(Review originally written at 12 August 2007)

This is such a great- and even better told story. It features normal average persons who get in some realistic difficulties and struggle with life. You can just feel how heartbroken the old man is after loosing his job and the respect he had among the community because of his uniform. Yeah, uniforms were still a that big thing at that time. The movie especially does a good job with showing the contrasts between the 'two worlds', of money and respectability and poor and being just considered average, or even less. It makes "Der Letzte Mann" such a powerful and effective movie!

I love it when a silent movie doesn't use too many or hardly any title cards. Just let the images tell the story. It takes a great director to do this but F.W. Murnau was obviously one of the best, not just of his time but of all time!

The movie is filled with some greatly made and looking memorable sequences, such as a couple of great dream-like- and surrealistic sequences. In those sequences it becomes once all the more obvious how great of a director F.W. Murnau was.

The movie is filled and even more uplifted by its fantastic camera-work! I love it when old movies use early movement-effects and pans and zooms, though obviously the movie doesn't use this all the time. Especially the beginning is memorable, when the movie opens with one of the first ever hand-held camera shots. It's different from the normal usual static camera-work from the '20's and '30's. But also the lighting of the movie is absolutely phenomenal. It gives the movie such a good, warm and effective powerful look. The same goes for the fast and nimble editing and compositions, that make the story flow extremely well. Old movies normally feel distant because of the old fashioned style and look. But not this one!

The movie was obviously mostly shot at studios and the street sets look like they were made out of cardboard (which they most likely also were) but that is all part of the charm of these expressionistic German movies from the '20's, such as also "Metropolis", "Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari" and "Faust".

The make-up effects are perhaps an underrated aspect of the movie. I mean it's not a 'make-up' movie, such as "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens" or "Faust" (both also directed by F.W. Murnau by the way) but remember that Emil Jannings was in his early 40's during this movie, though he truly looked like he was in his 60's or so. So some really effective and convincing make-up effects here! If you didn't knew any better you would just think that this movie had a 60 year old playing the main character.

A great, powerful- but also beautiful movie experience, from F.W. Murnau!


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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