The Sheik/The Son of the Sheik [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Sheik
This romantic costumed adventure is the film that cemented Rudolph Valentino's reputation as a legendary screen lover. Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan (Valentino) takes Lady Diana Mayo (Agnes Ayers) to his camp when he finds the beauty in the desert. Although drawn to the Sheik, Lady Diana is able to resist his amorous advances. When his former French school chum Raoul de Saint Herbert (Adolphe Menjou) convinces him to let Diana go free, she is kidnapped by the villainous Omair (Walter Long), who promises her a fate worse than death. The heroic Sheik and his army save Diana from suicide, but he is severely wounded in the melee. Diana helps the Sheik regain his strength after he saves her and she vows her everlasting love to her British-educated hero. Reviewers at the time of the film's release were very critical of the film and the performance of Valentino, suggesting the public should ask the film to be censored as it was morally objectionable. Paramount Pictures thought the film would go nowhere fast, but millions of women made Valentino an international heartthrob. Many fainted at the initial showing of the film, and Rudolph Valentino eclipsed Wallace Reid in popularity. Over 70 years after his death, Rudolph Valentino is still remembered as the first male superstar to have a direct and lasting impact on female viewers, and the word "sheik" became as synonymous with Valentino as the word "vamp" was associated with the exotic Theda Bara. Watch for seven-year-old Loretta Young in a bit part. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

The Son of the Sheik
The Son of the Sheik, Rudolph Valentino's last film, may well be his best. A sequel to (and vast improvement upon) Valentino's 1922 blockbuster The Sheik, the 1926 film casts the legendary Latin Lover in the dual role of the now-older Sheik and his son Ahmed. The latter falls in love with bejeweled dancing girl Yasmin (Vilma Banky), the daughter of a scurrilous thief, who in turn is in cahoots with Ghabah (Montagu Love), "whose crimes outnumber the desert sands." Captured, held for ransom and tortured by Ghabah, Ahmed escapes, seething with revenge. Believing that Yasmin has betrayed him, he kidnaps the girl, spirits her away to his desert tent, and rapes her (not shown, of course, but brilliantly suggested by a series of wide-eyed, soft-focus close ups). Bitterly chastised by his father, Ahmed begins feeling pangs of remorse for his treatment of Yasmin, even more so when he learns that she is innocent of all wrongdoing. He follows Yasmin to her father's den of thieves, where he vanquishes all the bad guys, saving the unspeakable Ghabah for last. Son of the Sheik was partially filmed on location in the deserts of Yuma, Arizona, under intolerable conditions that caused virtually the entire cast and crew to fall seriously ill. The finished film manages to convey a tongue-in-cheek, larger-than-life approach to its melodramatic material without ever actually making fun of that material or condescending to Valentino's legions of fans. Rudolph Valentino had made Son of the Sheik in hopes of boosting his slightly flagging career; while it succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams, Valentino, alas, had died just before the film was released. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Agnes Ayres
    Agnes Ayres - Diana Mayo
  • Rudolph Valentino
    Rudolph Valentino - Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan
  • Adolphe Menjou
    Adolphe Menjou - Raoul de Saint Hubert
  • Image coming soon
    Walter Long - Omair
  • Lucien Littlefield
    Lucien Littlefield - Gaston
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