The Last Performance
The Last Performance was the last American silent film featuring Conrad Veidt
Conrad Veidt
Conrad Veidt was a German actor best remembered for his roles in films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari , The Man Who Laughs , The Thief of Bagdad and Casablanca...

 before he returned to Germany. Two versions were made - a silent version and Movietone
Movietone sound system
The Movietone sound system is a sound-on-film method of recording sound for motion pictures that guarantees synchronization between sound and picture. It achieves this by recording the sound as a variable-density optical track on the same strip of film that records the pictures...

 version complete with music, talking sequences, and sound effects. The silent version was first played at the Variety at the Little Carnegie Theater in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 in November 1929
1929 in film
-Events:The days of the silent film are numbered. A mad scramble to provide synchronized sound is on.*January 20 - The movie In Old Arizona is released. The film is the first full-length talking film to be filmed outdoors....


The film was shot on the same set as the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera (1925 film)
The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of the Gaston Leroux novel of the same title directed by Rupert Julian. The film featured Lon Chaney in the title role as the deformed Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to force...

, and contained an early use of zoom
Zoom lens
A zoom lens is a mechanical assembly of lens elements for which the focal length can be varied, as opposed to a fixed focal length lens...


The film received mixed reviews. While Photoplay
Photoplay was one of the first American film fan magazines. It was founded in 1911 in Chicago, the same year that J. Stuart Blackton founded a similar magazine entitled Motion Picture Story...

wrote "Conrad Veidt as a magician in a much over-acted and over-directed film", The New York Times on 8 November 1929 wrote:

"Dr. Fejos has handled his scenes with no small degree of imagination. Mr. Veidt's clever acting and Mary Philbin's captivating charm, this picture holds one's attention. Moreover, the narrative is developed with a certain force and skill. While some of the straight camera work is not up to scratch, there are a number of photographic feats that are quite effective. It is a picture that looks older than it really is, especially in the tinted portions where one goes from an amber interior scene to an azure blue night in the open."


In the film, Conrad Veidt stars as Erik the Great, a sinister stage Magician who falls in love with a woman half his age, Julie, played by Mary Philbin
Mary Philbin
Mary Philbin was a notable film actress of the silent film era. Philbin is probably best remembered for playing the roles of Christine Daaé in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera opposite screen legend Lon Chaney and Dea in The Man Who Laughs...

. A young thief, Mark Royce (played by Fred MacKaye) is caught stealing from Erik's apartment and is taken in at Julie's suggestion. Secretly she falls in love with the new apprentice. However, Erik's other apprentice, Buffo (played by Leslie Fenton
Leslie Fenton
Leslie Fenton was an English-born American actor and film director. He appeared in 62 films between 1923 and 1945....

) becomes aware of Julie's love for Mark, and driven by jealousy tells his master. Buffo is later found killed, and Mark is the prime suspect.


  • Leslie Fenton
    Leslie Fenton
    Leslie Fenton was an English-born American actor and film director. He appeared in 62 films between 1923 and 1945....

  • Fred MacKaye
  • Gusztáv Pártos
  • William H. Turner
  • Anders Randolf
    Anders Randolf
    Anders Randolf was a Danish American actor in American films from 1913 to 1931.Anders was born in Viborg, Denmark where he became a professional soldier in the Danish army and a world-class swordsman. He immigrated to the United States in 1895, quickly giving in to a lifelong passion for the...

  • Sam De Grasse
    Sam De Grasse
    Samuel Alfred De Grasse was a Canadian actor. Born in Bathurst, New Brunswick, he trained to be a dentist....

  • George Irving
    George Irving (American actor)
    George Henry Irving was an American film actor and director who made over 200 films in his lifetime. Some of his best known movies were Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Hearts Divided, A Night at the Opera, Son of Dracula, Hangmen Also Die!, Once Upon a Honeymoon, and Maid's Night Out.-Death:Irving...

External links

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