The Last Command (1928)

90 mins | Melodrama | 21 January 1928

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The General. In later interviews, director Josef von Sternberg claimed that he wrote the original scenario, basing it on an idea given to him by Ernst Lubitsch. At the first Academy Awards ceremony, Emil Jannings won a Best Actor Academy Award, in part for his work on this film and for his role in The Way of All Flesh (see entry). Lajos Biro received a certificate of honorable mention in the Best Writing (Original Story) category.
       Voted one of the “Top Best Features” of 1928 by the 1929 Film Daily Year Book, as reported in the Feb 7, 1930 FD. ...

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The working title of this film was The General. In later interviews, director Josef von Sternberg claimed that he wrote the original scenario, basing it on an idea given to him by Ernst Lubitsch. At the first Academy Awards ceremony, Emil Jannings won a Best Actor Academy Award, in part for his work on this film and for his role in The Way of All Flesh (see entry). Lajos Biro received a certificate of honorable mention in the Best Writing (Original Story) category.
       Voted one of the “Top Best Features” of 1928 by the 1929 Film Daily Year Book, as reported in the Feb 7, 1930 FD.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
EHW & MPW
4 Feb 1928
p. 61
Film Daily
5 Feb 1928
p. 6
Film Daily
7 Feb 1930
p. 8
New York Times
23 Jan 1928
p. 18
The Film Spectator
4 Feb 1928
p. 10
Variety
25 Jan 1928
p. 12
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The General
Release Date:
21 January 1928
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 21 Jan 1928
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount Famous Lasky Corp.
21 January 1928
LP24895
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
8,154
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1928, Sergius Alexander, a former Russian general, now is eeking out a living as an extra in Hollywood. When Leo Andreyev, a onetime revolutionary leader, who now is respectably established as a movie director, is looking for an actor to portray a general in a Russian Revolution era film, he sees a photograph of Alexander and immediately recognizes him. His assistant director calls Alexander's boardinghouse and offers him the role, telling him to report to the studio the next day. Alexander, now a decrepit old man, is hardly able to withstand the wolfish competition of the other movie extras. A flashback to imperial Russia just before the Revolution shows the former general in his full glory as head of the Russian Army and the director as a revolutionary agitator. The general strikes Andreiev with his whip and falls in love with Natascha, a spy, but is beaten by the mob and rendered palsied and distraught as he watches the train carrying Natascha plunge into a river. Now Andreiev orders Sergius Alexander to reenact the scene of a Russian general facing his troops in revolt. For a few moments he tries to hold them in line, but the emotional strain is fatal, and he collapses, ...

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In 1928, Sergius Alexander, a former Russian general, now is eeking out a living as an extra in Hollywood. When Leo Andreyev, a onetime revolutionary leader, who now is respectably established as a movie director, is looking for an actor to portray a general in a Russian Revolution era film, he sees a photograph of Alexander and immediately recognizes him. His assistant director calls Alexander's boardinghouse and offers him the role, telling him to report to the studio the next day. Alexander, now a decrepit old man, is hardly able to withstand the wolfish competition of the other movie extras. A flashback to imperial Russia just before the Revolution shows the former general in his full glory as head of the Russian Army and the director as a revolutionary agitator. The general strikes Andreiev with his whip and falls in love with Natascha, a spy, but is beaten by the mob and rendered palsied and distraught as he watches the train carrying Natascha plunge into a river. Now Andreiev orders Sergius Alexander to reenact the scene of a Russian general facing his troops in revolt. For a few moments he tries to hold them in line, but the emotional strain is fatal, and he collapses, dying.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.