The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg plays like the romantic parts of The Prisoner of Zenda without the adventure element, particularly in this Ernst Lubitsch silent version that was produced without songs. Visually, the film is top-notch, aided greatly by the work of MGM set designers, including Cedric Gibbons and Edgar G. Ulmer. The cinematography of John Mescall is crisp and suitably lush when needed, enhancing the fine performances of Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer as the prince and the woman for whom he is willing to sacrifice his crown. Previously filmed as early as 1915, and remade several times since, the story holds the highest critical regard in this Lubitsch version, despite the limitations of the silent format, most notably for the charismatic lead performances and the director's storytelling skills. As with several silent films, a fully orchestrated version was later produced, after the director had died and could have no input on the project.
by Richard Gilliam review