Just before the General crumples up on the salt-covered barbed-wire battleground of the studio, he hears his militant hymn and the director, a Russian who had no reason to love the General, gave the old man the words of comfort that caused the extra, in his unbalanced mental state, to believe that the Russia that was had come into power again.
Mr. Jannings does not wear a cap in this scene, as he realized that it would conceal to a certain extent his various expressions. He is magnificent as he straightens up at the sound of his militant hymn and then drops to the studio "snow."
"He was a great actor, that old guy," observes the casting director.
"And a great man, which is more," I adds the picture director, who incidentally in Russia had felt the General's riding crop on his cheek.
The motion picture end of this feature is wonderfully good, even to the selection of the players. There are the "yes men," the light experts, the electric wires like eels around the studio floor. The instructions are done to a T, without anything being too extravagant.
The story opens up with the choosing of a General for the battle scene, and Dolgorucki's photograph is brought out. It results in his selection and soon the casting director's assistant is on the wire calling Dolgorucki on the telephone at his shabby abode. He is told to report at 6:30 the next morning.
As the broken Russian military commander, Jannings gives a hint of the man's sufferings. He wears a beard. His face is that of an aristocrat, but every half second he shakes his head, like a man suffering from shell shock. They gibe him about this in the studio and scoff at him when he tells them, the other extras, that the Czar gave him his military cross. Jannings is perceived gazing at his make-up box, the cover of which is a mirror. He looks, every so often shaking his head.
Then comes a fade-out and soon one sees the General as he had been before the Kerensky or Soviet days. He is a man of courage, one who may use his riding crop occasionally, but who is not cruel. He loves his fatherland and even sneers at the Czar for taking a division of troops, from the battle front to satisfy the Little Father's vanity.