Famous German stage actress Emmy Ritter (Alla Nazimova) is held in a Nazi concentration camp. She is scheduled to be executed soon, but the sympathetic camp doctor, Ditten (Philip Dorn), has been a fan since childhood and offers to deliver a letter from her to her children…afterwards.
Emmy’s son Mark Preysing (Robert Taylor), an American citizen, travels to Germany in search of his mother, but nobody, not even frightened old family friends, want anything to do with him. A German official tells Mark that she has been arrested and advises him to return to the United States.
The postmark of a returned letter guides Mark to the region where she is being held. There, he meets by chance Countess Ruby von Treck (Norma Shearer), an American-born widow, but she also does not want to become involved, at least at first. Then, she asks her lover, General Kurt von Kolb (Conrad Veidt), about Emmy and learns that she has been judged a traitor in a secret trial and sentenced to death.
At a concert, Mark encounters Doctor Ditten, who takes the opportunity to deliver Emmy’s letter. Then, Ditten drugs Emmy into a coma, making it appear as if she has died. He tells Mark what he has done. Mark sends longtime family servant Fritz Keller (Felix Bressart) to collect the coffin, but the American’s nervousness raises the suspicion of the political police and he is brought to the camp for questioning. Fortunately, he is allowed to take his mother’s body away. —Wikipedia
The great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 was a tragedy for Mervyn Leroy. While he and his father managed to survive, they lost everything they had. To make money, Leroy sold newspapers and entered talent contests as a singer. When he enter vaudeville, his act was LeRoy and Cooper – Two Kids and a Piano. After the act broke up, he contacted his cousin, Jesse L. Lasky, and went to work in Hollywood. He worked in costumes, the film lab and as a camera assistant before becoming a comedy gag writer and part-time actor in silent films. His next step was as a director, and he turned out his first effort, No Place to Go (1927), before scoring his first unqualified hit with Harold Teen (1928). Earning $1,000 per week by the end of that year, he was nicknamed “The Boy Wonder” of Warners, where his pictures were profitable lightweights. His motto, to paraphrase Shakespeare, was “Good stories make good movies.” LeRoy rounded out the decade assigned to more lightweights, such as Naughty… read more