The Eternal City (1915)
DANIEL FROHMAN presents
PLAYERS FILM CO'S STUPENDOUS PHOTO-SPECTACLE
THE SUPREME TRIUMPH OF THE SCREEN!
A Mammoth, Elaborate Photo-production of HALL CAINE'S Immortal Novel and Play
"The Eternal City"
with PAULINE FREDERICK
The photoplay revelation of the age, produced under the direction of Edwin S. Porter and Hugh Ford, amid the grandeur and beauty of Modern Rome, in the exact locale in which the stirring action of Hall Caine's thrilling romance occurs.
THE SCREEN'S FOREMOST DRAMATIC ACHIEVEMENT!
Scenic magnitude -- Dramatic power -- Georgeous pageantry -- over-powering appeal -- Glittering splendor.
A Magnificent, Colossal and Faithful Photo-Production of HALL CAINE's Masterwork.
With the dust of the Nations beneath our feet, we will recreate an eternal city!
"Love has saved you, my daughter and love is the bridge that unites heaven and earth."
"The Eternal City"
The Eight-Part Famous Player's Adaptation of Hall Caine's Story is
a Great Production.
STAGED amid the crumbling monuments of ancient Rome and the magnificent piles of the modern capital, "The Eternal City," produced in eight parts by the Famous Players, will rank with the world's best kinematographic accomplishments. This adaptation of Hall Caine's famous book is a dramatic and spectacular triumph. Entering into its making is a combination of factors that is rare. In the first place, it si directed by Edwin S. Porter and Hugh Ford, a union of screen and stage authorities Then there is a story of dramatic power, a human story, a story of the heart. It touches the lives of two children, a boy and a girl, and it follows these two into manhood and womanhood. In its course it comes in contact with the humble and the great, with the working forces of a nation and with the ruling forces; with church dignitaries, surrounded by all the panoply of exalted station and also revealed as men with human ties and animated by the same impulses as sway other men. Then there are the remarkable backgrounds, the sacred and impressive reminder of the glories of other ages and the architectural wonders erected by church and state of a later day.
To Pauline Frederick has been give the role of Donna Roma. Miss Frederick shows in strong contrast the two personalities - the butterfly, the favorite of the ruling statesman, and the woman who falls under the spell of a man who loves her. If in the beginning she fail (sic) to charm, if we see only the heartless woman, the known sinner against the conventions of society publicly uncovered to the sneers of the world and bent on revenge, all the more surely and effectively do we later feel the influence of the real woman when she finds herself. True it is that this is Miss Frederick's first appearance before the camera, but we have no outward indication of the face. The superb artist stands out, and at no time more strongly that in the scene in her studio where David sits as a model for one of the apostles as he believes, for Judas Iscariot as she has told Bonelli. David is telling of his childhood, and in the story there enters a child, a little girl, in whom Roma gradually discovers herself. And this is but one of many.
Thomas Holding is David Rossi. Mr. Holding gives a fine, a finished, performance. His interpretation of the well-born man who devotes his life to the less fortunate is virile. There is in it the tenderness that goes with strength, the capacity for action that lies in the dreamer roused. It may be only a coincidence, but is is a noteworth face that the man much resembles the child David, who markedly contributes to the illusion. Frank Losee as Baron Boneli does work that stands out, as do also Fuller Mellish, George Majeroni, John Clulow and J. Albert Hall. There is an unusually long cast, and it is a most competent one.
In the first part we delve deep into the heart of the story. Little David, the victim of an unspeakable padrone, in a snowstorm falls asleep on the doorstep of Dr. Roselli. Under the tattered coat is the squirrel, the only object of affection possessed by the child. The benevolent doctor takes David into the house and brings back the ebbing life. The squirrel is dead, and David weeps. Little roma puts her hand on the ragamuffin's head and tries to console him. We have heart interest right here, and in abundance. It hold throughout the entire production.
Wonderfully effective are the scenes showing the Pope's jubilee - the great Plaza, the winding religious processions, the crowd listening to David Rossi, and the premier and his mistress on the balcony looking on. Most remarkable of all, however, are the views of the great public meeting in the Coliseum. One feels impelled to inquire if at any time, anywhere, has the dramatic subject been staged under such unique circumstance. The upper tiers of the immense roofless walls are lined with soldiers; down below many hundreds and seemingly several thousand men are crowded about David Rossi as he tells what should be done to prevent the increase in taxation. It is all so strange as almost to seem uncanny. The dramatic appearance of Roma, determined to save from official assassination the man she had set out to destroy but instead had learned to love, brings us back to the story.
We have not space to enumerate the wealth of incident and action. The production has the merit of rising interest; the last third is the best of all. The scenes laid in the home of the Pope are treated with utmost reverence and with sure touch. The killing of Bonelli is devoid of gruesomeness. One rises at the conclusion of the performance feeling that he has seen a motion picture worth while - that he has looked upon something the memory of which will pleasantly remain with him.
In story "The Eternal City" is big. In production - with its historic backgrounds, it panorama of great monuments, shown to advantage in artistic photographic bits as well as in comprehensive whole; in its visualization of a literary work that seems bound to live; in the dramaturgic and histrionic skill displayed by its makers and actors-"The Eternal City" is great.
Moving Picture World, January 9, 1915, page 194.
with Pauline Frederick and Thomas Holding. Directed by Edwin S. Porter and Hugh Ford. Famous Players-Lasky.
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Last Modified January 24, 2015