Rudolph Valentino spent much of his time as a superstar fighting for higher quality vehicles and trying to make peace with his Great Lover screen persona. The Eagle is one of the films that came the closest to making all the pieces fit together.
It’s a Russian Robin Hood story and pretty by the numbers as far as plot but the performances, particularly Vilma Banky and Louise Dresser, make the film and it’s great fun for viewers who may prefer their Valentino slightly less lusty. The film allegedly was based on a work by Pushkin (you can read an English translation here) but to call the interpretation loose would be an understatement.
The movie has been available on VHS and DVD but it’s finally on the HD market with this all-region Bluray from Kino Lorber. (You can order a copy here and it is also available on DVD.) I have already reviewed the film based on the old Image DVD release and as always, this post will cover the quality of the release and not the actual film beyond these opening remarks.
As always, thanks to Kino for the review copy.
This is a 2K restoration based on two sound era re-issues. Because an audio track was added to the film, a small portion of the frame is now gone, so the aspect ratio is not quite as full as it would have been when the film was initially released. It is likely that the talkie reissues were also black and white, which means the original tinting scheme is lost as well.
I have cropped the pillarboxes but have not changed the images otherwise. As you can see, considering the abuse it has suffered over the years, the film looks pretty swell.
Sound and Extras
The score was provided by the Alloy Orchestra, whose work I rather enjoy. There is also an optional audio commentary from historian Gaylyn Studlar. Otherwise, this is a pretty barebones disc but Valentino fans will likely love the jump in image quality. Rudy in HD is sure to have plenty of fans.
In my opinion, this would make a lovely little gift for your film nerd friends, especially since it is one of the lesser-known Valentino vehicles despite being one of his best. In addition to its historical importance, this is just a fun picture attractively presented and what more could we want?
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