THE LAST LAUGH, F.W. Murnau's classic study of a hotel employee's humiliation, is unusual on two counts: it is a silent movie without explanatory intertitles; and it's a tragedy that ends on a totally unexpected, outrageously upbeat note of vindication.
When the demands of his job become too much for him, the aging doorman (Emil Jannings) of a large hotel is demoted to men's room porter. That night, he wears his doorman's uniform home in an attempt to keep the news of his degradation secret from his family and neighbors.
The next day, after discovering the truth when she brings him his lunch, his aunt (Emilie Kurz) hurries home to relay the shocking news to h...