The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau, 1924)

Film screening and discussion | £5 | 1 Aug 2015 | 2.30pm | The Cinema Museum, London SE11  

• Join Hercules Editions at London’s atmospheric Cinema Museum for a screening of this silent classic from the director of Nosferatu, plus a discussion between BFI silent film curator Bryony Dixon and writers Simon Barraclough and Claire Crowther, author of Silents.


Booking: Tickets are £5. Book direct from the Cinema Museum by calling 020 7840 2200 during office hours, or book online here.
Date: Saturday 1st August 2015. Doors open 13.30 for a 14.30 start. Refreshments will be available in the museum’s licenced cafe/bar.
Venue: The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Rd), London SE11 4TH. It’s a short walk from Kennington tube station on the Northern line. Map here.


Claire Crowther and Simon Barraclough are both poets with a keen interest in silent cinema. Join them, and silent film expert Bryony Dixon, in a screening and discussion of The Last Laugh (Der letzte Mann) by F.W. Murnau, the famed director of Nosferatu. Using just one sardonic intertitle, this groundbreaking classic wordlessly tells the moving tale of an elderly hotel doorman demoted from his respected job to the menial post of washroom attendant. On a deeper level, Emil Jannings’s searing lead performance offers a dark portrayal of the relationship between uniform and status in pre-war Germany. Shot by Metropolis cinematographer Karl Freund, the film pioneered the use of moving camera shots, and made stars of Jannings and Murnau in the USA. The critic C.A. Lejeune has called it “the most important of Murnau’s films … it influenced the future of motion picture photography and stimulated a new kind of camera-thinking with a definite narrative end.”

Simon Barraclough’s collections include Los Alamos Mon Amour (shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2008), Bonjour Tetris, Neptune Blue and Sunspots, all published by Penned in the Margins. He has developed many live multi-media events involving poetry and film, such as Psycho Poetica, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hitchcock’s seminal thriller, and The Debris Field: Salvaging the Titanic in Word, Sound and Image.

Claire Crowther’s poems have been widely reviewed and published in journals such as the TLS and the London Review of Books, and are in the Poetry Archive. She has published three collections with Shearsman Books, Stretch of Closures (shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection prize), The Clockwork Gift and On Narrowness, plus three pamphlets, including Silents with Hercules Editions. She is currently poet in residence at the Royal Mint.

Bryony Dixon is a curator with responsibility for the BFI National Archive’s silent film collection. She has researched and written on early film, curated film restorations, and programmed for specialist film festivals. She regularly contributes to BFI Southbank events, and has co-directed the annual British Silent Film Festival for 16 years. Her book 100 Silent Films, in the BFI Screen Guides series, was published in 2011.

Photos: Ronald Grant Archive