Erich Von Stroheim played one of his first important roles in the D.W. Griffith-produced romantic drama Old Heidelberg, and he took full advantage of the opportunity, ruthlessly upstaging everyone in sight. For the most part, however, this first film adaptation of Wilhelm Meyer-Forster's novel (better known via its operetta version, The Student Prince) was a vehicle for Wallace Reid and Dorothy Gish, cast respectively as the prince of a mythical foreign country and the barmaid who loves him. Though at first willing to give up his throne for the love of the beautiful Kathi (Gish), Prince Karl (Reid) is ultimately persuaded to return from college to his native country to forestall a revolution. Sumptuously produced, Old Heidelberg was technically directed by John Emerson, though many familiar Griffith touche -- flashbacks, ghostly visions, cross-cutting -- are well in evidence. An expertly abridged 12-minute version of the film was included in the old TV anthology series Movie Museum.
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