B&W : Twelve reels / 10,172 feet / 113 minutes
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Cast: Emil Jannings [Czar Paul I], Florence Vidor [Countess Ostermann], Lewis Stone [Count Pahlen], Vera Voronina [Mademoiselle Lapoukhine], Neil Hamilton [Crown Prince Alexander], Harry Cording [Stefan]
Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation production; distributed by Paramount Pictures Corporation. / Scenario by Hans Kraly (Hanns Kräly), from a play adaptation by Ashley Dukes based on the play adaptation Der Patriot by Alfred Neumann of the story Paul I by Dmitri Merezhkovsky. Production manager, Eric Locke. Production design by Hans Dreier. Costume design by Ali Hubert. Props by Bob Margolo. Technical advisor, Nicholas Kobliansky. Assistant directors, George Hippard and George Yohalem. Cinematography by Bert Glennon. Second camera operator, William Rand. Camera assistants, Ralph Burdick and William H. Clothier. Intertitles by Julian Johnson. Edited by Ernst Lubitsch. Music by Max Bergunker, Gerard Carbonara and Domenico Savino. Musical direction by Nat W. Finston. Presented by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky. / © 4 September 1928 by Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation [LP25593]. Premiered August 1928. Released 1 September 1928. / [?] Movietone 35mm spherical 1.20:1 format and/or Standard 35mm spherical 1.37:1 format? Western Electric Movietone sound-on-film sound system. / The film was also released in the USA in a silent version at 9,819 feet by Paramount Pictures Corporation. Hans Kräly won an Academy Award for Writing for his work on this film. / Silent film, with talking sequences, synchronized music and sound effects.
Reviews: [The diary of Sune Johnson (1908-1987), 31 August 1928] . . . we decided to go to the State [Minneapolis, Minnesota] where we saw “The Patriot” with Emil Jannings as Czar Paul I, Lewis Stone as Count Pahlen, his most trusted friend, and Florence Vidor as Countess Osterman, Pahlen’s mistress. It was a fine dramatic picture of an insane czar and Pahlen’s plot to get rid of him to save Russia from his rule. At the end a servant of Pahlen’s kills the czar when all other conspirators are afraid and one hour later Pahlen compels the servant to shoot him for he says “I have been a poor friend and a bad lover, but I have tried to be a patriot.” / Emil Jannings played the part of an insane man with unusual reality. When handed a portfolio of documents to sign he picks them up one by one, looks at them, and lays them down in a mussed manner without signing them. His hands seems to be groping for something that isn’t there. When an officer coughs he looks behind his chair, under his desk and in all the corners of the room. Then he would cry out “Pahlen” (he really cried out for it was a Movietone picture). / Lewis Stone did a wonderful bit of acting as Count Pahlen, a cold, methodical officer who alone could make the Czar do something rational and then only by flattery, story-telling, and appealing to the pleasures he may have with women. But he is a friend to the Czar so that he cries when the Czar fears being murdered and finally is murdered. His compelling his servant to kill him after the Czar is a very fine expression of friendship that he bore for an insane man.
Survival status: The film is presumed lost (with exerpts existing; the UCLA Film and Television Archive holds approximately 2500 feet of extant exerpts from the film; one reel from the film has been recovered in Portugal).
Current rights holder: (unknown)
Keywords: Conspiracies - Crime: Murder (Assassination) - Death: Murder - Insanity - Mistresses - Patriotism - Royalty: Paul I, Emperor of Russia (1754-1801) - Russia - Synchronized sound film
Listing updated: 26 January 2015.
References: Bardèche-History pp. 258, 287; Brownlow-Parade p. 266; Everson-American p. 269; Fell-History p. 119; Sarris-Sternberg p. 16; Vermilye-Twenties p. 225 : Website-AFI; Website-IMDb : with additional information provided by Arne Andersen and Chris Johnson.