Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rudolph Valentino The Great Lover - A Documentary |
Includes 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse'
Actor: Rudolph Valentino
Directors: Lynn Stevenson, Rex Ingram
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride again
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 04/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My compliments to Delta Entertainment for producing another fine quality DVD at budget cost in their documentary/biography collection series. After enjoying their production on Douglas Fairbanks Sr, I was looking forward to this documentary and silent film featuring the legendary Rudolph Valentino, and was definitely not disappointed. Like his contemporary Douglas Fairbanks, who left us his swashbuckling adventure legacy, Rudolph Valentino also had more talents and attributes than most people realize. This 80-minute documentary with plenty of great footage from Valentino's films and good commentary from various experts gives much more insight into the man behind the image of `sex symbol' and `dark lover'. Far from being a mere `gigolo', as he was also called, I was surprised and impressed to learn than he mastered four languages, had a degree in agriculture and was a professional dancer when he made his break in the movies. Like Fairbanks, Valentino also had quite a different (and perhaps much more intriguing!) image before his famous films of the 1920s, namely often playing a villain in various disguises. The documentary covers all the highlights of Valentino's short life and career, and is a very good introduction to those not so familiar with this icon of the silent era. The bonus material on this disc has more treats: besides a filmography and list of 3 books written by Valentino, there is a 1923 audio recording of Valentino singing "The Kashmiri Song". This is a special treat because there is no recording of his speaking voice, and only two known song recordings, this being one of them. My first impression was simply `WOW!' And my second thought: what a great shame he died so young because he could have offered the world so much more in the sound era as well, perhaps becoming a singer and all-round performer as well.
Alas, we will have to make due with what Valentino left us in the silent era, and a sample of the style that made him so appealing and legendary is seen on side 2 of this DVD, namely in "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse". This 1921 silent film is quite a lengthy (over 2 hours) and involved drama about the sad fate of a family torn apart in World War I. The `Four Horsemen' refer to the Biblical account in Revelation/The Apocalypse, symbolizing the omens of our time: war, famine and pestilence, then death. These themes were close to the hearts and souls of audiences in the years after the `Great War' as it was called then, and no doubt many people could relate to the tragedy and broken family depicted in this film. Valentino's role stands out and is, in fact, the pivotal character: first a rich and spoilt philanderer who has an affair with a married woman, but when war and tragedies strike, his life takes another course. Valentino's intense and passionate expressions are evident in many scenes, and we can really see - over 80 years later - why he captivated audiences with his style and acting talent. The film itself is in good condition and only a little blurry at times, and the fine orchestral musical score seems to be an earlier recording made for this film. While not the same standard as the KINO label, for instance, I'm still giving this DVD the full 5 stars for the quality material and quantity (over 3 hours of viewing) for such a low budget price. Well done, Delta!
A Good All Around Documentary + Four Horsemen of the Apocaly
Donna Hill | San Francisco | 06/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good all around documentary if you want to learn something about Rudolph Valentino. They cover a lot of ground and while to the seasoned Valentino fan they present nothing new, it's a nice solid piece of work. While I consider myself seasoned, I still found this to be very entertaining.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is much more problematic. A great film like this really needs to be seen in the best possible print. This one, unfortunately is not it. Dark and murky it looks to be from a 16mm print that had no clean up. But, beggars cannot be choosers until Turner Classic Movies and Warner Brothers deems it fit to release their exemplary print restored by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill under the auspices of Photoplay Productions.
The one real glaring and unexcusable error on the part of the producers is the Valentino recording of the Kashmiri Song. You hear the correct recording on the menu screen. Unfortunately, when you select the option to hear Valentino sing, the Kashmiri Song plays, but that recording is NOT Valentino's.
In any case, I'd recommend this to anyone with a passing interest in Valentino, it's a very nice diversion and 100% better than the documentary Delta produced on Douglas Fairbanks. Doug deserved much better!"
Great Documentary at a wonderful price!
SupaSta | California, United States | 06/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a pleasant surprise to have a great documentary and a feature film all on one DVD...and at such a great price! Valentino lovers will love this DVD!"
An in depth look at Valentino
P. E. Csora | Farmington, CT | 08/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was an interesting documentary on Valentino. I was not aware of his background prior to becoming a film star. There is also quite a bit of info. re: his life while in Hollywood. The other features of this DVD, (the only known recording of his voice and the film that made him star) only enhance this documentary."