This early effort by Lubitsch is disappointingly heavy going, lacking the famous light touch of his later films. This is full on melodrama with little sense of fun, or history, as it tells the story of Louis xv's lover. Apparently this film caused a sensation when, re-titled "Passion", it was released in the USA. It also established its star and director on the international scene. It's very hard to understand why.
Negri and Jannings are quite good in the lead roles but are given few opportunities to shine. The camerawork is stilted and there is little in the way of visual interest, despite some large crowd scenes and lavish sets and costumes. It's all rather dull.
The print I saw ran at 110 minutes, with a relentlessly heavy music score, and was badly washed out. This made it quite hard to distinguish some of the characters as their powdered wigs changed them into white blobs - and some of the overly long letters were unreadable.
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