It’s Friday afternoon right now and I watched The Eagle last night with a colleague in the abruptly-quiet last hour of what, to date, was probably the busiest eight-hour shift I’ve ever had at the college. But I stayed pretty energized throughout that shift and the busy morning before it, getting by on just the base amount of Cuban coffee, and I think it’s because I finally got that job at the restaurant, the front desk position, and so, prior to this eight-hour shift in the speech lab, I’d spent the morning going through a pretty relaxed orientation about how to carry knives and smile at guests. So I was excited. One of the managers is supposed to get in touch with me soon about a schedule. But yeah, it was weird: I felt proud to be so exhausted. I think I’ve gotten good about not bullshitting myself when it comes to assessing how much effort I put into things these days. I used to do it a lot in college: I’d study for an hour, jerk off, and then drink some Carlo Rossi wine out of a Dixie cup and deem the day productive. Three years later I have a better sense of what’s at stake. I count the words I write in the morning and the pages I read throughout the day. Map my goals and track my progress. Still haven’t achieved what I want to achieve, professionally, but it’s a comfort going to bed knowing that I took a legitimate step in the right direction. Wrote the words, read the pages.
The Eagle is an 80-minute comedy about a disgraced soldier of the Russian Imperial Guard (Rudolph Valentino — a name I thought belonged to a modern-day fashion designer?) who falls in love with a woman he rescues from a potential carriage accident (Mascha Troekouroff). He later finds out that she is the daughter of a man against whom he seeks revenge for reasons that, frankly, I didn’t catch. But it’s genuinely funny, I swear – my poor colleague, who’s been subjected at this point to portions of Intolerance and Les Vampires, agrees. There’s a campy romance between the disgraced soldier-turned-masked vigilante, Doubrovsky, and the daughter of his nemesis Kyrila, a big-eyed woman named Vilma, that proves pretty charming and gratifying in the end.
That said, I’m not sure I’d recommend it.
Another reason I bring up the whole thing about feeling rewarded after a day’s work is because I mentioned in the Nosferatu review that I was beginning to realize how much effort it takes to get through some of these movies, since they aren’t really tailor-made for a modern attention span. They call for a little more concentration than whatever might be in theaters at the moment. I think it’s getting easier for me to focus on em, though. Is that because I’ve watched thirty silent films in the past month and I’m just getting savvier to the form? Maybe. Maybe it’s because the language of cinema had gotten pretty snappy by the time of The Eagle (1925).
Either way, I’m having a good time with the project. Not sure The Eagle belongs on a list of the 1,001 movies a person must see, but I suspect that part of the fun awaiting me at the end of this project will be going back to see which of the movies I think belong on the List and which ones don’t.