Though now an illuminating and rare artifact of both early Lubitsch and Hollywood’s transition to sound, the director’s last silent feature was more of a contract obligation than a project anywhere near his heart. After films like The Marriage Circle and So This is Paris, Eternal Love seems like a retreat to the earlier, more melodramatic historical dramas. Taking place in the Alps during the Napoleonic Wars, the deep love between John Barrymore’s handsome Marcus and his angelic fiancée—played by Camilla Horn—is threatened by the dangerous manipulations of Mona Rico’s witchlike temptress. Now that Lubitsch was in the US, his Alps were actually Canada’s Banff National Park, which proved rather treacherous for its stars–particularly Horn, who used no double in the mountain-climbing scenes. With an unusually roving camera following the soaring passions that run as high as the peaks, Lubitsch’s tragedy was ultimately released in two versions: one silent and the other with a music-and-effects track.
The Patriot - trailerDirected by Ernst Lubitsch.
With Emil Jannings, Lewis Stone.
US, 1928, 35mm, black & white, silent, 3 min.
Print source: UCLA
Fragments and the trailer are all that survive of Lubitsch’s The Patriot.