Lost for decades, cinema genius Ernst Lubitsch's historical drama "Eternal Love" is a wonderful rediscovery. Starring the great John Barrymore and the gorgeous Camilla Horn, the film features the legendary actor in a sexua... more »l tour-de-force. Barrymore's powerful love scenes with Horn are among both actors' best performances on film. UCLA Film and Television Archives have combined the original sound and picture quality for this film restoration.« less
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 07/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ernst Lubitsch is remembered today as "the man with the golden touch". His droll and witty comedies of the sexes from the 30's and 40's such as TROUBLE IN PARADISE and TO BE OR NOT TO BE certainly deserve their place in movie history. So do his silent films which thanks to present day technology are being made available to new generations of film lovers. MGM released one of his best known silent films THE STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD HEIDELBERG (1927) back in 1991. Image Entertainment released THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE (1924) in 2000. Now Milestone Films have released ETERNAL LOVE on DVD.
Made at the end of the silent era (1929) with music and sound effects discs, the film has been beautifully restored with original materials by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. I was surprised not only at its beauty but also by the power of its simple story. Ill-fated love stories have been around forever but here I found it unexpectedly moving. It takes place in a village in Switzerland (it was filmed in the Canadian Rockies) and deals with love, individuality, honor, and small town morality. The ending, though expected, was still very effective.
John Barrymore, while giving power and dignity to his character, is guilty of chewing the scenery from time to time. I was also quite surprised by the heavy makeup he used in the first half of the film. Camilla Horn, who was Gretchen in F.W. Murnau's FAUST, makes a beautiful and believable heroine. The supporting roles were well acted with Mexican actress Mona Rico as the "bad girl" a real standout. While ETERNAL LOVE is no masterpiece, it is well made by master craftsman Lubitsch who says farewell to the silent era in style."
Restored and pleasing
Chip Kaufmann | 07/09/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll admit, I have been a silents fan for many years, but am still a novice, but I did enjoy this movie, and was surprised by the UCLA 'disclaimer' that this restoration was not up to their usual standards (or some such note). If that is the case, I would like to see their best standards! After years of suffering through bad copies of silents, with equally hideous "soundtracks" (of which there are a few exceptions), I was glad to see this movie restored to a good speed and brilliant contrasts of light and dark. Barrymore is elegant and graceful, mixing both outrageous humor (the scenes of his drunken revelry at the town party are funny, and a bit disheartening, much like Dinner At Eight), and brilliant drama (the lone scene of his finding the 'evil woman' had entered his room is incredibly portrayed with a few surprised, heavy heaves of the chest and narrowing eyes, more sexy to me than any obvious modern bedroom scene!)
Overall, there are much better stories, but to see Barrymore at his hearty best and Lubitsch's modern use of camera movement and beautiful mountain scenery, make this a worthwhile viewing."
European Film-making via Hollywood
Robert M. Fells | Centreville, VA USA | 09/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The very late silent film era in Hollywood, 1927-28, saw a number of artistic films made by European directors that could have been right out of Ufa's studio in Germany. SUNRISE is perhaps the most obvious example, but ETERNAL LOVE is definitely in that category. Not really a "lost" film, ETERNAL LOVE was safely secured among Mary Pickford's own films that she refused to circulate. Bootleg prints of this film have been in circulation for years but I was disappointed that the quality of this print wasn't more impressive. Good yes, impressive No. The introduction alerts the viewer that the print is "substandard" - too bad they didn't place that notice on the box. I would have bought it anyway. The film is intelligently written, directed and acted but it seems a little too doom-laden for its own good. John Barrymore railed for years against the happy endings that always got tacked on to his films so at least in his last silent he got the tragedy he wanted. A Barrymore-Lubitsch collaboration should have given us a sparkling romantic comedy - and that loss is a real tragedy!"
An Enduring Romance
Polkadotty | Mountains of Western North Carolina | 07/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eternal love ~ what a premise! And in this terrific film it comes delivered to you via two star-crossed lovers Ciglia (Camilla Horn) and Marcus (Barrymore). Marcus prefers the wild mountainsides outside of his Swiss village only somewhat less than the pure and beautiful preacher's daughter Ciglia, whom he desires very much to marry. Uncle Tass (Hobart Bosworth) has other ideas, wishing for Ciglia the more staid and proper Lorenz (Victor Varconi), while wild mountain girl Pia (Mona Rico) has her own designs on Marcus, desiring him very much for herself. Pia seduces Marcus through some truly dishonourable conniving, dooming Marcus to marry her. Ciglia settles with Lorenz in an effort to heal her crushed heart, but of course this does nothing of the sort ~ Marcus and Ciglia hold blazing torches that no twists of fate can quell. Thus, the movie moves toward its devastating finale.During a blizzard, Marcus becomes lost on the mountains. Pia, desperate to find him, implores Lorenz and Ciglia for help. Distraught at this news, Ciglia slips her facade for an instant arousing the suspicions of her husband. When Marcus arrives safely home, the jealous Lorenz bribes Marcus to take his leave from the village and from Ciglia once and for all. Marcus refuses, and Lorenz seeks a final, deadly revenge, during which he is mortally wounded. Marcus is now a marked man, and Ciglia's pleas of his innocence only serves to inflame the villagers to seek their own revenge on what they perceive as an adulterous couple. What happens next adds a satisfying 'drama' to this melodrama, and contains a twist equal to the larger-than-life affections of Marcus and Ciglia, whose only real crime was loving each other despite, and in spite, of any and all circumstances. This film should appeal to anyone with even a speck of the romantic, an appreciative eye for splendid scenery (filmed on location in the Canadian Rockies), and the taste for a rousing good story. Barrymore is a smouldering hero, his magnetism unabashedly evident in the love scenes. Camilla Horn is a gorgeous heroine that one cannot help aching with and for. The conniving Pia, on the other hand, is an absolute terror, and plays the bad girl to the hilt. This DVD includes the original score to the film, and the picture quality is astonishing. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, 'Eternal Love' was his last silent film."
A highlight for both Lubitsch and Barrymore
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although the title might suggest an over-sentimental or fairytale-style love story, "Eternal Love" is actually quite a powerful and realistic drama, and the only fairytale element is the beautiful setting of a Swiss hamlet in the year 1806. Filmed not in Switzerland but in the Canadian Rockies, renowned German director Ernst Lubitsch makes the most of both setting and starring actors, John Barrymore and Camilla Horn, with the smooth style and careful editing for which he became famous in the US. Lubitsch's earlier work back in Germany showed his skill in various kinds of comedies (see Kino Video's "Lubitsch in Berlin" series) and while "Eternal Love" is quite serious, the Lubitsch sophistication is definitely there. The focus is on the wild character Marcus, dynamically portrayed by John Barrymore, and his love for the genteel niece of the local minister, also perfectly played by Camilla Horn. But as in real life, sometimes the jealousy of others can destroy a couple's happy plans, and in this story there are two jealous rivals: a wildcat, the complete opposite of the minister's niece, who schemes to have Marcus for herself - and succeeds - and the patient suitor of the minister's niece who later also displays a nasty jealous streak when he realizes she still loves Marcus after all. "Eternal Love" is not a long or involved film at all, and events move rather quickly but never rushed, and always involving the audience in the tragically separated lovers' dilemma until the climactic ending. The picture quality is very good and clear throughout, and even the original sound disc has been restored, giving us today the same experience as audiences in 1929 when, on the verge of the sound era, many silent films were being made with a recorded musical score especially made to suit the film. This one is a nice classical, orchestral score with a few appropriate sound effects here and there. With such a charming and beautiful setting and Barrymore's performance under Lubitsch's expert direction, "Eternal Love" counts as one of the many precious gems of the silent era and deserves a place in every silent film collection. "