A Woman Commands is often cited as silent screen star Pola Negri's first talking picture. Actually, it was her first American talkie and almost her last, posting a $265,000 loss for RKO Radio. Ordered to marry Serbian king Alexander (Roland Young), noblewoman Maria Draga (Negri) does what she's told, though her heart belongs to dashing army captain Pasitch (Basil Rathbone). Ultimately, the heroine nearly brings about Pasitch's total downfall, but she redeems herself by sacrificing her life to save his. Negri's thick Teutonic accent is not as much of a detriment as some historians have claimed: the problem lies in the terrible dialogue she is called upon to speak. Such was the failure of A Woman Commands that Pola Negri immediately returned to her adopted homeland of Germany, where she remained until WWII necessitated her second Hollywood comeback in 1943's Hi Diddle Diddle.
by Hal Erickson synopsis