17 April 2019 | lee_eisenberg
neutrality makes you a target
Throughout his directorial career, Ernst Lubitsch directed an assortment of movies, and his style led to the expression "the Lubitsch touch". He is best known for movies like "Ninotchka", but one of his earlier ones is 1929's "Eternal Love", about a pair of lovers in 1800s Switzerland who are trapped in loveless marriages.
What really struck me about the movie is the beginning. It starts during the Napoleonic Wars. Switzerland, as always, wants to be neutral. Sure enough, the alpine confederation becomes a pawn in the battle between the French and Austrian armies. If Switzerland is left unprotected, then these two lovers are especially vulnerable in Napoleon's quest to dominate Europe.
But ignoring that, this has to be one of the steamiest movies of the 1920s. One of the last movies of the silent era - excluding Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" and "Modern Times" - it lets the cast act through their expressions. We should thank our lucky stars that the movie, thought lost for decades, is now available for home viewing. This is the perfect mixture of subtlety and profundity. Definitely see it if you want to see a prime example of all that cinema can be.