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The Sheik


CaveGirl
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I set my alarm an hour early so I could see this milestone, which I hadn't seen for awhile.

 

Well, have to admit...Rudolph Valentino has still got it!

 

Sure he has a few amusing mannerisms like the eyeball rolling, or the flaring of the nostrils but he still looks amazing in the outfits and had the grace of a dancer as he moved around.

 

Personally I enjoy SOTS more, as I like Vilman Banky better than Agnes Ayres [wonder if she was related to Lew?] but why quibble.

 

An elderly relative of mine who is now deceased said that when she was a teenager she attended a dancing exhibition by Valentino in her hometown. He did some of the sequences from TFHOTA film, and also sang. She gave me her program and also a metal candy box which had Valentino on the front. I sure would have liked to have been there to see that, but since it would make me about 105 years old at least, maybe not.

 

I found it funny how they deftly explain that Valentino is not really Arab but was left orphaned by his parents and raised in the desert as an adoptee, as perhaps this romance would otherwise be too exotic for American audiences at the time.

 

I'm sure the Woman in Black definitely would endorse this film too!

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It was long rumored that Valentino was the Erroll Flynn of his day.  Usually in referrence to his dalliances with women.  How good or bad of an actor he was is still a subjective topic.  Some thought he was great, others weren't convinced and figured his BIGGEST draw was in the women being enamored of him.

 

I'm sort of straddling the fence on this one though, as I've never been too interested in any of his movies, and usually reserve my interest in silents to Sennett comedies and such.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I think that The Sheik has one of Rudy's most over the top performances, with all that excessive grinning and eye popping.

 

The truth is, for the most part, he was understated as an actor, in spite of this performance. I agree with you, Cave Girl, that Son of the Sheik is much better (Rudy in dual roles and doing very well playing both father and son).

 

A lot of Valentino's films have him standing around and giving smoldering looks for the benefit of the ladies in the audience. But his last two films, The Eagle and Son of the Shiek, were his best two, in  my opinion, films in which Rudy convincingly took on the role of action hero, with his tongue a little bit in his cheek. The Eagle, in particular, showed that Valentino could very successfully play humour on screen, something, for the most part, sorely missing from his earlier roles. (Though some might point to parts of his performance in The Sheik as unintentionally funny).

 

Those last two films show that Valentino continued to be a great screen presence which, coupled with the right script and director and a good role, such as action hero, could make him appeal to the male members of the audience, as well as the female.

 

It will always be a guessing game as to how Valentino might have fared if he had lived into the talkie era. Certainly his romantic  screen "type" was quickly out of date, replaced by the raw impact of the Gables and Cagneys, with their caveman appeal.

 

Could Rudy have adapted, and been one of the few silent stars to prosper in the new medium? I don't pretend to know, except to say that the Valentino of The Eagle and Son of the Sheik was so good in those particular roles that it, frankly, surprised me. Could he have transformed himself again, say, into a woman slapping Italian heel of a gangster? Well, considering the fact that the women loved him taking them by force as the Sheik I could envision it happening again in rawer, racier pre-code form.

 

Of course, there's also the little matter of his speaking voice, so who can say?

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It was long rumored that Valentino was the Erroll Flynn of his day.  Usually in referrence to his dalliances with women. 

I don't get the impression that Rudy's relations with women were particularly successful. Quite the opposite.

 

Always lots of rumours about the guy, of course (some having nothing to do with women). I think his private life will always be a bit of a mystery. And perhaps that's the best way for a legend.

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As for Rudy and women, too bad Pola Negri is not here to say.

 

I think it was all the jealous male reporters that started all the pink powder puff insults to poor Rudy; you know how catty jealous men can be.

 

And Natasha Rambova and Jean Acker might have been just a bit nasty for mercenary reasons also.

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