Production Company: Paramount
Top Billed Actors: Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
IMDb Rating: 7.9
*Exclusive Award Winner*
Won 1 Oscar:
Best Actor - Emil Jannings
Nominated for 1 more:
Best Writing (Original) - Lajos Biró
Plot: A loyal Russian general gets spit on by his woman and becomes a Hollywood extra.
Jannings' performance is the highlight here. We see him portray an old, frail man who has a mysterious shake due to a traumatic experience in the Russian revolution. We also see him portray the great Russian general he is cast as in the movie within the movie. The full spectrum of a dominant leader to the subject of ridicule by a mob of Russian revolutionaries to a sick old man demonstrates Jannings' talent. It also shows the strength of the story itself, which was nominated for Best Original Writing, beat by another von Sternberg film, Underworld (1927). In the beginning, the viewer is curious as to way Jannnings' character is shaking. A title card reveals that the general has had a great shock in his past. The next hour or so is a flashback chock full of twists and turns, focusing on the life of the general during the Russian Revolution of 1917. When we finally see what occurs, we are shocked ourselves. Out of the two nominees, I think this film should have been the first Original Writing winner.
There aren't many faults I can assign this classic. A minor complaint is the movie seems a tad short. However, this could be due to no wasted scenes. Each sequence serves a purposed and each title card moves the plot along.
Overall, The Last Command (1928) is an engulfing story with plenty of turning points in the plot and little predictability. The performance by Emil Jannings justifies his Oscar, and William Powell and Evelyn Brent do not disappoint either.
My Score: 8/10