Synopsis by Mark Deming
Ernst Lubitsch, well-known for his sophisticated romantic comedies, proved that he was equally adept at historical drama in this lavishly-mounted story. Count Pahlen (Lewis S. Stone) is a close and trusted friend of Paul I (Emil Jannings), a Russian Czar of the 18th century. Russia is in turmoil and the czar fears for his life; while Pahlen holds a fierce loyalty to Paul I as both a friend and a ruler, he is deeply troubled by the czar's increasingly violent tirades, unstable leadership, and the desperate poverty of many of his countrymen. Stefan (Harry Cording) -- a guard at the czar's palace who has been mistreated by Paul I -- and Mlle. Lapoukhine (Vera Voronina), the czar's lover, become involved in a plot to assassinate the ruler. Pahlen agrees to help them, though not without severe misgivings as he betrays a friend for the good of his native land. Shot as a silent feature while sound films were beginning to take over, The Patriot features several scenes with dialogue that were added without Lubitsch's participation shortly before its release; the finished product earned five Academy Award nominations, with Hanns Kraly winning an Oscar for his screenplay.
accusation, aristocracy, assassination, bishop, craziness, Czar, death, dishonesty, disturbance, fear, fidelity, fire, forces [military], friendship, help, insanity, killing, life, lover, lure [tempt], maniac, misery, mistress, palace, puppy, questioning [police interrogation], retreat [sanctuary], Russia, safety, scheme, security-guard, trust, weapons, window, wound [injury]