This film [based on The Undying Past by Hermann Sudermann] is a battle between John Gilbert, starred, and Greta Garbo, featured, for honors. Gilbert has to keep moving to overshadow her, even though she has a most unsympathetic role.
The story is laid in a small German or Austrian town. Two boys have, as kids, sworn eternal friendship through a blood bond. They are both at military school when the picture opens. Back home there is a ball and Lee (Gilbert), the more sophisticated of the two, sees a girl that he admired at the station. He dances with her, but fails to learn her name. Her husband walks in on the picture and the youngster then knows for the first time that she is married. The husband strikes the boy, and it calls for a duel. The husband is killed. The military authorities ‘advise’ foreign service for five years for the youngster. Before going he asks his bloodbound friend to seek out the widow and console her.
After three years away, Leo discovers that she has wed the friend. Then a series of incidents occurs that almost brings on a duel between the friends.
A corking story, exceptionally acted and cleverly directed. A lot of glory to be distributed among all concerned.