Lubitsch slumming it in a hokey silent melodrama. It positively speeds through the plot, hitting just the important beats of the novel and racing to the finish in a mere 71 minutes. I feel like I just read a Wikipedia summary of a movie instead of watching one. Barrymore hams it up, Camilla Horn is lovely but mostly useless here, and the supporting characters exist only as vague outlines of human beings. It's a shame, because the ending would have packed a real punch if the film weren't in such a damn hurry to get there (and if it weren't trying so hard to assure us that it's a happy ending).
A tragic romance amongst Swiss peasants in the early 19th century doesn't seem all that hopeful a subject, but the great Ernst Lubitsch is directing what it would turn out to be his last silent film and he certainly leaves the silent era in great style! John Barrymore in the lead smoulders his way through a part that gives him little chance at swashbuckling but does prove what a fine actor he was and Camilla Horn is almost as good as she was in Murnau's "Faust." Some beautiful photography Lubitsch beautifully uses the images far more than the intertitles to tell the story and gets across some difficult plot points by image alone throughout, a film of such intensity that it would have only been lessoned by sound.