Friday, February 3, 2012

The Last Command (1928)

Monday February 6, 7pm The Paramount, Seattle

"From now on you are my prisoner of war -"
"- and my prisoner of love."

As the Russian revolution runs wild, a General in the Czar's army, Sergius Alexander (Emil Jannings) escapes execution with the help of a beautiful spy. Years later, a former revolutionist turned Hollywood movie director (William Powell) recognizes a head shot of the general, now a decrepit old man working as an extra, and plans his revenge.

Directed by Josef von Sternberg, The Last Command (1928) was the highlight of Jannings' brief Hollywood career. Combined with his performance in The Way of All Flesh (1927), The Last Command received the first Academy Award for best actor in a leading role. Screenwriter Lajos BirĂ³ was nominated for best original story. Evelyn Brent, previously featured in von Sternberg's Underworld (1927), stars as the lovely femme fatale Natalie in a complex, pivotal role.

Inspired by the life of General Theodore Lodijensky, The Last Command features one extraordinary, unexpected shocker and a table-turning, earth-shaking finale.

A General on Pike Street

Emil Jannings in The Last Command opened at Seattle's United Artists Theatre on Friday February 24, 1928 for a weeklong engagement. The program featured a "special score and concert number," by Jan Sofer and his United Artists Orchestra, with selected shorts featuring Hal Roach's "Leave 'em Laughing, The Laughing Lullaby." For most of its existence, the movie palace at 5th and Pike operated as the Coliseum. Opened in January 1916, it survives today as a retail-clothing store.

STG Presents!

Seattle Theatre Group and Trader Joe's present the third of four films in their current series of Silent Movie Mondays with Emil Jannings in Josef von Sternberg's The Last Command, featuring live musical accompaniment performed at the Paramount's original 1928, 4/20 Wurlitzer organ by Jim Riggs.