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Prima di tutto : questo film non solo è muto, ma non ha neanche gli intertitoli, quindi che l'edizione sia italiana tedesca o uzbeka cambia poco.
L'unica scritta che va capita introduce, e giustifica, il finale; finale che molti critici considerano posticcio, voluto dalla produzione preoccupata per la scarsa attrattiva di un film che racconta il lento declino di un anziano portiere d'albergo, dai fasti della sontuosa uniforme all'umiliazione di servire nei gabinetti, e che altrimenti si sarebbe concluso con la dolorosa disfatta del protagonista.
Sarà pure posticcio, il finale (non so se a Murnau fosse così facile imporre qualcosa, anche da parte della potentissima "UFA"), ma è così pieno di grazia...
Il film è un autentico capolavoro, compattissimo dal punto di vista stilistico, pieno di invenzioni visive e magie fotografiche. Il disegno scenografico, i giochi di luce ed ombra, i sorprendenti movimenti di macchina contribuiscono alla narrazione in modo perfetto. E poi Jannings offre una prova eccezionale.
Il titolo originale è "L'ultimo uomo", in Italia è sempre circolato come "L'ultima risata". Che si alluda agli ultimi che saranno i primi o a coloro che ridono bene per ultimi, il senso non cambia: la fortuna arriva inaspettatamente e dà modo al nostro eroe di mostrare modestia e gentilezza.
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37 di 41 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
On DVD at last...6 giugno 2001
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
The lack of sound in a silent film often heightens the emotional intensity rather than diminishing it; such is the case in THE LAST LAUGH, a film that turns a rather mundane premise (an old man loses his job) into a visually potent and emotionally powerful experience. The absence of sound, and in fact, the near absence of words via title cards, is especially appropriate for the film's depiction of loneliness, despair, and mental stupor. Sound could add little, if anything at all, to the towering performance by Emil Jannings (who was actually much younger than his character), who conveys a wide array of emotions with only body gestures and facial expressions. To correct the technical info above, this Kino DVD edition is for ALL REGIONS. It also contains some extra material: an excerpt from the German version showing the "epilogue" title card in German, and a still gallery. The picture of this DVD looks exactly the same as that of the Criterion laserdisc made in '93 -- picture is in good shape overall, but the image often looks soft, and details are sometimes hard to make out. While playing the disc on a PC with a software DVD player, I have to turn on "force BOB mode" in order to eliminate the frequent motion artifacts. On my non-progressive scan standalone DVD player, however, I do not see any motion artifacts, but paused frames are sometimes unstable and jittery. The score on the LD, composed by Timothy Brock, is also used for the DVD. The running time of 91 minutes shown on the DVD case is incorrect. It runs 88 minutes, same as the Criterion LD. I was surprised that the PCFriendly software is included on this disc (and it will auto-run on your PC), but there is no DVD-ROM feature at all.
17 di 18 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
An example of Murnau at his best17 agosto 2008
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
F.W. Murnau didn't have a typical storyline - he could do pure Gothic horror as in Nosferatu, social commentary as in Phantom, fantasy with a religious theme as in Faust, and the redemption of love as in Sunrise. What ties Murnau's work together is its imagery. He excelled at it as few directors ever did. "The Last Laugh" is a tale about an older man who is proud of his position as doorman at a prominent German hotel. One night he has had to carry some heavy luggage as part of his duties and he takes a break. As luck would have it, his supervisor sees him taking this short rest and assumes the worst. The next day the old man is reassigned to the job of washroom attendant. He does his best to hide his change of position from his friends, but they find out anyway. To make matters worse, they assume he's always been lying about his job and that he has thus always been a washroom attendant. At this point you might wonder - why exactly is this film named The Last Laugh? There is a somewhat tacked on ending that is the foundation of the film's title. I won't spoil it for you.
This is a two disc edition because there are two versions of the film included. The extras include a 40 minute documentary on the making of The Last Laugh that was included with the last edition of the film that was in The F.W. Murnau Collection (Nosferatu/The Last Laugh/Faust/Tabu/Tartuffe). I thought that the video was perfectly clear on that version, so I'm curious to see what further remastering has done for the visual clarity of the film. The documentary is well-done and quite detailed. This somewhat surprised me since if Kino has a flaw in its DVD productions it is this - it sometimes misses the point entirely of multimedia presentation and of the extra space DVD affords you for extra features. I personally want commentary and featurettes to go with these films, not the text notes that Kino often includes that leave me - at age 50 - squinting at the TV screen.
8 di 8 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
Emil Jannings and F.W. Murneau at their best14 gennaio 2011
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
When F.W. Murmau landed Emil Jannings to play the lead role in this movie, Jannings was perhaps THE most sought after actor in all of Weimar Germany.
It was the 1920s and the era in which Jannings would also play the Devil himself in Faust (also directed by Murnau) and for his part Murnau would also direct the justly famous Nosferatu as well as Sunrise which would share honors at the first ever Academy Awards ceremonies.
By 1931 Murnau would be dead in a tragic car accident and by the 1930s Jannings would ironically sell his soul to the Devil by acting in Third Reich propaganda movies. By the end of World War II Jannings would be out of film until his death.
In other words, when doing this movie both these extremely talented men were at the very top of their creative peak.
And it shows.
Ostensibly the boring story of a hotel doorman who loses his job because he's too old, Jannings brings every minute he's on screen to life with his vivid characterizations. The movie has very few title cards and frankly doesn't need them owing to the way in which Jannings so consistently and expertly keeps the audience visually on board with what's going on.
In deference to the few who don't know why this movie is entitled The Last Laugh I will simply say that this movie is worth watching to the end.
5 di 5 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
"Take away a man's uniform - what is left?"19 dicembre 2010
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Appearances can be deceptive. If you were to judge by appearances, this would seem to be one of Emil Jannings' ever-popular exercises in onscreen humiliation (The Blue Angel, The Last Command) - and no one did humiliation like Jannings, the man with the most expressive back and shoulders in cinema. A huge worldwide star in the silent era and the first Best Actor Oscar winner, his career and reputation subsequently marred by the Nazi films he made during the war, the film has survived its star's disgrace to become one of the enduring greats. Its story may be simple, but the execution is absolutely extraordinary, the film still seeming extraordinarily fresh and modern even today - a film with an energy and a beating heart that makes for an invigorating piece of pure cinema.
Adapted from Nikolai Gogol's The Coat and a Broadway adaptation by Charles W. Goddard (the film's title actually translates from German as The Last Man, as in The Bible's `the last shall be first'), it taps into both the Germans' love of uniforms and the universal tendency to judge others by their appearance. Jannings plays the much-respected chief porter of the prestigious Hotel Atlantic. He may live in a neighbourhood not many steps above a slum, but as long as he has his grandiose military-style porter's uniform, he has the respect of everyone in his neighbourhood. It is the uniform, not money, that is the source of his power and authority, but when he is demoted after a humiliatingly pathetic display of physical strength shows his age, he is stripped of the overcoat like a disgraced officer being cashiered before the entire regiment and sent to work as a lavatory attendant instead, the lowliest position in the entire hotel. At first he attempts to hide his dishonour, but once his secret is out his neighbours' attitudes change almost immediately from love and admiration to contempt as he becomes a joke in their eyes. The only compassion he receives is from the night watchman in a moving drunken scene that you suspect everyone but Jannings wanted for the finale.
Yet far from this being a case of just deserts, Jannings' protagonist is a decent man for all his surface pomposity. All he has is the respect his position bestows on him, and once that is gone it is genuinely tragic to see this huge man shrink into himself. It's that human aspect that ultimately is the film's greatest achievement: it's as emotional and moving as it is technically innovative. And the film is incredibly innovative.
An attempt to make a silent film with no captions, the film tells its story with images and body language, with only a shot of a letter and a very reluctant onscreen excuse for the unbelievable epilogue imposed on him by his star breaking the flow of images (Murnau passed on the opportunity to direct The Blue Angel, fearing that Jannings would once again demand a happy ending: Jannings even suggested his Last Laugh co-star Molly Delschart for the Dietrich role!). Boasting the top talent in German cinema of the day (a screenplay by The Cabinet of Dr Caligari's Carl Mayer, produced by Eric Pohmer, magnificent production design by future cult director Edgar G. Ulmer), a huge 1.6m DM budget that allowed magnificent sets of the grand hotel and the beautifully rendered slum, and a lavish 180-day shooting schedule that allowed director F.W. Murnau a level of perfectionism rare even now let alone in 1924, the film is the best and most groundbreaking example of what became known as the `unchained camera' technique. And the camerawork is very much a star of the film. Few directors, sound or silent, understood the language of the camera as well as Murnau: Scorsese's been openly stealing from him for decades. You could even make a case that all modern cinema flows from this source, with many of the techniques we take for granted today being tried out here. The camera is rarely still in many of the major sequences, the hotel lobby filled with crane and dolly shots (the later reputedly invented for the film), Karl Freund's striking camerawork at times even assuming the perspective and failing eyesight of its tragic hero.
Thankfully the film has received some of the attention it deserves in Kino's two-disc set, with a fine transfer keeping the excellent 1924 score by Giuseppe Becce, the DVD also includes the export version (studios would shoot versions with alternate takes for export so they could have two negatives, one for domestic and one for overseas), an excellent documentary detailing the differences between the different versions (three were shot, one for Germany, the others for export overseas, with many subsequent re-edits happening to both), how the forced perspective sets were designed via production sketches and blueprints and even breakdowns on individual shots. The DVD even tells you what film stock and cameras were used! Very highly recommended.
4 di 4 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
Nobody knows you when you're down and out.....11 aprile 2008
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
I saw this film at a time when I was kind of down and out, and it really meant something at the time. It's one of the most beautiful, sad, haunting, and innovative silent films ever made. It is also famous for the fact it is told (except for one) without title cards. It is told with nothing but visual imagery. It concerns itself with a doorman who ends up being demoted to washroom attendant. The man (played brilliantly by Emil Jannings) is very proud of himself and his station, then is told that he is being demoted simply to make room for the young guard. You really feel for Jennings's character. How often are you passed over for a promotion or feel that your long tenure of service is not appreciated? Murnau treats the subject with a deep humanism, making the film more powerful.
The cinematography is outstanding. Murnau's framing is immaculate, and it's to his credit that his visual style is so acute that he can tell this story with only images. There is only one title card, but it's a rather self conscious one, and it leads to the "happy" ending, which is so overplayed and boisterous one thinks that Murnau is just placing it as a farce. I admit I don't really like it very much, but it doesn't ruin the film at all. This is one of my all time favorite silent films, and my favorite Murnau film.