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The Last Laugh Blu-ray Review


“The Last Laugh” is a German silent film classic.

Kino fans rejoice! The esteemed company has released the 90 minute restored German version of F.W. Murnau’s 1924 “The Last Laugh.” For those that are unfamiliar with this German silent film classic, it tells the story of a kindly, hardworking, respected, aging hotel doorman who finds himself being demoted to a washroom attendant much to his shame and horror. As the title suggests, however, the former doorman gets the last laugh in the end when good fortune shines upon him.

As you can no doubt tell from the plot description, “The Last Laugh” is a simple and straight forward character study about the working class, life’s unexpected changes, reputations, aging and the clothes making the man. Obviously, the movie is rather dated by today’s society standards as you are unlikely to find a person being that is so utterly ashamed of his demotion to the point of being looked down upon by those around him. With that said, however, the themes of the story remain poignant as does the fact that this is still a groundbreaking piece of cinema. Not only are you witnessing a masterwork by legendary director F.W. Murnau whose filmmaking techniques and shots still look stunning to this day, but you’re also seeing a truly moving performance by Emil Jannings who delivers a performance that says so much without uttering a word. Even the tacked on epilogue (which has possibly the strangest title cards) feels ahead of its time. Is it an intentional sympathetic ending for the kind hearted character? Is it a fantasy? Is it a satire of happy endings? It could be all of those things. Either way, it is certainly fascinating.


Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? This is truly an impressive transfer. I was blown away by the clarity (especially given the film’s age). This is far and away one of the best hi-def silent film transfers I have seen to date.

Audio Track: 2.0 Stereo. How do they sound? Viewers have the option of choosing between 2 scores- one by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra and the other by Giuseppe Becce. The Berklee score more emotive and intricate while Giuseppe’s take on the original 1924 score is quieter and more intimate. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either.

Extras: A dull commentary by film historian Noah Isenberg, a thorough 40 minute German making of documentary, and a bonus DVD that includes the unrestored export cut of “The Last Laugh.”

November 11, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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