Emil Jannings is the doorman of the elegant Atlantic Hotel. He is proud of his uniform and function, and respected by his community. When he reaches the old age, he has difficulties to carry trucks and suitcases. The hotel manager decides to change his function to washroom attendant. This apparently simple action is enough to destroy him as a human being. He loses his self-respect and when his neighbor finds that he is janitor of the hotel, he loses the respect of his neighbors and friends.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The greatest film story ever told-and not a title in it! Most entrancing love story of all time-without a single lover! Bigger than anything you've ever seen. A human interest story taken from a page of life. (Print Ad- Twin City Review, ((Champaign, Ills.)) 31 July 1925)
There can be no doubt that costumes were highly important in The Last Laugh. The topic was actually build upon a costume anywise. The doorman's uniform was a symbol for prestige, high-honor, the key to be well treated in every situation. He was giving extreme importance to his outlook while he was working as a doorman. We saw this when he was twisting his mustache in front of the hotel. Not only him but also his family and his neighbors even show great respect to his uniform as well. Neighbors stop patting their carpets not to spread dust on his uniform, men bow and take out their hats when he passes by, at home niece's mother sews the button of the uniform with great care... It seems that by doing all this, they are appreciating the prestige the costume has brought to their lives and in a way showing appreciation by keeping it in perfect shape. Last Laugh there wasn't much of a contrast in terms of colors. The contrast was in terms of the different treatment the doorman received after his job loss. It was clear that after the loss of his job, nobody was friendly to him anymore. Also the contrast between the rich and the poor was underlined. There was a parallel editing of the ex-doorman drinking his soup in the toilet and the rich people having their dinner at the hotel's restaurant.
There were lots of dolly ins and outs, tracking movements, dialectical montage, close-ups and parallel editing in it. Dollies are often used in shocking situations. It is used when the ex-doorman's relative sees him working at the toilet. As it is a shocking situation, camera dollies-in very fast to the woman's horrified face. The same function of dolly-in occurs when the ex-doorman comes to the hotel in the morning and sees from far away the new doorman. It is a fast dolly as well. With these unexpected dollies, the audience is always kept tense knowing that the reality may strike at any moment. Dialectical montage is seen quite a lot of times as well. It occurs when the doorman looks left and then we see the wedding dress. Therefore we understand that it is the dress he is looking. On the whole doorman's uniform seems to be controlling his life and that he is blindly obeying what the uniform brings to him. In this way, he is like a citizen unquestioning the authority of the government. Finally, Last Laugh is a classics which have influenced and will continue to influence other artistic works through generations.
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