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
Includes basic details of Valentino's life, but little more
This is a decent enough introduction to the man and the legend for someone who is unfamiliar with Rudolph Valentino, but it contains little new detail for anyone else. Large segments of his life are skimmed over very quickly (such as his childhood in Italy and the time he spent as a teenager in France), and a large portion of the DVD consists of clips from his movies. I can understand why the producers wanted to include material that might actually encourage viewers to seek out his filmsmost people recognize his name, but often know little else about him aside from his being that twenties movie star their grandmothers twitter-patted over. But so much of "The Son of the Sheik" is included that you may feel as though there's no need to watch the actual film at all. In the DVD's favour the tone is by and large tasteful, avoiding speculative Hollywood Babylon style schlock, although at one point the voice-over insinuates that Valentino and Louella Parsons, the poison penned gossip columnist, may have been an item! (It's like imagining Antonio Banderas with Joan Rivers.) There was also a startling and disturbing image of Valentino taken after he returned to the States from his final trip to Europedrawn and haggard, looking years older than 31, he seems doomed already. Still, once again, unless you know next to nothing about Rudolph Valentino, the slightness of this production may disappoint you.
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