A middle-aged magician is in love with his beautiful young assistant. She, on the other hand, is in love with the magician's young protege, who turns out to be a bum and a thief.

Director:

(as Paul Fejos)

Writers:

(titles), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Broadway (1929)
Crime | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A naive young dancer in a Broadway show innocently gets involved in backstage bootlegging and murder.

Director: Pál Fejös
Stars: Glenn Tryon, Evelyn Brent, Merna Kennedy
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A producer decides to reopen a theater, that had been closed five years previously when one of the actors was murdered during a performance, by staging a production of the same play with ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Leni
Stars: Laura La Plante, Montagu Love, Roy D'Arcy
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will.

Director: Paul Leni
Stars: Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley
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
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A world-famous pianist loses both hands in an accident. When new hands are grafted on, he doesn't know they once belonged to a murderer.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Strassny
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

François Villon, in his lifetime the most renowned poet in France, is also a prankster, an occasional criminal, and an ardent patriot.

Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: John Barrymore, Conrad Veidt, Marceline Day
Dragnet Girl (1933)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A gangster tries to find redemption with the inadvertent help of an innocent shop girl and his jealous girlfriend will do anything to keep him.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Jôji Oka, Sumiko Mizukubo
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments.

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames
Fast Workers (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Gunner and Bucker are pals who work as riveters. Whenever Bucker gets the urge to marry, which is often, Gunner will hit on his girl to see if she is true or not. So far, Gunner has not ... See full summary »

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: John Gilbert, Robert Armstrong, Mae Clarke
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A flamboyant Broadway impresario who has fallen on hard times tries to get his former lover, now a Hollywood diva, to return and resurrect his failing career.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

When a proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690, he is cruelly executed and his son surgically disfigured.

Director: Paul Leni
Stars: Mary Philbin, Conrad Veidt, Julius Molnar
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
...
Fred MacKaye ...
Gusztáv Pártos ...
Theatre Manager (as Gustav Paros)
William H. Turner ...
Anders Randolf ...
Sam De Grasse ...
...
Edit

Storyline

A middle-aged magician is in love with his beautiful young assistant. She, on the other hand, is in love with the magician's young protege, who turns out to be a bum and a thief.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

melodrama | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Romance

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 October 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Erik the Great  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System) (talking sequences)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Bela Lugosi dubbed Conrad Veidt's voice for the Hungarian version. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Veidt was Made for the Silents
23 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Universal was enamored of setting stories in the theater, weren't they? Perhaps "Phantom of the Opera" set the precedence. "The Last Warning" featured a masked murderer terrorizing Broadway. "The Last Performance" sets a love triangle among a magic act. Once again, Mary Philbin plays the object of desire of a murderous older man. While "Phantom" had obvious grotesque attributes and "The Last Warning" was basically an old dark house mystery, "The Last Performance" is a melodrama with light fantastic elements.

The story is typical. Erik the Great, a stage magician and hypnotist, is in love with Julie, his female assistant. He plans to marry the girl as soon as she turns eighteen, a story turn likely to gross out modern audiences. Julie only has eyes for Mark, a vagabond that Erik takes under his wing. "The Last Performance" neatly follows the three-act structure, with Erik discovering the truth about his love at the 18 minute point, the "seven swords through the box" magic trick going predictably wrong half-way through, and the last act set during a trial, with the case-solving testimony serving as a concise climax.

Of most interest to horror fans is Conrad Veidt's performance. Veidt was made for the silents. He says so much with simply a shift of his brow, expressing heart-break or jealousy with only his face. Despite the temptation to compare the two, Erik the Great isn't Erik the Phantom. He's not a monster, rather a fair man who commits wrong only out of love. The hypnotism sequences make great use of his glaring eyes. No wonder Veidt was nearly Dracula. Conrad's performance alone makes the sappy finale believable. The rest of the cast is thin, with Mary Philbin making goo-goo eyes at Fred MacKaye, a marginal matinée hero.

While lighter on expressionistic atmosphere then you'd hope, "The Last Performance" still has several stand-out moments. An early bit has Veidt walking a catwalk, shadows criss-crossing over his face. When the lover's affair is revealed, his shadow is cast huge on the wall, dwarfing the girl and her mate. Veidt's power as a hypnotist is displayed by overlaying his glaring face over the character performing the requested action. A memorable early scene has the man mesmerizing a skeptical audience member, their theater booth suddenly spinning around them.

"The Last Performance" is another example of routine silent film material elevated by its lead actor. After years of obscurity, the film was recently released by the Criterion Collection… Kind of. It's a special feature packaged with "Lonesome," a later film by the same director. This version has Danish titles with English subtitles and is apparently missing several sound sequences. The film is concise enough that I can't imagine those scenes would add much.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Criterion release! pemory09
Discuss The Last Performance (1927) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page