Josef von Sternberg's "The Last Command" (archival 35mm print!)

Rarely does a movie successfully paint a sympathetic portrait of a villain as a man with a good heart mired in the wrong set of circumstances — and Josef Von Sternberg’s The Last Command does just that with a stroke of mastery so mesmerizing that it’ll remind you how powerful and emotionally complex films can be. Emil Jannings gives a thrilling performance as a former Tsarist Russian general, toppled and beaten, exiled from his country and lost in a nightmare scenario in which he’s an extra in a film about the same revolution that destroyed him. Awarded the very first Oscar for Best Actor for the role, Jannings’ tormented portrayal of this fallen idol is absolutely worthy of such an accolade. On top of the film’s surreal set-up, we’re also treated with the magical cinematography of Bert Glennon (Stagecoach) and incredible sets that plant you firmly in the rich periods of both early Hollywood and Tsarist Russia. This is a real powerhouse of a film, with war, impossible love and one of the greatest on screen performances of the era! Our evening also includes two short subjects: Laurel & Hardy in Big Business (1929), and the animated Ko-Ko’s Klock (1927)!
The Last Command Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1928, 35mm, 85 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive)
Ko-Ko’s Klock Dir. Dave Fleischer, 1927, 35mm, 7 min. (Archival 35mm print courtest of the UCLA FIlm & Television Archive)
Big Business Dirs. Leo McCarey & James W. Horne, 1929, 35mm, 19 min. (Archival 35mm print courtest of the UCLA FIlm & Television Archive)

Watch Cinefamily’s trailer for “The Last Command”!