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Valentino (1977)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  4 October 1977 (UK)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 1,019 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 14 critic

In 1926 the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female moviegoers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ... See full summary »

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Title: Valentino (1977)

Valentino (1977) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Starlet
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June Mathis
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George Ullman
Huntz Hall ...
Jesse Lasky
Alfred Marks ...
Richard Rowland
David de Keyser ...
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Billie Streeter
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Marjorie Tain
Lindsay Kemp ...
Angus McBride
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Rory O'Neil
Anthony Dowell ...
...
Lorna Sinclair (as Penny Milford)
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Storyline

In 1926 the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female moviegoers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. Ballroom dancer Valentino manipulated his good looks and animal-like grace into a Hollywood career. His smouldering love making, tinged with a touch of masterful cruelty, expressed a sexuality which was at once both shocking and sensual. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In life he was a movie star, in death he became a legend.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

4 October 1977 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ken Russell's Valentino  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ken Russell plays a director in the film. In his autobiography he explains that the actor who was to play the director was too drunk to work and so Russell played the part himself. Later the actor--who was too drunk to work--filed a complaint and the actors union insisted the scene be re-shot with a "real" actor and union member. This would have been very expensive as the scene involved a battle sequence--but it turned out that Russell who had started as an actor years before he was a director still had an acting union membership--so he was able to pay up his past dues and the scene remained in the film. Russell went to in the later part of his career to play parts in various films for himself and for others. See more »

Quotes

Lorna Sinclair: Hurt me. Don't be gentle. Imagine you're the sheik on your big white stallion, rushing the life out of me in your arms. Don't be gentle. Hurt me! Do something! Oh, look! Look! It's the desert. Close your eyes. Trust me, honey, I've been over this a thousand times. It's the desert. Merciless. Beating sun. Heat wave shimmering from the purple dunes. My lips are rimmed with sweat. Perspiration, excuse me. The clothes are sticking to the contours of my damp body. You come riding up. You reach down ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Blood and Sand (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sheik of Araby
Sung by Chris Ellis
Words of parody by Ken Russell
Music by Ted Snyder (uncredited)
Lyrics by Harry B. Smith, Francis Wheeler (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Ken Russell's Brilliant and Irreverent Valentino Bio.
26 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As in all of his biography films Ken Russell takes no prisoners. A series of warped biographies on composers (Mahler, Tchaikovsky, List)incensed more than entertained audiences and critics. Laced with dark humor, vibrant costuming and Russell's sardonic use of the composers works in conjunction with his colorful and outlandish compositions the films were visual feasts that bordered on character assassination.

In Valentino, Russell comes to America to offer his take on silent Hollywood and its biggest star of the era, Rudolph Valentino. Russell is relentless in his depiction of the exploitative and greedy nature of producers who in the opening scene stand over Valentino's body lamenting financial loss. Russell also works over newspaper reporters, actresses, Valentino's ex-wives and a comedian known as Fatty (Arbuckle?). Dancer, Rudolph Nureyev is no actor but as Valentino his poorly pronounced flatly emoted English fits and contributes to his sympathetic character.

As in all Russell films there are scenes that are lush and grandly staged (ably assisted by ex-wife, Shirley Russell's original and over the top costuming) such as Leslie Caron's entrance at the funeral home, the fight sequence where ball room dancing takes place in between rounds, the producer with the pet gorilla in his living room, and a cult fan gathering outside Valentino's mansion.

This film quickly sank from sight when it was released and thirty years later consensus remains the same. I personally believe however that Valentino is a sharply drawn dark humored satire that spits cynicism at two institutions (Hollywood and the media) that it depended heavily on for its success. Valentino succeeds on every level and that was probably its problem.


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