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Der letzte Mann

A lesser known film by F.W. Murnau about the tragic downfall of a hotel porter. The visuals convey the meaning, there is no role for text in this film. With live musical accompaniment by Daan van de Hurk (piano) and Pien Straesser (soprano). The film is introduced by Martin de Ruiter, Silent Film and Live Music programmer.

Der letzte mann cover

The Last Laugh portrays a drama mutely endured: after having welcomed the guests of a top-notch hotel for years, the porter of a renowned Berlin hotel loses his position to a younger man. Forced to accept the lowly job of washroom attendant, he is stripped of his status and dignity, while his wife remains unaware of his personal tragedy…

The film was highly innovative in its time: to portray the tragic downfall of the porter, the director of Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror (1922) only required a single intertitle. The entire story unfolds through the expressive cinematography, which had a great impact on the development of cinema. “The camera should not remain immobile, it must be everywhere”, Murnau said.

The film is introduced by Martin de Ruiter, Silent Film and Live Music programmer, and accompanied live by Pien Straesser (soprano) and Daan van de Hurk (piano). Van den Hurk trained as a classical pianist and jazz pianist and regularly accompanies silent film screenings at festivals, including the Pordenone Silent Film Festival; he was also featured on NPO Radio 4 and performed in Paradiso and TivoliVredenburg.

Pien Straesser is a soprano who has worked with many choirs, including the Koor Nieuwe Muziek, and has sung soprano roles in masses by Mozart and Schubert and has performed in work by such modern composers as Alban Berg and Arnold Schönberg. Straesser regularly accompanies the silent film screenings at EYE.


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