A documentary of Hollywood's first great Latin Lover, the contradictions in his personal life, his premature death, and his sensationalized, garish funeral is still fixated in the public's eyes. His on-screen image of aggressive dominance projected a new ideal in romantic leading men, but his personal life, primarily his two failed marriages, were in stark contradiction to his screen persona. Documentary footage from contemporary newsreels and clips from his iconic films chronicle his memorable but short-lived career. Written by
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.
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