In this, his greatest role, Emil Jannings plays the chief porter at a prestigious hotel, a position affording him respect and dignity. His military-style uniform is the emblem of his stature—especially among his poor neighbors—and a source of great personal pride, so his subsequent demotion to washroom attendant and the loss of the uniform is devastating.
The film’s emotional depth is bolstered by its technical innovation—Murnau’s “unchained” camera is as beautifully expressive as Jannings’s breathtaking performance and allows the story to flow without the need for intertitles.
Live musical accompaniment by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra
Co-presented by Berlin & Beyond and the German Consulate General San Francisco