Vladimir Dubrouvsky, a lieutenant in the Russian army, catches the eye of Czarina Catherine II. He spurns her advances and flees, and she puts out a warrant for his arrest, dead or alive. Vladimir learns that his father's lands have been taken by the evil Kyrilla Troekouroff, and his father dies. He dons a black mask, and becomes the outlaw The Black Eagle. He enters the Troekouroff household disguised as a French instructor for Kyrilla's daughter Mascha. He is after vengeance, but instead falls in love with Mascha. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The story is set during the reign of Catherine the Great, who died in 1796, but the clothing styles are much closer to those worn in the early 19th century. And at one point Vladimir lights a candle with a friction match, which weren't invented until 1826. See more »
I really enjoyed watching this film after a gap of 15 years or so. The version I saw before was the Photoplay version, restored for UK Channel 4 and video release in 1986, this time it was an InstantVision DVD I picked up for £1 in 2004. It sure ain't got Carl Davis's score! The music is OK and it accidentally works for much of the film, but it repeats in 13 minute cycles come what may in the 72 on the screen. The fact that it is so apparent is the only annoying thing about the DVD production, and only detracts slightly from the film itself - you can play it silent!
It's a tale similar to Zorro in sex-mad Catherine the Great's Russia/ Hollywood, with the Vengeance of the Black Eagle ultimately diffused by Love. The camera treats Valentino and Banky well, two young and beautiful people caught in time for all time. Good points: The scene with the banquet table groaning (under the camera apparatus?); Valentino massaging Banky's neck in an erotic moment; the splendidly atmospheric marriage in the prison cell. Bad points: Occasional hamminess and the overpowering feeling that we're not in Russia.
But all in all a most impressive penultimate film for Valentino, and one I hope to view again with a more sympathetic soundtrack!
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