Jannings was a force of nature of such fortitude, fidelity to the craft, fright, and frailty, some see ham where others see genius. This bombastic charisma both highlights and minimizes von Sternberg's often preposterous story - because at the end, realism itself is at stake here. Is the flashback a movie fantasy or fact? I don't care. All I know, is I tear up in the first 10 minutes, and that's real enough.
Pathétique et sublime interprétation du grand Emil Jannings, d'une extraordinaire richesse suggestive, évitant adroitement les redoutables écueils du cabotinage faraud et de l'outrance baroque et gesticulant, pour une oeuvre essentielle dans l'étonnante filmographie d'un Sternberg éblouissant de maîtrise et de puissance dans sa limpide narration cinématographique. www.cinefiches.com
One of the great late silent films, and one of the few Sternberg masterpieces where his considerable stylistic talent—the way he could make his frames feel *alive*—serves a tight plot as well as a pure febrile fantasia. The (admittedly flawed) meta framing device is brain-tickling, and the story in between captivates. No one could play a dignified man brought low like Emil Jannings, and he got an Oscar to prove it.
Emil Jannings y Evelyn Brent dan una cátedra de actuación en esta historia de amor imposible entre un comandante del imperio ruso y una ferviente revolucionaria. El final durante el rodaje de la escena en las trincheras es realmente poderoso y dramático. "Era mucho más que un gran actor. Era un gran hombre".
My least favorite of the von Sternberg's I've seen, though it contains some magnificent sequences and elements that place it well above most other films. So much of the film is placed on Jannings' blundering shoulders, though I found Brent to be the most fascinating figure in the film: a preview of Dietrich in The Scarlet Empress in her ruthlessness, mystery and deliciously textured costumes.
Saw this yesterday afternoon at the Detroit Film Theatre, with the Alloy Orchestra performing the score. Two years ago I saw this in the exact same set of circumstances, and decided I had to do it again. The music was driving and powerful, very impressed with how it enhanced and propelled the story as depicted. My favorite Alloy score, even more so than METROPOLIS and NOSFERATU, just superb. Given the chance, go.
Dos comentarios muy logrados del filme: Emil Jannings hace una impresionante actuación, sobretodo en el segmento donde interpreta al general perturbado por un tic impasible, atormentado por su pasado, confundido como un orate, es el rostro de la decadencia aristócrata rusa. Lo segundo, el amor planteado. La relación imposible entre un cabeza de gobierno y una revolucionaria del mismo. Triste desenlace.
you can easily references in "The Lives of Others" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the brother Ben Affleck" from that movie. It could be better, even a masterpiece but nevermind. Like all other great films, it proves that how a final climax makes film bigger.
Jannings and von Sternberg...wow. Every new von Sternberg film I see I think it is my favorite. He is fast solidifying his place among my favorites. The direction here is so smooth it is unbelievable. And the cast is there to make the most of it - Jannings, Brent, Powell are all outstanding. But in the end, it is Jannings, delivering one of the great male lead performances. Among the finest films of the era.
Evelyn Brent is amazing! I love her!! This film has the greatest treatment of the Russian Revolution I've seen on film - it sympathizes with and demonizes both sides. And then the last shot was incredible, and hugely ahead of its time. Really great film!!