No specific punch to this initial made-in-the-USA Emil Jannings release. It really amounts to a study by the star of a middle class character who succumbs, just once, to the feminine and must forever after live in hiding while his family believes him dead and enjoys prosperity through one of the sons’ violin concerts. Starting in 1910, the story weaves its way up to the present year, giving opportunity to display three characterizations in as many makeups.
First as the bewhiskered gruff and trusted cashier of a Milwaukee bank, second as under the influence of a demi-mondaine, thereby shorn of his facial growth, and finally as a broken example of indiscretion cleaning up park playgrounds and peddling chestnuts.
In substance the story revolves around the incident of Schilling (Jannings) being entrusted with valuable bonds to be sold in Chicago. On the train he meets Mayme (Phyllis Haver), obviously attired for the character, who ultimately leads him to a drunken sleep in a hotel where she rifles him of his consignment.
Most of the production is studio made, although there are theatre and amusement park sequences, the last named inviting various camera angles, one or two of which stand out.
As regards Jannings, this, is first domestic made picture, is assuredly creditable.
1927/28: Best Actor (Emil Jannings).
Nomination: Best Picture