Eternal Love (1929 film)

Last updated

Eternal Love
Eternal Love theatrical poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by
Screenplay by Hans Kraly
Based onDer König der Bernina
by Jakob Christoph Heer
Produced by Joseph Schenck
John Considine W. Jr.
Edited by Andrew Marton
Music by Hugo Riesenfeld
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • May 11, 1929 (1929-05-11)(USA)
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited States
English intertitles
Budget$1.1 million [1]

Eternal Love is a 1929 American silent romantic drama film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring John Barrymore and Camilla Horn. [2] Based on the novel Der Koenig der Bernina by Jakob Christoph Heer, the film is about two lovers living in the Swiss Alps who struggle to be together and escape their loveless marriages. Eternal Love was the last silent film for both Lubitsch and Barrymore. [3] [4]


The story was remade as a 1957 Austrian film The King of Bernina .


In 1806 in the village of Pontresina, Switzerland, a mountain man named Marcus (John Barrymore) is in love with Ciglia (Camilla Horn), a young village woman who has been rejecting the advances of Lorenz (Victor Varconi). The mischievous Pia (Mona Rico) throws herself at Marcus, but she is also rejected. Marcus and Ciglia profess their love, while the jealous and vindictive Pia looks on.

Following the end of the French Army occupation, the people of Pontresina celebrate their liberation with a boisterous masked dance. At the party Ciglia becomes frightened of a drunken Marcus and she asks to be taken home. Marcus goes home confused. When Pia boldly attempts to seduce Marcus, he accepts her advances. The next day Ciglia receives permission from her uncle Tass (Hobart Bosworth) to marry Marcus. Pia and her mother approach Tass, and then confront Marcus. With Ciglia overhearing, they demand that Marcus marry Pia, who plays the cowering innocent. Ciglia leaves Marcus, and Marcus and Pia get married. Lorenz soon takes advantage of Ciglia and eventually they also get married.

During a heavy snowstorm, Pia is worried about Marcus and tries to form a rescue party to find him. With no one willing to join, she turns to Lorenz and Ciglia. Ciglia overreacts to the news, making Lorenz suspicious about her affections. Ciglia soon discovers Marcus safely arriving in the village. Consumed in jealously and sorrow, Lorenz confronts Marcus, urging him to leave the village, even offering him money, but Marcus refuses.

Later in the mountains, Lorenz ambushes Marcus and the two exchange gunfire. Marcus returns to the village, followed by the accusing and dying Lorenz. The villagers turn against Marcus despite Ciglia's cries of his innocence. Pia falsely accuses Ciglia of putting Marcus up to the murder of Lorenz. Soon the villagers turn into a mob and pursue Marcus and Ciglia into the mountains. With no other recourse, Marcus and Ciglia walk hand in hand into the path of an avalanche.



Filming locations


In his review in The New York Times, Mordaunt Hall wrote, "Although it is capably acted and intelligently directed, with excellent scenic effects and settings, the story is not especially moving, which appears to be partly due to the sketchiness of the script." [6] Hall found the acting to be generally good, describing Barrymore's work as "excellent" although having a "tendency to be too melodramatic". Hall described Horn's performance as "charmingly sympathetic, despite a touch too much of mascaro on her eyes". [6] Finally, Hall applauded Lubitsch's Alpine scenes which he described as "realistic" and giving "a reasonably impressive conception of an avalanche during the closing stretches". [6]

In his review of the DVD on, Christopher Null wrote:

Amazing for a silent-era film, Ernst Lubitsch's story of love, war, and tragedy on a Swiss mountaintop will have you in tears by its finale. John Barrymore is typically stoic as the hero, a hunter who, during the 1806 occupation by French soldiers, refuses to hand in his gun—the desperado of the village. He needs his gun to protect his lady friend, Ciglia (Camilla Horn), with whom he is deeply in love. Alas there's also a troublesome mountain girl named Pia (Mona Rico), who's making a testy situation even worse. Pia engineers trouble, and soon our two heroes are on the run for their lives... and their love. Sounds sappy, but the photography is unforgettable and the finale is devastating. Restored for this video release from an acetate print languishing in the bowels of UCLA's film center, Eternal Love is absolutely worth a look if you're a fan of the silent era. You'll love it. Eternally. [7]

Preservation status

This film was thought to be lost until a 16 mm print was found in the film collection of Mary Pickford, and was released with its Vitaphone music-and-sound effects track in the 1990s. The film was given a DVD release on April 24, 2001. [8] [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>The Smiling Lieutenant</i> 1931 film

The Smiling Lieutenant is a 1931 American pre-Code musical comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins, and released by Paramount Pictures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lionel Barrymore</span> American actor, director, screenwriter (1878–1954)

Lionel Barrymore was an American actor of stage, screen and radio as well as a film director. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul (1931), and remains best known to modern audiences for the role of villainous Mr. Potter in Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Barrymore</span> American actor (1882–1942)

John Barrymore was an American actor on stage, screen and radio. A member of the Drew and Barrymore theatrical families, he initially tried to avoid the stage, and briefly attempted a career as an artist, but appeared on stage together with his father Maurice in 1900, and then his sister Ethel the following year. He began his career in 1903 and first gained attention as a stage actor in light comedy, then high drama, culminating in productions of Justice (1916), Richard III (1920) and Hamlet (1922); his portrayal of Hamlet led to him being called the "greatest living American tragedian".

The following is an overview of 1929 in film, including significant events, a list of films released and notable births and deaths.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Greta Nissen</span> Norwegian-American actress (1906–1988)

Greta Nissen was a Norwegian-American film and stage actress.

<i>Tempest</i> (1928 film) 1928 film by Sam Taylor

Tempest is a 1928 feature silent film directed by Sam Taylor. V. I. Nemirovich-Dantchenko wrote the screenplay and William Cameron Menzies won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for his work in the film in 1929, the first year of the awards ceremony. John Barrymore and Camilla Horn star in the film, with Louis Wolheim co-starring.

Hallo Spencer is a German children's television series, created by Winfried Debertin and produced by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) from 1979 until 2001. In these 22 years, 275 episodes were filmed, including a number of 'specials' featuring the characters taking part in traditional fairy tale and nursery rhyme themed stories.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hobart Bosworth</span> American film actor

Hobart Van Zandt Bosworth was an American film actor, director, writer, and producer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mona Rico</span> American actress

Mona Rico was a Mexico-born American actress. Her films include Eternal Love (1929), Shanghai Lady (1929), A Devil With Women (1930), and Zorro Rides Again (1937).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Camilla Horn</span> German actress

Camilla Martha Horn was a German dancer and a film star of the silent and sound era. She starred in several Hollywood films of the late 1920s and in a few British and Italian productions.

<i>Her Night of Romance</i> 1924 film by Sidney Franklin

Her Night of Romance is a 1924 American silent film written by Hanns Kräly and directed by Sidney Franklin. The romantic comedy stars Constance Talmadge and Ronald Colman.

<i>Svengali</i> (1931 film) 1931 film

Svengali is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by Archie Mayo. The film stars John Barrymore and Marian Marsh. It is based on the 1894 George du Maurier novel Trilby and was among the many film adaptations of the book. The film was shot from January 12 to February 21, 1931. On its release in the United States, Svengali received some positive reviews but did not perform well at the box office.

<i>The Sea Beast</i> 1926 American silent drama film

The Sea Beast is a 1926 American silent drama film directed by Millard Webb, starring John Barrymore, Dolores Costello and George O'Hara. The film was a major commercial success and one of the biggest pictures of 1926 becoming Warner Brothers' highest grossing film. The Sea Beast is the first adaptation of Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick, a story about a monomaniacal hunt for a great white whale. However, the film alters the novel's plotline by establishing prequel and sequel elements that are not in the original story—such as the romancing of Esther and Ahab's safe return, respectively—and substitutes a happy ending for Melville's original tragic one. Some of the characters in the film do not appear in Melville's original novel.

<i>The White Hell of Pitz Palu</i> (1929 film) 1929 film

The White Hell of Pitz Palu is a 1929 German silent mountain film co-directed by Arnold Fanck and G. W. Pabst and starring Leni Riefenstahl, Gustav Diessl, Ernst Petersen, and World War I pilot Ernst Udet. Written by Fanck and Ladislaus Vajda, the film is about a man who loses his wife in an avalanche while climbing the Piz Palü mountain, and spends the next few years searching the mountain alone for her body. Four years later he meets a young couple who agree to accompany him on his next climb. The White Hell of Pitz Palu was filmed on location in the Bernina Range in Graubünden, Switzerland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mona Mårtenson</span> Swedish actress

Monica Ingeborg Elisabeth "Mona" Mårtenson was a Swedish film actress. She appeared in 28 films between 1923 and 1949. She was born and died in Stockholm, Sweden.

<i>His Double Life</i> 1933 film

His Double Life is a 1933 American pre-Code comedy-drama film directed by Broadway theatrical impresario and first time film director Arthur Hopkins with directorial input from the experienced William C. deMille, Cecil's older brother. It stars Roland Young and Lillian Gish.

<i>Decameron Nights</i> (1924 film) 1924 film

Decameron Nights is a 1924 British-German silent drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Lionel Barrymore, Ivy Duke and Werner Krauss. It is based on the novel Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio.

<i>The Texan</i> (1930 film) 1930 film

The Texan is a 1930 American Western film directed by John Cromwell and starring Gary Cooper and Fay Wray. Based on the short story "The Double-Dyed Deceiver" by O. Henry, the film is about a daring bandit called the Llano Kid who shoots a young gambler in self-defense and is forced to hide from the law. He is helped by a corrupt lawyer who involves the bandit in a scheme to swindle a Mexican aristocrat whose son turns out to be the young gambler killed by the Llano Kid. The screenplay was written by Daniel Nathan Rubin, and the story was adapted for the screen by Oliver H.P. Garrett and Victor Milner. Produced by Hector Turnbull for Paramount Pictures, The Texan was released in the United States on May 10, 1930. The film received positive reviews upon its theatrical release.

<i>The King of Bernina</i> 1957 film

The King of Bernina is a 1957 Austrian-Swiss historical drama film directed by Alfred Lehner and starring Helmuth Schneider, Waltraut Haas and Walter Janssen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jakob Christoph Heer</span>

Jakob Christoph Heer was a Swiss novelist and travel writer.


  1. "Another million film". Variety. November 14, 1928. p. 4.
  2. "Eternal Love". Internet Movie Database . Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  3. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921–30. The American Film Institute, 1971.
  4. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Eternal Love
  5. "Full cast and crew for Eternal Love". Internet Movie Database . Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 Hall, Mordaunt (May 13, 1929). "An Unusual Drama. A Newspaper Play". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  7. Null, Christopher (February 1, 2001). "Eternal Love". . Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  8. "Eternal Love". Silent Era. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  9. The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog:Eternal Love