The Last Command (1928)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  April 1928 (Japan)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 2,155 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 30 critic

A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary.

0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Underworld (1927)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend.

Directors: Josef von Sternberg, Arthur Rosson
Stars: George Bancroft, Clive Brook, Evelyn Brent
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A prostitute seeking a fresh start becomes the obsession of a religious extremist.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Blanche Friderici, Charles Lane
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An elderly professor's ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron
7th Heaven (1927)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A street cleaner saves a young woman's life, and the pair slowly fall in love until war intervenes.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Ben Bard
The Crowd (1928)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The life of a man and woman together in a large, impersonal metropolis through their hopes, struggles and downfalls.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Eleanor Boardman, James Murray, Bert Roach
Street Angel (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A woman on the run from the law finds her past catching up to her just as she is on the verge of true happiness.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Natalie Kingston
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young impoverished aristocrat falls in love with an inn-keepers daughter, but has to marry money.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Erich von Stroheim, Fay Wray, Zasu Pitts
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A charming, happy-go-lucky bandit in old Arizona plays cat-and-mouse with the sheriff trying to catch him while he romances a local beauty.

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Warner Baxter, Edmund Lowe, Dorothy Burgess
The Racket (1928)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An honest police captain vows to bring down a powerful bootlegger who is protected by corrupt politicians and judges.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Thomas Meighan, Louis Wolheim, Marie Prevost
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story takes place in Milwaukee during the early 1900s with a bank clerk named August Schiller who is happy with both his job and his family. He is tasked with transporting $1,000 in ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Emil Jannings, Belle Bennett, Phyllis Haver
Lonesome (1928)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two lonely people in the big city meet and enjoy the thrills of an amusement park, only to lose each other in the crowd after spending a great day together. Will they ever see each other again?

Director: Pál Fejös
Stars: Barbara Kent, Glenn Tryon, Fay Holderness


Complete credited cast:
Natalie Dabrova
Lev Andreyev
Jack Raymond ...
Assistant Director
Nicholas Soussanin ...
The Adjutant
Michael Visaroff ...
Serge (the valet)
Fritz Feld ...
A Revolutionist
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Wilber


A decorated, aristocratic Czarist General is reduced to penury after the collapse of Imperial Russia. An old adversary, now a successful director hires the general to re-enact the revolution which deposed him. Written by W. Louis <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


EMIL JANNINGS -- World's finest dramatic actor in a brilliant successor to "The Way of all Flesh" -- and "Variety." You'll be amazed with Janning's tremendous role of the mighty general!...with men...women...a whole nation at his feet! Through flaming love...adoration...hate! To...! The most terrific climax the screen has ever known!


Drama | History | Romance | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

April 1928 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

A Última Ordem  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rumors have circulated that this film had originally been nominated for Best Production during the Academy's first year. However, this has never been confirmed, and the Academy claims that it had never been a Best Production nominee. See more »


Lev Andreyev: [about the Duke] Let him strut a little longer. His days are numbered!
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

True background sets up Hollywood grand story telling by four masters of the screen!
16 May 2010 | by (Culpeper, VA USA) – See all my reviews

The Last Command, was inspired by a true story… sort of. Legendary director Ernst Lubitsch was invited by a friend to dinner at a Russian restaurant where he was introduced to the owner, one General Lodijenski. This General had fought in World War I, but lost an important battle and fled west shortly afterwards opening a restaurant called The Double Eagle on Sunset Boulevard.

Several months later, Lubitsch was at MGM working on The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg when he noticed an extra in costume of a Russian General. "I know you from somewhere," said Lubitsch. "I met you before," the extra replied. "I am General Lodijenski." Turns out his restaurant had closed and he was forced to now take extra work in the movies. "Funny, isn't it," he said, "that I should be playing a walk-on bit as a Russian general."

Mulling the encounter over, Lubitsch began to see it as a perfect scenario for Emil Jannings, whose gift for portraying tragic, masochistic characters had long since been established. Lubitsch told the story to Jannings, who expressed interest. A few weeks later, Lubitsch ran into writer Lajos Biro, who mentioned that Jannings was not only a brilliant actor but had good story ideas as well. Biro then proceeded to tell Lubitsch about the script he was working on, at that point entitled The General. It was the same story Lubitsch had told Jannings.

The script was written and given to Josef von Sternberg to direct. Sternberg made some brilliant changes to frame the main story as a flashback, giving the narrative a quality of retrospection, with the implications of loss from the beginning. It was re-titled, The Last Command and what happened to General Lodijenski? He was given a small part in the film and I am told he can be observed as a thick-set, middle-aged man with short hair.

Now we have the seeds of the story, a Russian General once a cousin to the Czar ends up a mere extra in a movie about a Russian General – irony. But there is much more irony, the symbolism of the peasants being mistreated by those above them is the same as the extras being mistreated by the Hollywood elite.

The films star, Emil Jannings was a Swiss born actor known for portraying imposing historical figures like Henry 8th, Othello, Louis the 15th and Nero. In the mid-1920's many considered him the world's greatest screen actor. He was often cast in films designed to showcase his gift for tragedy as in F.W. Murnau's 1924 feature THE LAST LAUGH where Jannings played a proud but aged hotel doorman who is demoted to restroom attendant. Or the silent version of FAUST made in 1926 where he played Mephistopheles. The Last Command was his 57th film silent and later his first talkie, THE BLUE ANGEL also directed by Josef von Sternberg was a huge international hit and made a star out of Marlene Dietrich.

When I recently re-watched this film I was amazed to see this old, feeble and broken man shaking beneath the weight of his memories juxtaposed against him as he was young, virile handsome commanding an entire army as well as every room he entered.

Notice the tenderness the director pulls out of this gentleman when he explains why he shakes, because he had a great shock once and then we look with him into a mirror that leads us back to the story of a once great man.

In the flashback we see William Powell and Evelyn Brent as revolutionary spies pretending to be actors. Evelyn Brent was a dark haired beauty with sultry looks that led to her being typecast exotic, dangerous roles as a sex addict who did drugs everyday. Her break thru role was as an alcoholic in the play THE RUINED LADY. Just before tonight's film she had made UNDERWORLD in 1927 with the same director Josef von Sternberg, it is considered the first major gangster film. On a trivia note her husband's name was Harry Fox for whom the foxtrot dance was named for.

William Powell was one of the most popular leading men in Hollywood for over four decades but I bet you didn't know he started in silent films mostly playing heavies and bad guys! In his first film he was a criminal to John Barrymore's SHERLOCK HOLMES in 1922! LAST COMMAND was his 27th silent film and before this he was never a top star but on the strength of his reviews from this feature he was soon cast as the lead role in a talkie called THE CARNARY MURDER CASE where he played Philo Vance, a detective. He was so good in it he never played a bad guy again. Unlike many silent actors, sound boosted Powell's career. He had a fine, sophisticated voice and his stage training and comic timing greatly aided his introduction to sound pictures. He's best remembered today for his work with the charming Myrna Loy in six THIN MAN pictures.

The very first Academy Award ever presented was given to Emil Jannings (he received his award early due to the fact that he was going home to Europe before the ceremony) for his performances Best Actor in a Leading Role for: The Last Command (1928) and for The Way of All Flesh (1927). That first year they gave it for the whole years work and not just a single performance. Sadly THE WAY OF ALL FLESH is a lost film so we have nothing to compare it with.

Sternberg is best remembered today for his amazing lighting and cinematography of Dietrich but I saw watch the actors eyes in this film and you'll see he was also a director of great performances in amazing stories… I do you seek out and enjoy THE LAST COMMAND!

23 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Best Picture Nomination? MigsDC
Write to Paramount... Wailmer1990
Just watched this... pitsburghfuzz
Discuss The Last Command (1928) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: