James Stewart stars as a railroad man hired to secretly carry a payroll despite his suspected connections to outlaws
Adapted from a Lajos Baros story by Ernst Lubitsch, von Sternberg's exceptionally styled, shadowy silent drama fulfils a fantastic premise. It stars Jannings as a Russian general who has fled to Hollywood after being defeated in the Revolution. He gets work as a film extra playing, well, a Russian general defeated in the Revolution. It turns out that the movie's director is an old Bolshevik whom Jannings had beaten, locked up and cuckolded during the uprising and now he's getting his own back.
Jannings's memorable portrayal of the madness that coexists with the extremes of fortune won him an Oscar.
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