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Emil Jannings, Award Winner – MovieActors.com

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THE LAST COMMAND
& THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
(Drama)

Emil Jannings received his Oscar for his first two American made pictures: THE LAST COMMAND and THE WAY OF ALL FLESH. Please note: For the first year, the Academy gave its Acting Awards on the basis of the actor's yearly output, instead of for a single performance.

In the drama THE LAST COMMAND Emil Jannings played a refugee Russian general who is reduced to being an extra in Hollywood movies.

THE WAY OF ALL FLESH was about a happily married bank clerk who gets into an extra-marital relationship and ends up as a homeless bum.


About Emil Jannings (1882 – 1950)

Emil Jannings was born in Rorschach, Switzerland, and christened Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz. His parents were Emil Janenz, an American businessman from St. Louis, and Margarethe née Schwabe, who was a German of Russian-Jewish descent. His father died when he was a child, and the family moved to Görlitz, the easternmost town in Germany. Perhaps if his American father would have lived to raise him, Emil may have had a different life.

Emil Jannings was unlucky at love. He tried marriage three times, with German actresses as his brides, but his marriages didn't last long. His first marriage produced a child. His last marriage at the age of 37 was to actress Hanna Ralph; (1919-1921). They also had a child together. Not much is known about either offspring, and whether they survived WW2.

Emil began his quest to become an actor on stage when he received a traineeship with the Görlitz State Theatre. From 1901, and the years following, Emil worked as a stage actor making the rounds with several theatre companies in Bremen, Nuremberg, Leipzig, Königsberg, and Glogau. Finally, Emil Jannings began working on the Berlin stage in Max Reinhardt's company.

It was after WW 1 that Emil had his break-through stage role, as the character of the judge, in the stage play of THE BROKEN JUG, a comedy by German playwright Heinrich von Kleist.

Emil worked in silent films in Germany beginning in 1914, creating such roles as King Louis XV in Madam Du Barry and Dimitri Karamasoff in DIE BRUDER KARAMASOFF, HENRY VIII in ANNE BOLEYN, Mephistopheles in FAUST, as well as title roles in OTHELLO, PETER THE GREAT and TARTUFFE.

In addition to playing in classics, Emil also created a number of dramatic roles of hapless men, whose frailties are exposed. Emil starred in the feature length movie, THE WAY OF ALL FLESH, in 1927, as August Schilling, a Milwaukee bank clerk who gets fleeced while delivering some company bonds and disappears into a life of shame. In 1928, he starred in the movie, THE LAST COMMAND, the story of a disenfranchised Russian aristocrat and general, who takes a job in Hollywood with an old enemy, as an actor in a film which portrays the Russian Revolution.

In 1929, Emil Jannings won the first Oscar for Best Leading Actor for his performances in THE LAST COMMAND and THE WAY OF ALL FLESH.

With the advent of sound in films, Emil Jannings, who had a heavy German accent, returned to Germany, making movies in his native language. While the "Talkies" ended his American film career, sound in films made his German acting film experiences much more satisfying to him.

For instance, in 1930, Jannings made his most famous film, THE BLUE ANGEL in which he starred with Marlene Dietrich, portraying a elderly teacher in a boys school who becomes the ill fated love interest of a cabaret singer.

Emil Jannings made several propaganda films for Nazi Germany, in the 30's and 40's, including OHM KRUGGER, a film which depicted Britain as an imperialist nation. it seems that the Nazi's were willing to overlook the fact that Emil's mother and her side of the family were all Jewish. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels named him "Artist of the State" for his efforts, in 1941.

Because Emil had made films for the Nazis, his image was tarnished, but he was cleared of all wrongdoing by the American government. Emil was moved by the Spirit and converted to Catholicism. Emil made a few more German films, and retired to Strobl, Salzburg, Austria, where he became an Austrian citizen in 1947. Emil died of liver cancer in 1950 at the age of 65.

Emil Jannings's notable movie credits include...
br /> MADAM DUBERRY (1919)
DIE RATTEN (1921)
QUO VADIS? (1924)
LAST LAUGH (1924)
FAUST (1926)
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH (1927)
STREET OF SIN (1928)
THE LAST COMMAND (1928)
THE PATRIOT (1928)
SINS OF THE FATHERS (1928)
Liebling der Götter (1930)
THE BLUE ANGEL (1930)
Stürme der Leidenschaft (1932)
THE MERRY MONARCH (1933)
THE ADVENTURES OF KING PAUSOLE (1933)
THE BLACK WHALE (1934)
THE MAKING OF THE KING (1935)
TRAUMLUS (1936)
THE RULER (1937)
THE BROKEN JUG (1937)
ROBERT KOCH
UNCLE KRUGER (1941)
THE DISMISSAL (1942)
Altes Herz wird wieder jung (1943)
WHERE IS MR. BELLING? (1945)


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Emil Jannings in THE LAST COMMAND (1928).