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In a Swiss Village in 1806, the fiery Marcus and the local clergyman's niece Ciglia are passionately in love. Unfortunately, after getting drunk during a celebration, Marcus is seduced by his aggressive admirer Pia, who uses the encounter to force him into marrying her. Heart-broken, Ciglia tries to forget him by marrying her own persistent admirer, Lorenz. Able to be faithful in deed but not thought, the two pine for each other, inspiring jealousy in their respective spouses. And once Lorenz decides to find a way to force Marcus out of town for good, it seems the relationship between Marcus and Ciglia can only end in tragedy. Written by
A strong cast saves this melodrama from pretty much killing itself. Set in Switzerland, the rebel Marcus (John Barrymore) would do anything for the woman (Camilla Horn) he loves but in a drunken state he sleeps with another. The Reverend makes Marcus marry this woman, which might be the end of his relationship with his true love but soon fate steps in. This later day silent isn't nearly as bad as one might think but there's no question that the screenplay goes overboard on the melodrama and the questionable ending almost kills things. I think fans of the stars as well as the director will want to check this film out but it's questionable what impact it will have on them. We'll start with Barrymore but he once again turns in a very strong performance and you can't help but feel that he is this character. I thought he handled the more athletic aspects of the film quite well and he certainly knows how to milk every ounce of drama out of a scene. Just check out his eyes during the scene where he's forced to marry the woman he doesn't love. Horn is also very good in her role as she perfectly captures the innocence of her character and Mona Rico is pitch-perfect as the "other" woman with the more sexual nature. Speaking of sex, this film offers quite a bit of stuff that would certainly not be film-able in upcoming years including the sexual act while Barrymore is drunk off his mind. We even have the two married people coming together towards the end, which is yet another act that would have been looked down on. Lubitsch's direction handles everything fairly well but what really impressed me were the visuals. There are several tracking shots that look incredibly good including one where we follow Barrymore walking through the mountains. The performances and direction make this worth sitting through but I'm sure many will be howling at the ending. The silent film was released with a Movie Tone track, which includes the music as well as several sound effects including wind gusts, knocking, gun shots and a few other things.
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