International The Last Command 1928

bigshot

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Jan 30, 2008
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Stephen
I screened this last night... WHAT A FANTASTIC FILM! The acting is incredible, particularly Emil Jannings. His performance showed layer after layer of nuance, and the ending completely blew my socks off. Von Sternberg's direction was fantastic too. Every shot was staged and composed beautifully, without feeling like it was trying to hard or losing spontaneity. The montage in the riot scenes was great too. This may be one of the greatest silent films I've ever seen.

The blu-ray is a little bare bones. Just an organ score, but it follows the calls for specific music in the film, and lays back enough to let the film speak for itself. The print they used for the transfer isn't perfect. It has density some problems, even in the title cards, which are usually corrected with video freezes and paintbox. But in motion it isn't at all bothersome. The sharpness is only a little bit above the resolution of a DVD, but the grayscale is perfect. For me, the contrast levels are the most important thing. If the blacks are black and the whites are white and there's a wide range of grays in-between, I can enjoy watching it. And I certainly enjoyed watching this one.

I had a few friends over for Memorial Day dinner, and we decided that a Russian war picture was the thing to watch. When it came to THAT ENDING! WOW! A gasp came out of every person in the room. I'm going to watch this one again soon. I recommend this disc.
 

bujaki

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Jan 1, 2012
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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
I saw an archival 35mm print in 1972 and, like Stephen, could only marvel at this magnificent picture. It is one of the great silent films of all time, and it does feature one of the great performances of the era. Emil Jannings justly won the first Academy Award for Best Actor (they got it right!). The BD hasn't been released domestically, alas. Criterion released a DVD some years ago.
 

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