T. it: Lo zar folle. Sc.: Hans Kräly, dalla pièce «Der Patriot» (1927) di Alfred Neumann. F.: Bert Glennon. Mu.: Domenico Savino, Gerard Carbonaro, dirette da Nathaniel Finston. Scgf.: Hans Dreier. Cost.: Ali Hubert. Cast: Emil Jannings (lo zar Paolo I), Lewis Stone (il conte Pahlen), Florence Vidor (la contessa Ostermann), Neil Hamilton (Alexander, il principe ereditario), Harry Cording (Stephan), Vera Voronina (Mlle Lapoukhine). Prod.: Ernst Lubitsch per Paramount Famous Lasky Corp; 35mm. L.: 140 m. D.: 6’ a 24 f/s.
After watching Emil Jannings portray the mad Czar Paul in The Patriot it is impossible to deny that he is infinitely the greatest actor yet produced by the motion picture. But that, it is true, was already practically axiomatic. What it is difficult to dispute now is that he is the finest player current in any form of dramatic art anywhere. […] In the final, tragic episodes, showing the piteous helplessness of the czar before the conspirators, Jannings performs one of his greatest feats. The early scenes are chiefly devoted to portraying Paul as a cheap clown and a merciless murderer, as taking from him any right to the slightest trace of human sympathy. Now this was probably not so difficult for an experienced actor to accomplish, just as it should not have been so complicated to show the betrayed emperor as the pathetic figure he is at the picture’s close. But to put both of these moods into one characterization and never once to give the feeling that the resulting portrait is confused or inconsistent or lacking in unity is, I proclaim, a genuine feat. […] In closing a word should be said about Lubitsch’s direction. In combining his usual grand sex comedy with real tragedy and doing it with restraint, good taste, fine intelligence and sure dramatic effect, he gives us a really outstanding motion picture.
Richard Watts Jr., «The Film Mercury», 31/08/1928