Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh), 1924. Lithograph series for the premiere of F. W. Murnau’s silent movie.

Theo Matejko’s dynamic and sensationalist style, which had a lasting influence on press graphic culture from the early 1920s onwards, was significantly influenced by cinematic views. The fact that he was commissioned by the UFA in 1924 to sketch the shooting of Murnau’s silent movie The Last Laugh (1924) underlines this connection. In this groundbreaking work, the means of an immersive, “unleashed” camera work dominated for the first time. The eight drawings selected for the premiere guests were admittedly relatively conventional and tailored to an effective portrayal of the leading actor Emil Jannings. What Matejko had profited from the theatricality of silent film and above all from Karl Freund’s rapturous camera movements only came to full fruition in his later sports and war reportages.

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