Plot: What’s it about?
In the Swiss mountains, a legion of French soldiers have taken over a small village, demanding the residents to turn over their guns. Although all the others agree with the demand, Marcus (John Barrymore) refuses and with good reason, as he needs his rifle to hunt. Marcus is in love with the minister’s daughter, Ciglia (Camilla Horn) and she returns his affections, which means sooner or later, the two could have a serious future together. But there is a third person involved in all this, in the form of Pia (Mona Rico) a young mountain girl who wishes to have Marcus for her own. As time passes, the war ends and the village celebrates the return of freedom, which means lots of booze and lots of good times. But when Marcus has a little too much to drink, he gets too frisky with Cyglia and scares her away for the time. This gives Pia just the chance she needs, so she slips into the picture and tries to tear Marcus and Ciglia apart. But will her devious plan work, or is the bond between the two lovers too strong for her to break?
I’d never seen this film before, but since I do like to explore silent films, I was drawn to this release. I’ve seen and liked several other pictures by director Ernest Lubitsch and this one had a solid cast, so I knew it would be worth a look. In the end, Eternal Love was well worth the effort, as it is a terrific movie and has excellent production design elements. The story is a good one and unfolds in fine form, thanks to the acting of such stars as John Barrymore and Camilla Horn, who turn in very good performances. This is a romantic period piece and as such, costumes, set designs, and location work all need to be solid and in this case, that’s an understatement. The costumes look great here, very impressive indeed and the sets are also well done, very solid work all around in Eternal Love. This disc features a newly restored visual transfer also, which ensures the film’s visuals come across in the best possible form. I give this film a very recommendation and of course, silent film films will be most interested, but anyone looking for a good romance should look into Eternal Love. The disc offers little more than the film itself, but is still worth the cash in the end.
I’ve been impressed with much of John Barrymore’s work, but I think some of his finest scenes can be found in Eternal Love. I don’t think this is his best overall performance, but a handful of sequences are so good, I have to rank them with Barrymore’s finest screen moments. As this is a romance driven picture, Barrymore turns on the charms and it all works well, as was usually the case with his turns. One of the true superstars of his time, Barrymore’s resume is loaded with films that all cinema lovers should explore. You can also see Barrymore in such films as Svengali, Bulldog Drummond’s Revenge, The Mad Genius, The Lotus Eater, Grand Hotel, Moby Dick, and Long Lost Father. The cast of Eternal Love also includes Camilla Horn (Faust, The Last Waltz), Hobart Bosworth (The Phantom Express, Hurricane), Mona Rico (Shanghai Lady, Zorro Rides Again), and Victor Varconi (For Whom The Bell Tolls, The King of Kings).
Video: How does it look?
Eternal Love is presented in a slightly windowboxed transfer, which is the film’s intended aspect ratio. This release features a print that was restored by UCLA’s Film and Television Archive and it shows, as this looks much better than I expected. Of course, some wear signs are still evident, but given the age and condition of the materials, I feel the restoration is a success indeed. This transfer is not pristine by any means, but it looks much better than most people will expect, which is more than enough in this case. The contrast is well balanced, which means accurate shadows and a strong overall sense of detail.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono track is just musical score, since this is a silent film and as such, don’t expect much over the basics. As far as mono music goes, this track sounds good, but perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the newly created tracks on some silent films, as I found this one lacking in some respects. Still, this is an adequate presentation and those used to silent films should be please, so no hard feelings on this front.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.