Josef von Sternberg directs this silent historical drama starring Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent and William Powell. In Hollywood in 1928, director Leo Andreyev (Powell) hires former Czarist Russian General Grand Duke Sergius Alexander (Jannings) to play an extra in his latest film about the Russian Revolution. Through flashbacks, the story of the disgraced commander's downfall is told and it transpires that he has history with his new director, who he previously humiliated at the height of his power. With Sergius at his lowest point, Leo seeks to embarrass his former adversary but he later comes to change his opinion of the former commander. Jannings won an Academy Award for his performance.