An nitrate print of this film, once thought lost, has been discovered and restored. Approximately the first two-thirds is still lost and has been fleshed out with stills. The restored film had its American television debut on Turner Classic Movies on May 21, 2006. See more »
Except for Rudolph Valentino, whose name appears above the title, actors and their character names are credited only in the intertitles right before they appear on-screen and are listed in the same order in the IMDb cast. All other actors are marked uncredited. See more »
What's left of it is both interesting and frustrating
I unfortunately missed the introduction (if there was one) to "The Young Rajah" on Turner Classic Movies, but the film was pieced together
the entire beginning is lost, told with dialogue cards, story cards,
and stills. Eventually there is a clip of badly preserved film, more stills, and then finally "The Young Rajah" is completed using the actual film. The entire presentation only runs about an hour.
The silent era was the great equalizer - only in silents could an Italian with a thick accent play an Indian living on an American farm under the name of Amos Judd. As a young boy, the heir to the throne of India is brought to the farm of his father's friend, where he grows up, goes to Harvard, and falls in love. He has the gift of foretelling the future - which is where the frustration comes in for this viewer - but I digress. As his wedding day draws near, he is asked to return to India, where a usurper has taken over the throne and chaos reigns.
Valentino was very much of his time. He was an Italian working in silent films, and there's every chance he would not have survived sound or, as tastes changed, kept his leading man status. While Ramon Novarro enjoyed a career in talkies and television in character roles, we don't know if this would have happened to Valentino or would have been acceptable to him. Yet appearance-wise, he's ahead of his time, too. When one views him with today's eyes, he looks like one of the current Italian models with his slicked back hair, handsome face, and knack for looking elegant in suits. No man around him comes even close in appearance.
People must have had better vision in the '20s - the film contains many notes various characters received, and despite them being clear, I couldn't read them from where I was sitting. At the end of the movie, the film is almost completely deteriorated during the young rajah's vision - so I can only guess at what happens. A real pity, but what a credit to the people who worked to preserve what was left. A movie of great interest for those fascinated by film history.
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