The Last Command The Last Command
  • United States
  • 1928
  • 88 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  •  
  • Spine #530

Emil Jannings won the first best actor Academy Award for his performance as a sympathetic tyrant: an exiled Russian general turned Hollywood extra who lands a role playing a version of his former czarist self, bringing about his emotional downfall. Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command is a brilliantly realized silent melodrama and a witty send-up of the Hollywood machine, featuring virtuoso cinematography, grandly designed sets and effects, and rousing Russian Revolution sequences. Towering above all is the passionate, heartbreaking Jannings, whose portrayal of a man losing his grip on reality is one for the history books.

Cast

Grand Duke Sergius AlexanderEmil Jannings
NatalieEvelyn Brent
The DirectorWilliam Powell
The AssistantJack Raymond
The AdjutantNicholas Soussanin
The BodyguardMichael Visaroff
A RevolutionistFritz Feld

Credits

Disc Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Two scores, one by Robert Israel and another by Alloy Orchestra
  • New visual essay by film scholar Tag Gallagher

Film Essays

The Last Command: Illusions and Delusions

By Anton Kaes August 24, 2010

Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command (1928) was first and foremost a star vehicle for Emil Jannings, the internationally known, Swiss-born actor, who had left Germany in October 1926 to work . . . Read more »

Big Screen


Clippings

Thomson at the New Republic

January 25, 2011

Fans of critic David Thomson (whose Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its fifth edition, placed first in Sight & Sound’s 2010 poll of the best, “most inspirational” books about film . . . Read more »


Press Notes

Press Notes: 2010—One Last Look

January 03, 2011

Before we put 2010 to bed, we thought we’d catch up with all the year-end lists that have sprung up over the past week or so. A good place to start is DVD Beaver’s annual poll, which ranks the . . . Read more »


Press Notes

Press Notes: Looking Back at 2010

December 22, 2010

Sight & Sound’s annual poll of the year’s best DVD (and Blu-ray) releases is out, and this edition features choices from twenty-four “contributors, DVD distributors, and curators.” We’re . . . Read more »


Film Essays

The Last Command: Illusions and Delusions

By Anton Kaes August 24, 2010

Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command (1928) was first and foremost a star vehicle for Emil Jannings, the internationally known, Swiss-born actor, who had left Germany in October 1926 to work . . . Read more »


Press Notes

Press Notes: 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

August 23, 2010

The exceptional early Hollywood movies in the new DVD collector’s set 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg have been unavailable for so long that their reemergence is being treated by . . . Read more »


Features

Mit Out Sound, Mit Out Solution

By Guy Maddin August 13, 2010

When John Grierson, the Scotsman whose absolute devotion to realism on film—he coined the word documentary and created the National Film Board of Canada—was asked how he’d enjoyed a screening of . . . Read more »