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  • This is a decent enough introduction to the man and the legend for someone who is unfamiliar with Rudolph Valentino, but it contains little new detail for anyone else. Large segments of his life are skimmed over very quickly (such as his childhood in Italy and the time he spent as a teenager in France), and a large portion of the DVD consists of clips from his movies. I can understand why the producers wanted to include material that might actually encourage viewers to seek out his films—most people recognize his name, but often know little else about him aside from his being that twenties movie star their grandmothers twitter-patted over. But so much of "The Son of the Sheik" is included that you may feel as though there's no need to watch the actual film at all. In the DVD's favour the tone is by and large tasteful, avoiding speculative Hollywood Babylon style schlock, although at one point the voice-over insinuates that Valentino and Louella Parsons, the poison penned gossip columnist, may have been an item! (It's like imagining Antonio Banderas with Joan Rivers.) There was also a startling and disturbing image of Valentino taken after he returned to the States from his final trip to Europe—drawn and haggard, looking years older than 31, he seems doomed already. Still, once again, unless you know next to nothing about Rudolph Valentino, the slightness of this production may disappoint you.
  • crisso31 January 2003
    Being a huge film buff and not knowing a great deal about the life and career of Rudolph Valentino, I decided to buy a copy of this documentary on video (Valentino is described on the cover as 'Hollywood's First screen Legend'?). After having seen it I am quite disappointed. It was made in 1982 but has the look and feel of something produced in the 1960s. It does not have the things you would expect from a documentary - there are no interviews (friends, colleagues, biographer etc) and the whole 75 minutes are made up of archive footage (films, newsreel etc) focusing on the 13 years between his arrival in America in 1913 to his death in 1926. All of the information seemed pretty basic (nothing about his childhood in Italy) and the filmmakers didn't delve too deeply into his work. The documentary does offer a chance to see some sizeable clips from Valentino's films (including a VERY long sequence from 'Son of the Sheikh') which I normally would not get to see. I should read a biography if I want to know more about the life and work of Rudolph Valentino but I guess this is a good starter.