starring John Barrymore and Camilla Horn
BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE (reviewed by Martin Dickstein)
May 13, 1929

John Barrymore is starring in a new picture at the Rivoli Theater. It is called "Eternal Love," and it is one of those things in wich the star is called upon to scale those emotional heights which have a habit of looming up in John Barrymore pictures. The most formidable of these heights is surmounted in the final scene of the production when Mr. Barrymore, as a Swiss mountaineer, and his beloved Ciglia (Cmilla Horn) stand clasped together in a snow-filled Alpine pass and go down willingly to their death in a landslide. Thus, a subtitle informs us, they were to know the joy of an enduring - nay, an eternal - love, which fate (and certain Swiss marriage laws) had not permitted them in life.

It seems that Marcus Paltram (Mr. Barrymore) had compromised one of the less desirable village belles during a wine-bibbing festival on the eve of his marriage to the beautiful and virtuous Ciglia. And so Marcus became the husband of Pia, not out of choice, but out of necessity. Ciglia became the wife of another, not for love, but for pride. But true love was not to be cast aside and forgotten so easily -- at least not in a picture in which the principal roles were played by Camilla Horn and John of the Barrymores. And surely not in a picture with such a santimonious title as "Eternal Love." So, the two lovers had one last rendezvous high up in the snowy Alps, and then they clasped each other in their arms and looked to heaven for a quick and painless end. It came in the form of an avalanche.

It is not surprising, therefore, that "Eternal Love" contains very little to recommend to discriminating picuregoers, despite Mr. Barrymore's presence in the starring role and the fact that it was directed by the usually excellent Ernst Lubitsch. Mr. Barrymore, himself, does not bring any particular distinction to the role of the soul-torn Swiss lover, although it is barely possible that the star may have played the part for exactly what it was worth -- and not much more. As for Herr Lubitsch, it is inconceivable that the picture at the Rivoli represents anything like his best work behind the camea. Perhaps he, too, thought that "Eternal Love" wasn't worth bothering about.

Incidentally, "Eternal Love" is a silent production. For this we should be thankful. There might have been yodeling.

(Thanks to Cole Johnson for providing this review)

For more information, see "Eternal Love" as our "Feature of the Month."

Return to reviews page