The Way of All Flesh

1927, Drama, 1h 30m

40 Reviews 100+ Ratings

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critics consensus

A weakness for melodrama dampens its impact, but Emil Jannings' outstanding performance makes The Way of All Flesh worth following. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Devoted family man and bank worker August Schilling (Emil Jannings) leaves Milwaukee for the first time to deliver bonds to a bank in Chicago. On the train, August falls prey to the seductive advances of Mayme (Phyllis Haver), the girlfriend of gang leader The Tough (Fred Kohler). When The Tough's gang attacks him, August resists, hurling the leader into an oncoming train. A shell-shocked August then assumes The Tough's identity and sets off on a far more difficult journey than he'd planned.

Cast & Crew

Emil Jannings
August Schilling
Belle Bennett
Mrs. Schilling
Phyllis Haver
The Temptress
Donald Keith
August, junior

Critic Reviews for The Way of All Flesh

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (5)

  • Great care has been shown in the backgrounds for this photodrama and meticulous attention to detail has been exercised.

    July 14, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Are the early and middle portions of the picture good enough to outweigh the atrocious third section in which every known tear-inducer but the homely onion is tossed at the audience? Thinking it over calmly, we are inclined to answer in the affirmative.

    July 14, 2021 | Full Review…
  • The producers have been so much afraid of launching the European Jannings without sufficient ballast of American hokum... that they have wasted much first-rate ability on what is essentially a maudlin film.

    July 14, 2021 | Full Review…
  • The Way of All Flesh, poignant, powerful melodrama... proves only what we already know -- that Jannings is the greatest of all character actors among us.

    May 20, 2021 | Full Review…
  • [Jannings] has the Chaplin humor and far more than the Chaplin pathos... He is a better villain than Wallace Beery. He rivals Chaney In the art of makeup. He is a composite of all the great, and himself the greatest of all.

    May 20, 2021 | Full Review…
  • This film matters, because it foreruns a new, serious, and honourable kind of popular tragedy, using popular emotion, not exploiting it. Dignity has come into the American commercial film, and Vic Fleming deserves some credit for it.

    May 20, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Great care has been shown in the backgrounds for this photodrama and meticulous attention to detail has been exercised.

    July 14, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Are the early and middle portions of the picture good enough to outweigh the atrocious third section in which every known tear-inducer but the homely onion is tossed at the audience? Thinking it over calmly, we are inclined to answer in the affirmative.

    July 14, 2021 | Full Review…
  • The producers have been so much afraid of launching the European Jannings without sufficient ballast of American hokum... that they have wasted much first-rate ability on what is essentially a maudlin film.

    July 14, 2021 | Full Review…
  • The Way of All Flesh, poignant, powerful melodrama... proves only what we already know -- that Jannings is the greatest of all character actors among us.

    May 20, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Even the artificialities of Hollywood have not yet touched the fine acting of Jannings, as is proved by his excellent character work in The Way of All Flesh.

    May 21, 2021 | Full Review…
  • It is a wonderful story, wonderfully portrayed, and provides a worthy medium for the genius of Emil Jannings.

    May 21, 2021 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Way of All Flesh

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