Could We Have The Old Version, Please?
Sandy McLendon | Atlanta, GA USA | 12/26/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If you don't have a copy of Valentino's most engaging silent, "The Eagle", in your collection, you should certainly have this, but you should know that it is far - very far - from the best version that has been available. This edition is sourced from the Killiam Collection, and is evidently from a 16mm reduction print that saw long use and little care. Contrast and detail are poor, to say the least. There is a sad, tired musical accompaniment that is best turned off, frankly.What's awful about all this is that this same company, Image Entertainment, once offered a far superior version. Its 1989 laserdisc edition was based on a clean 35mm print from the Rohauer Collection that had excellent contrast and detail. The score was a magnificently well-suited one by Carl Davis; it went so well with the film that once you've had a viewing with Davis's compositions, seeing "The Eagle" with any other score is unthinkable."The Eagle" is indispensable to a collection of silents, but this edition is not a patch on what Image itself has offered in the past. It is to be hoped that the company can clear whatever obstacles are keeping it from offering a DVD release of what was one of the best silent-film offerings on laserdisc.Two stars out of five- I'm docking two for the ghastly print, two for the wretched score that takes the place of Davis's work, and adding one back to be charitable, because this movie is one of Valentino's best, and you should have it, even in a version as shabby as this."
"The Eagle" on DVD -- wonderful film but poor print
Ravyn | Chicago, IL USA | 07/13/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Eagle" is probably silent screen star Rudolph Valentino's best film. A delightful romantic swashbuckler set in the 18th century Russia (although costume-wise it looks 19th and early 20th century), it is full of action, romance, and also plenty of humor. Valentino is a lieutenant in the czarina's army who becomes a sort of Russian Zorro in order to avenge his father's murder by a neighboring landowner who had stolen his land. His plans for revenge go awry when he falls in love with the charming and lovely daughter of his enemy played by Vilma Banky, who would be reteamed with Valentino in his final film, "The Son of the Sheik." "The Eagle" was directed by Clarence Brown who went on to direct Greta Garbo, and made a number of classic sound films including "National Velvet." "The Eagle" as a film deserves 5 stars but I can only give this new DVD print 3 stars. Unfortunately, the poor picture quality of this DVD is from the Killiam Collection and is released by Image Entertainment. It has an organ score which I found to be so-so....The only real plus here with this DVD is there are chapter titles so you can jump to your favorite scenes. There are no other extras here."
Great Movie, So-So DVD
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 06/27/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite Valentino movie. It allows him to use his natural talent as a comedian while still fulfilling what his audience expected of his as "the great lover".
Valentino plays Vladimir, a young Cossack officer who spurns the advances of Catherine the Great. (An amusing reversal especially when viewed along with the Sheik movies) Unfortunately, Vladimir's father wirtes to him begging him to get the Czarina's help. He has been swindled by a friend and is dying. Vladimir can do nothing but go home and watch his father die a broken man. He vows vengeance against Karilla, who betrayed his father, and becomes a sort of Russian Zorro called the Black Eagle.
Another unfortunate twist, Karilla has a daughter and since she is played by the lovely Vilma Banky you can guess what happens. Vladimir is smitten and is now stuck between loyalty to his father and band of followers and his love for her. Banky guesses who Vladimir really is right away (in spite of his disguises) and tries to get him to spare her father. Of course, Vladimir will have none of it and it looks like trouble until Vladimir is caught by the soldiers of the revengeful Catherine.
What happens next? Watch and see!Valentino handles his swashbuckler duties with an airy charm. (A shame he never played the Scarlet Pimpernel!) His scenes with Louise Dresser's Catherine are particularly good. She is trying to charm him, he is trying to find a polite way out. Dresser thoroughly deserved her Oscar nod and it's too bad that Valentino was not given one as well. The rest of the supporting cast is also very good, Vilma Banky plays her usual role, the nice girl with a temper, and has an obvious chemistry with Valentino.That said, this DVD, while ok, is not the greatest. The print quality is so-so and points. Bit of dust and lint got in the way of the transfer and can be distracting. The score is pipe organ. There are no extras besides scene selection. All in all, not an improvement on the VHS releases but you may as well buy it if you have an all DVD collection.Check out this movie to watch the Valentino legend yourself but don't expect too much from the DVD."
Susan Voorhees | Brunswick, Ohio United States | 03/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a very big Rudolph Valentino fan. I love this movie. He just couldn't get any better than in this movie. The part with the Empress is the best. The look on his face is fabulous. I have seen just about all of Rudy's movies and this ranks as my second favorite. The first is Son of the Sheik. Vilma Banky was a beautiful star and was very good in this movie also."