Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem is vividly brought to life by one of the silver screen's great beauties, Mexican actress Dolores del Rio. In the quiet Acadian village of Grand-Pre, Nova Scotia, lives the beautiful a... more »nd beloved Evangeline. She is betrothed to Gabriel, but before they can marry, France and England declare war. The Acadians, bound by an allegiance to England but by ties of kinship to France, refuse to take up arms. As a result, they are forcefully deported and Evangeline must set sail for unknown lands, wander in the American wilderness, searching for her lost love.« less
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 05/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Evangeline is a very good adaptation of Longfellow's famous poem. It follows the story of the poem closely and includes brief extracts from the text as titles. Where the film departs from the poem it generally improves the story, makes it more dramatic and clear. This story of the Acadian exile from Nova Scotia is very moving, even more so in the film, for it provides the historical context and reasoning behind the decision of the British to remove the French speaking Acadians from their homes. It is 1755 and France and Britain are about to fight the `Seven Years War'. The Acadians wish to remain neutral, but are told they must either fight for the British or leave. Longfellow does not really spell this out, assuming that the history would be familiar to his readers. No doubt it was familiar to readers when he was writing, but it is less familiar now and so the film's greater emphasis on explaining the story is very welcome. There are some very powerful scenes in the film especially those that detail the brutality of the British in forcing the Acadians from their homes and in the process causing the separation of families and loved ones. The film tries to mitigate the British cruelty by suggesting that it did not have the sanction of the government. No doubt the studio hoped that the film would thus play better in Britain. But the images of the crime remain more vivid than any excuses. The film is a compelling account and indictment of `ethnic cleansing' and remains vitally relevant today. The print used for the Image DVD is very good. It is tinted using various muted shades and is clear and sharp. There is almost no damage. Evangeline is a very late silent film, released in 1929, and originally was accompanied by a soundtrack of music, sound effects, singing and a very brief piece of dialogue. Some of this soundtrack has now been lost. Where this is the case the DVD includes a piano score. It is easy to tell where the original soundtrack remains for the sound quality is quite poor and indistinct. It is interesting to hear the original soundtrack as it illustrates the transition period between silent films and talkies. It is clear that Evangeline was shot as a silent with the sound added later for where there is singing it does not synchronize with the lips of the actors. Only at the very end of the film is there a brief moment when Evangeline actually speaks. It's as if we hear the end of silent pictures, and in a way we do."
A real romantic treat
Michael Bo | Frederiksberg Denmark | 05/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Evangeline' is to be greatly recommended in its own right, not just for being among the very last handful of silent films. It was rare, even in earlier silent days, to dare speak in such lushly melodramatic terms as director Carewe does here, and after this viewer's initial puzzlement, even periodic embarassment, I was completely won over by the sheer wilfulness of passion, the faith the characters have in undying love. The location scenes are, to put it mildly, spectacular, and the grandiose scenes showing off a cast of at least several hundreds impress even in this computer-generated age. The technical quality of Image Entertainment's edition is unsurpassed in visual brilliance, and I applaud the decision to mix between the original symphonic score and a modern piano transcription where the original music was missing.
What can I say? You need to be a romantic to appreciate this film, but if you are, you are in for an unforgettable treat."
R. Pepin | 08/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this silent with my heart set on seeing Miriam Cooper in the starring role. Upon its arrival, I immediately noticed the name "Dolores Del Rio" as the lead, and put it on the shelf. I'd heard of Del Rio, but my disappointment at not having Miriam Cooper as Evangeline over-rode my curiosity. Come to find out, the version of "Evangeline" that stars Miriam Cooper is considered "lost". When I put aside my misgivings. and viewed the film, I was struck by the beauty of Dolores Del Rio, and the depth of her emotions. Her performance was quite extraordinary, and you could see that she'd thrown all of herself into playing Evangeline. Also, this dvd was constructed from the original 35mm prints, and boasts the original tints and musical score. This is a wonderful rendition of "Evangeline" that bears witness to the dedication and artistry of little known directors and "foreign" actors. I recommend this movie to anyone who has a penchant for silent films at their best."
A beautiful cinematic experience
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 09/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Made during the pinnacle of artistic and elegant silent film production in 1929, "Evangeline" is a superb example of a high quality silent cinema which has taken its rightful place alongside other fine film classics over the century. The story itself is already a deeply moving experience, making the forced deportation of Acadians from Nova Scotia in the mid 1700s much more than just an historic event as it revolves around the life of Evangeline and her betrothed, Gabriel. The film opens with stunning scenery of the rugged north-east coastline, the quaint village and the likeable characters that live there, and of course, the deep, whole-souled love and commitment between Evangeline and Gabriel. But at the height of their bliss, a cruel military strike shatters all their lives, and the film becomes a gripping and heart-rending adventure as the lovers become separated and try to find each other in various parts of the United States. Emotions and suspense are often intensified by the original Vitaphone soundtrack to this film which includes a few sound effects and some lovely songs which were popular in the late 1920s. Unfortunately, the entire soundtrack has not been retrieved, and a standard but very good piano score fills the scenes which are missing the original soundtrack. Although it might seem a bit haphazard to have ten minutes of piano score, then ten minutes of original soundtrack and then piano again, the visual impact of "Evangeline" surely outweighs any disappointment over musical accompaniment. Fine acting, especially by legendary Mexican screen beauty, Dolores Del Rio, express all the intense emotions which make "Evangeline" such a vivid and unforgettable love story. Although there are no special features or bonuses on this DVD, the overall beauty and style of the film, along with perfect picture quality, already score a full five star rating, and this is a silent film any lover of good, classic cinema would appreciate. "
Samantha Kelley | USA | 06/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Evangeline is based on the Longfellow poem about starcrossed lovers; this makes it both romantic and artistic. Dolores del Rio is Evangeline and Roland Drew is her lover. The two plan to be married but are interrupted by a war that takes the villagers away to America. The chaos separates them and as soon as they get to America, it is all they can do to search desperately for each other. This is a sad film, but intensely emotional and beautifully done.
The photography is excellent. There are halos of light around the couples' heads. The makeup is wonderful; both people look amazing (not that they needed much help). The technology is very advanced despite this being a silent film. After all, it was made when the talkies were coming into the spotlight.
Milestone always does a great job with their releases, and this one is no exception. The price might be slightly high, but it is worth it for such a gem of a film."