F.W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh may not have vampires in this one but it does show the horrors of feeling humiliated. This film is about a doorman at a fancy hotel who gets demoted to bathroom attendant.
The Last Laugh is one of the first films to barely use title cards for its dialogue. Sometimes words are not necessary when telling a story when you have the cinematography skills that Murnau has. He was able to use techniques such as having images overlap each other which intensifies the scene further when people find out about the doorman’s demotion. We also see a lot of point of view shots so that we can further feel what the doorman is feeling as he’s going through this tough time.
This is also the first film to use a dolly camera which Murnau originally made with a baby carriage to make the camera move. Write in if you find that insane! Considering how often the doorman moves around the hotel, it would make sense to use a mobile camera. The Last Laugh was made when Germany was going through a really bad time economically. Originally one ending was going to be made but then changed into another ending to make the audience feel a certain way. You’ll see what I mean after you see it. What do you think of the ending? This is a film that shows how society can determine who you are based on your occupation. Great job equals being well-respected in the community. Lousy job means you’ll get treated lousy. Unfortunately, I still feel like that’s true. Do you?
Watch this silent film where dialogue is not needed and tell your thoughts on it. If you have an Amazon Prime account, I recommend seeing that version: