentin, Georg John, Emmy Wyda
Length: 90 min

“One day you are preeminent, respected by all...a minister, a general, maybe even a prince. But, what will you be tomorrow?!” viewers are asked in the opening scene of “The Last Laugh.”

In “The Last Laugh,” Murnau delivers a timeless parable on the ups and downs of life and the importance of status symbols. The film tells the story of an aging porter. Each evening after work, the porter, dressed in his splendid uniform, struts home to the working-class district, where he is much admired by all. But from one day to the next, he loses the job that filled him with so much pride. The old porter is demoted to lavatory attendant; now the laughing-stock of his neighbors, and cast out by his relatives, the old man retreats to the basement. But they will see who has “the last laugh” – thanks to the fortune left to him by a wealthy customer, the toilet man becomes a courted hotel guest.

Emil Jannings, possibly the greatest actor of his time, gives a brilliant portrayal of a man who loses his reputation and dignity with the loss of his porter’s uniform – symbolizing the social decline of millions of people during the economic crisis.

“The Last Laugh” also made cinematic history for its use of a new camera technique, the “unfettered” camera Karl Freund used here for the first time.

Music: Deutsche Oper Berlin’s UFA Brass conducted by Manfred Honetschläger, based on a new original composition by Manfred Honetschläger