The Eagle (1926)

Genres - Action, Adventure, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Adventure, Satire  |   Release Date - Nov 8, 1925 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 77 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Rudolph Valentino is at his most natural and appealing in this swashbuckler. He wears the period costumes, from the Cossack uniforms to the formal French jacket and trousers, as if they were his second skin, moving in them with a dancer's grace and casual sexuality. His Vladimir Dubrovsky is played with wit, humor, and humanity -- a revelation when compared to the stiff posturing of much of his earlier work. In addition, the star is helped at every angle: The story is action-packed and entertaining, the direction intelligent, and the cinematography (courtesy of George Barnes) is some of the most poetic of the silent era (in addition, the banquet scene contains one of the most impressive tracking shots of the 1920s). The delicately beautiful Vilma Banky is a fetching co-star, and the support (especially Louise Dresser as the worldly Czarina) is excellent. The Eagle was under-appreciated in its day and made only a fair amount of money. Nowadays it is recognized as a great example of film making in the 1920s, although it's also not revived often enough. Those who have seen the beautiful restoration with the Carl Davis score can consider themselves fortunate, indeed.