Universal Pictures and Flicker Alley present Universal Pictures’ new 4K restoration of the 1929 silent classic, THE LAST WARNING, accompanied by a newly recorded score from Arthur Barrow. Adapted from Thomas F. Fallon’s 1922 Broadway play of the same name, THE LAST WARNING is based on the story ‘The House of Fearby Wadsworth Camp’ and centers on an unsolved murder that occurs during a live Broadway performance. When the victim’s body goes missing, the death remains unsolved and the theater is condemned. That is, until years later when a suspicious new “producer” arrives to restage the play with the original cast and crew. As one of the last silents Universal produced, THE LAST WARNING was later released as a “part-talkie” with roughly sixty feet of sound scenes added.

THE LAST WARNING was Paul Leni's final film before his untimely death, and a prime showcase for Universal's 1920s leading lady, Laura La Plante. A visual artist at the peak of his career, Leni’s camera never stops shifting, offering cutaways and trick shots involving nervous could-be culprits, a highly suspicious sleuth, and cast members who suddenly disappear in the darkened theater. The result is a cinematic funhouse that restlessly cross-examines the suspense of the story’s stage play against the “real” murder mystery saga, all unfolding amid the outstanding production design of Charles D. Hall.

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Masterfully directed by Paul Leni, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS marks Leni’s penultimate work. Having grown up in Germany during the era of Expressionism, Leni embraces haunting characters, twisted sets, harsh angles, and deep shadows. Heralded as one of the best American silents emulating German Expressionism, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS presents Leni at his creative directorial peak. Originally released silent, the film was enough of a hit for Universal in 1928 that the studio released it with a synched musical score using the Movietone sound-on-film process, presented here as a secondary audio track.

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Part of Universal Pictures’ ongoing silent restoration initiative, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS honors the studio's rich film history that has spanned more than a century. The primary source element for this restoration was a 35mm composite fine grain from the Universal Pictures vault, created in 1954 from the nitrate original camera negative. NBCUniversal's restoration team was able to stabilize and deflicker the film, as well as repair scratches, warps, and dirt. The 4K digital restoration was completed by NBC Universal StudioPost.



Format: Blu-ray & DVD-NTSC Combo / Region All & Region 0 (No Regional Code)

(USA, 1929)

Director: Paul Leni
Screenplay: Alfred A. Cohn, J.G. Hawks, Robert F. Hill, Tom Reed
Cinematography: Hal Mohr
Editor: Robert Carlisle
Composer: Joseph Cherniavsky
Production Design: Charles D. Hall
Producer: Carl Laemmle
Cast: Laura La Plante, Montagu Love, Roy D'Arcy, Margaret Livingston, John Boles

  • 78 minutes
  • 35mm
  • B&W
  • Silent



A visual essay by film historian and author, John Soister on Leni’s final film.

Rare Image Gallery  

A slide show presentation of vintage marketing materials and production stills.

Total Running Time: 01:28:00

Language: English intertitles

Musical Score: Arthur Barrow

Booklet Text: John Soister, Arthur Barrow (22 pages, in English)

Published By: Flicker Alley

Institutional Price: $300 (plus shipping).

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.