Review: ‘The Last Command’

Russia in the early days of the First World War and the revolution. Emil Jannings is the commander-in-chief of the czar's armies in the field. (The picture's working title was The General.) The general, overthrown and overwhelmed by the revolutionists, drifts to Hollywood, to become a $7.50-a-day extra waiting in a rooming house for a call.

Russia in the early days of the First World War and the revolution. Emil Jannings is the commander-in-chief of the czar’s armies in the field. (The picture’s working title was The General.) The general, overthrown and overwhelmed by the revolutionists, drifts to Hollywood, to become a $7.50-a-day extra waiting in a rooming house for a call.

It comes when a Russian picture director requiring a movie army recognizes a photo of the general as the same who whipped him in Russia in 1914, when the director then was a starving actor-revolutionist. They make him a general again, at $7.50 daily, with many studio scenes, to lead a movie army of Russians.

Plenty of direction and as much photography. There doesn’t appear to be a miss or skip either. Herman Mankiewicz’s titles [from an original by Lajos Biro] are no small part of the interest, always perfectly placed and phrased. They hold a couple of laughs, although the subject matter limits that.

1927/28: Best Actor (Emil Jennings).

Nominations: Best Picture, Original Story

The Last Command

Production

Paramount. Director Josef von Sternberg; Producer Joseph Bachman; Screenplay John F. Goodrich, Herman J. Mankiewicz; Camera Bert Glennon; Art Director Hans Dreier

Crew

Silent. (B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1928. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Emil Jannings Evelyn Brent William Powell Nicholas Soussanin Michael Visaroff

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