News
Top News

Scott Reviews Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray]

Utilizing a tremendous premise in the most laborious way possible, Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command has to rank among his least dynamic and interesting films. Taking inspiration from an actual Russian general who fled the motherland and was forced to work as a day-player extra in early Hollywood, the 1928 film only treats its present-day setting as a framing device to house a too-familiar tale. Sergius Alexander (Emil Jannings), grand duke and army commander, had a special fervor for quashing revolutionary movements, but, as he’s living on the brink of the Russian Revolution, this task is sure to overwhelm him. Stretching this exposition across an hour of screentime, even someone of Sternberg’s genius cannot find purchase in anything of interest. There’s nothing distinctive about Sergius’s fall from glory, nor the manner in which he wields his power. Nothing in this section is a fraction as

See full article on CriterionCast