A charming Arabian sheik becomes infatuated with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman and abducts her to his home in the Saharan desert.A charming Arabian sheik becomes infatuated with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman and abducts her to his home in the Saharan desert.A charming Arabian sheik becomes infatuated with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman and abducts her to his home in the Saharan desert.
- Mustapha Ali - Diana's Guideas Mustapha Ali - Diana's Guide
- (as Charles Brindley)
*** (out of 4)
Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan (Rudolph Valentino) is accustom to having his wishes fulfilled by whoever he asks but he gets a challenge from an English woman (Agnes Ayres) who is more freewheeling and doesn't believe that a man owns a woman. The Sheik eventually kidnaps the woman, forcing her to his retreat in the desert where he slowly tries to force his will on her. This film has certainly become one of the landmarks of cinema as it created a brand new type of sex symbol and it forever made a legend out of star Valentino. It's strange because I really enjoyed this movie yet I really can't say why I did because there's so many negative things in the movie. For starters, you could easily call this movie both sexist and racist yet I guess no one in 1921 cared. I guess the woman who made this movie a hit didn't mind the fact that the Sheik was not only a kidnapper but also a rapist and an all around bad guy. I guess a little dark side didn't turn anyone off. I'm rather amazed at watching this film that it was such a hit and that women would drop head over hills for a man like the character here. I really don't know what it was but I guess Valentino managed to put a spell on the women in the crowd just like his character in the film. I will add that I've seen several Valentino pictures before and after them and the majority of them feature a better performance but I guess that really doesn't matter too much. I found Valentino here to be way over-the-top during certain scenes but this might be due to the rather poor direction. We have way too many silly shots of Valentino giving silly looks at the camera and it's easy to see why some critics attacked this film in 1921 because shots like these do make it come off campy. Valentino certainly knows how to play up the sex appeal but again, I'm still somewhat shocked this went over so well with women. Ayres isn't all that impressive as the female lead but we do get strong supporting performances by Adolphe Menjoy, Walter Long and Lucien Littlefield. I've read different reports of where the exteriors shots were actually filmed but wherever they were they do look terrific and add a lot to the film. The tints on the print I viewed also helped things quite a bit. I'm not sure what movie people in 2010 will make of this movie but I'm sure many would either laugh it off or be offended by it. I'm really not sure why it kept me entertained so but I had a pleasant time with the picture no matter how many flaws it did have.
- Sep 5, 2010