Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Silent Film Classic

This movie, The Last Laugh, is a simple story with a very important message that stands the test of time. A happy-go hotel doorman, proud of his military-like red work coat with shiny brass buttons, loses his position at the hotel and must relinquish the coat and matching hat. He's simply gotten too old to continue with the physical duties of a doorman and thus is assigned the bathroom attendant position, now vacant due to the former attendant being committed to a home for the elderly.

Mind you the coat , along with the long held doorman's position, has been his pride and joy and the reason he can stroll into and out of his poor neighborhood with his chest puffed out like a rooster. When he finishes reading the job demotion notice you see the beginning transformation in his character. He is not only stunned but its as if all the air has been sucked out of his body, leaving him a shell of his former self.

As soon as the coat is stripped away from his huge protesting body, you see all his pride and dignity slip away with it. Without the coat the former doorman looks old and decrepit without a reason or will to live. After his meeting with the young, unattentive hotel manager who shows no pity or concern for the former doorman, the transformation is complete.

By now you want to see what happens to the former doorman, now bathroom attendant, as he now must face those who thought him so important and handsome in his commanding coat, including little neighborhood kids. Its a great film that warns as it reminds us of who we really are versus the positions and titles we cloak ourselves in. I believe the movie may have been originally titled "The Cloak."

The doorman is played by the famous German actor of his day, Emil Jannings.

Emil Jannings (23 July 1884 – 2 January 1950) was a German actor. He was not only the first actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, but also the first person to be presented an Oscar.

You can view the other thee episodes that make up the entire film here on youtube:
The Last Laugh

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