Not Shakespeare, but a melodramatic epic of love against a backdrop of revolution. Russian peasant Ivan Markov (John Barrymore) joins the cavalry and rises to the rank of sergeant. He aspires to be an officer, though he's warned by his fellow soldiers that no peasant has been commissioned
in a decade. While swimming with several fellow soldiers, he meets Princess Tamara (Camilla Horn); he returns her clothing after another cavalryman has playfully stolen it, but she blames him for the prank and beats him viciously with her riding crop. Nevertheless, there is a spark between them,
which creates some awkwardness since Princess Tamara's life is already full of military men: Her father is a general (George Fawcett) -- Markov's commanding officer -- and she's engaged to a captain (Ullrich Haupt). The General is impressed by Markov, and secures his commission. Markov is promoted
to the rank of lieutenant, and at a military ball he dances with Princess Tamara, who tells him scornfully that "It takes more than a title and a uniform to make an officer and a gentleman." Enraged and humiliated, Markov gets drunk and wanders unwittingly into the Princess' bedroom, where he
falls asleep on a couch. When she finds him there, she calls her father and fiance. Markov declares that he loves her even though this means the end of his military career. Markov is stripped of his rank and thrown into prison, where he languishes through the beginning of World War I. He's freed
during the Russian Revolution, and rises quickly through Party ranks. Princess Tamara and her high-born fiance are thrown into jail and ordered executed, and Markov is accused of treason when he's spotted comforting his former commanding officer as the older man lies dying. Markov kills the
Bolshevik Commissioner (Boris DeFas) who betrayed him, and escapes with Tamara to Austria. The 46-year-old Barrymore was at the height of his career as a romantic idol when TEMPEST -- his second-to-last silent film -- was made, and the film was considered an excellent showcase for his talents.
Costar Horn, a German dancer-turned-actress who had starred in F.W. Murnau's FAUST (1926), was making her U.S. debut. At the time of release it was reported that two alternate endings to TEMPEST were shot.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Not Shakespeare, but a melodramatic epic of love against a backdrop of revolution. Russian peasant Ivan Markov (John Barrymore) joins the cavalry and rises to the rank of sergeant. He aspires to be an officer, though he's warned by his fellow soldiers that… (more)