The Son of the Sheik

Here is the much awaited second installment of my take on good ole Rudie in his most famous films. You’re welcome.

Rudolph Valentino died tragically of blood poisoning that the height of his fame, making him the first film star hunk to die early (see James Dean and countless others). As actors that die tragically mostly do, he gave one last great performance building upon the character that made him crazy famous only five years earlier. Since those short five years not only did Valentino improve his acting style, but the production on these films became more efficient and effective. There is more dimension to the characters, multiple angles are more common during the action sequences, and the leading actress elicits more affection and sympathy from the viewer than the previous one.

The woman who Valentino rescues this time is actually in trouble. She is forced into dancing for money and haranguing wealthy men in order to satisfy her father’s gambling needs. Of course quickly they establish that she is actually English, but that her father got entangled in nonsense in the Sahara while traveling with a circus. (Phew, for a moment I thought she was a dirty sand monkey. Thank god that title came along before I could think too much about it or else I would be very angry) Valentino rescues her only to be robbed by her father. Angry he chooses to get revenge on her. But of course she had no idea that they were going to rob him and is really in love with him. Complications get in the way and they get resolved in due time and also bring them together in way that solidifies their love forever and ever.

Valentino plays a double role here as the father (the subject of the first film) and the son. He fights his way through scenes while smiling that charming smile. He gets into more realistic scraps and gets caught several times in life threatening circumstances which is always nice to watch him get out of. He loves with intensity and she dances with finesse. Overall an effective enough film that would make a good repertory screening in an art theater somewhere (hint hint Cine!).

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