The Way of All Flesh (1927 film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Way of All Flesh is a 1927 film that was written by Lajos Biró, Jules Furthman, Julian Johnson and Ernest Maas from a story by Perley Poore Sheehan. The film was directed by Victor Fleming and is unrelated to Samuel Butler's novel The Way of All Flesh.

The film is a melodrama starring Emil Jannings, Belle Bennett and Phyllis Haver. Jannings won the first Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in this film and his performance in The Last Command (the only year that acting Oscars were awarded for multiple performances).

No known copies of this film are known to survive, making Jannings' the only Oscar-winning performance to no longer exist.

In the story, which opens in the early 1900s, Jannings plays August Schiller, a bank clerk in Milwaukee who is happy with both his job and his family. But when bank officials ask him to transport $1,000 in securities to Chicago, he meets a blond seductress on the train, who sees what he is carrying. She flirts with him, convinces him to buy her a bottle of champagne, and takes him to a saloon run by a crook. The next morning he awakes alone in a dilapidated bedroom, without the securities. He finds the woman, and at first pleads with her, then intimidates her to return the stolen securities. He is knocked unconscious by the saloon owner and dragged to a nearby railroad track. As the crook strips him of everything that might lead to his identification, Schiller recovers consciousness, and in a struggle the crook is thrown into the path of an oncoming train and killed. Schiller flees, and in despair is about to take is own life, when he sees in a newspaper that he is supposedly dead, the crook's mangled body having been identified as Schiller's. The time passes to twenty years later. Schiller is aged and unkempt, employed to pick up trash in a park. He sees his own family go to a cemetery and place a wreath on his grave. Following other scenes in a Christmas snowstorm, Schiller makes his way to his former home, where he sees that the son whom he had taught to play violin is now a successful musician. He walks away, carrying in his pocket a dollar that his son has given him, not recognizing that the old tramp is his father.

The movie was remade in 1940, starring Akim Tamiroff, Gladys George and William Henry.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Way of All Flesh (1927 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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