The great silent screen lover Rudolph Valentino is captured in his most famous role in this special double feature. Women fainted in the aisles when "The Sheik" (1921, 86 min.) was released, as Lady Diana Mayo (Agnes Ayres... more ») is carried into the desert by an Arab chieftain (Valentino) who takes one look at her and wants her, right then and there. Nobody had seen anything like Valentino's natural sex appeal on the screen before, and the sequel "The Son of the Sheik" (1926, 69 min.) was designed to revive Valentino's flagging career. In the sequel, Young Ahmed (Valentino) falls in love with Yasmin, a dancing girl (Vilma Banky), but he is captured and tortured by bandits. Believing Yasmin to be responsible, he escapes and plans his own form of revenge, although true love, of course, finally prevails. In New York for the premiere of "The Son of the Sheik," Valentino collapsed and died eight days later at the age of 31. The public hysteria surrounding his funeral is documented in the original Pathe newsreel which rounds out this extraordinary DVD.« less
FloozyFlapper1926 | Somewhere in the 20's | 01/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My only real glimpses of Rudolph Valentino were through movie stills and clips and couldn't see what the fuss was about. After taking an interest in silent films, I decided to buy this dvd and see what he was all about. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. The Shiek and The Son of the Shiek are two amazing and surprisingly intriguing films though the latter is superior and was definitely my favorite. The first is the story of a shiek who becomes entranced by a strong-willed woman he kidnaps and from there on the story unfolds. In the second, he plays dual roles, father and son, and there is quite a bit more action. Still, both movies are great and worth watching. As for Valentino, he was an amazing presence on film. To me, he is "the" sex symbol that is incomparable to any from his era to now. In the first movie, his mannerisms and facial expressions are more dramatized, but the second film, he is more natural and its in that one he was even more beautiful. I can see why people are still entranced with him after all this time. Count me in as one of those.As for the DVD, both of the films are good prints and the music fits the film. You also get to see the Pathe newsreel showing his funeral which is very sad. Most interestingly you get to see him judge a beauty contest and there is a clip called "The Shiek's Physique" which is a clip of him sunbathing on the beach. He is gorgeous in that as well.All in all, its a great deal and a good bargain to get to see one of the most amazing actors. Great!"
A Sheik DVD!
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 06/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why do people still love Rudolph Valentino after all these years? This DVD provides an ideal way to get acquainted with the great leading man in his most famous roles.
After the phenomenal succes of The Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse, studio execs were unsure what to do with the darkly handsome Valentino. At last, he landed the lead role in Paramount's The Sheik. Based on the "scandalous" best-seller, it was romantic melodrama in it's purest form.
It's the story of a young English woman, Diana (Angnes Ayres) who crosses paths with the desert chieftan Sheik Ahmed ben Hassan. Fascinated by her spunk, he abducts her to become his wife. Diana is not too thrilled with the concept and resists. Thus begins the battle of wills.
From a coldly logical standpoint, the Sheik is not a very good movie. Valentino's acting is not as good as in his later work. The script is somewhat disjointed. In fact, it was a predicted bomb when it was first released. However, the movie posesses a kitchy, innocent charm that is probably as fascinating now as it was then. It is one of those movies you find yourself enjoying even though you don't know why.
The version on this DVD is a tinted print in pretty good shape. Some of the titles vary slightly from the VHS release (for example, Diana is referred to as the daughter of a poet in the VHS and the daughter of a peer on DVD) Some scenes are added or cut. People who own the VHS release may chose to make their own comparisons.
The soundtrack is electronic/orchestral. It is a selection of music that was available to organists at the time and probably some of the music was used when the Sheik was first released. The music generally does not sound too electronic though it may bug purists (though the VHS edition has an obvious synth score). I enjoyed it.The second film on the DVD is the sequel, Son of the Sheik. Valentino plays both father and son. Unlike The Sheik, which followed the book it was based on, Son of the Sheik changed the plot considerably (and I feel for the better). Valentino is Ahemed jr. who meets and falls in love with Yasmin (Vilma Banky) They plan a secret rendezvous but Yasmin's corrupt family follows her and captures Ahmed for ransom. Because he will not give his name he is tortured. His friends rescue him but he is very depressed. He believes poor Yasmin betrayed him. So, when opportunity arises, he steals away with her for his own brand of revenge.
Son of the Sheik is a well directed, well acted movie. While on a smaller scale that the Sheik, it had a much larger budget. There is much comedy added. Valentino and Banky absolutely set the screen on fire as a pair of lovers who now hate each other. However, for all it's charms, it does not posess the oddball charisma that made the Sheik such a fun movie.
The print used is black and white, the music can either be the new electronic/orchestral score or the original re-release orchestral score. The latter has a lot of static and I found it annoying so I used the newer score instead.Whichever one of these movies is your favorite, I am sure you will enjoy the presentation.Also included on the DVD:
Three Valentino short films including footage from his funeral. Rather depressing.A great DVD to round out your collection, to introduce yourself to Valentino or for comparative purposes. Quite worth it!"
Classic vintage Hollywood
Christoph Berner | Vienna, Austria | 05/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When you search for a movie that sums up the exotic fairytale world that Hollywood seemed to be in the silent era, few other films come as close as this 1921 original, which was also the father of all "sand dune sagas" that were to flood the screen in the 1920`s. Though the film is somewhat dated and the plot very much of an aquired taste (especially the love scenes), the movie builds up a strange power as it continues and Valentino still contains a kind of mysterious aura that probably made him the legend he still is seen as today. Watching the film in comparison to its` sequel "Son Of The Sheik" it is less stylishly made but this was due to the early 20`s when films were less glossy than in 1925 or 1926. So when you want to know what built Hollywood as the dream factory it is still seen, "The Sheik" is one of the clues. Also the synthesizer score ads to the "dream" atmosphere of the movie."
As good as it gets!
C. Percer | 03/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a treasure! This film is as good as a romantic saga can get - complete with the evil bandit, the beautiful heroine and the rakish, handsome hero who wins her love over the course of the story. I purchased "The Son of the Sheik" first and was mesmerized by Valentino, but I personally love "The Sheik" even more! With the range of emotions he was able to project with his eyes and body language, sound and words just don't seem to be missed - especially when he is watching Diana and Raoul jealously behind the curtains - his smoldering eyes speak volumes. Then the child-like joy and pleasure in his eyes when she calls out his name, thinking he has been injured, is simply precious! His look of pain when he finds her crying and unhappy is so natural and powerful! Some of his Bela Lugosi-type facial expressions are comical, but, oddly enough, are attractive (I wonder now, after seeing his widened eyes and raised brow, if Gene Kelly wasn't influenced by Valentino in "The Pirate"). For Valentino, these ranges of emotions seem to be so natural that I feel his real personality comes through for the most part rather than acting. I relish the close-up of his singing "Beautiful Dreamer" to Diana under her balcony - his smile, combined with the musical score to the song (actually, the entire musical score was haunting and beautiful), are one of the most romantic moments in the film. Lucky Diana! I could go on forever, there are so many things to love about this classic! I've fallen head over heels for Valentino - his magnificent eyes, smile, the way he walks, his comedy style, his sexual charisma and sensuality - and even his hands are beautiful! Like a passage I read recently stated: they are still searching for the next Valentino, but have yet, to this day, to find one. For lovers of good old fashioned classic romance, this film has all the elements and I recommend it!"
Pristine "Shiek," Son also rises
Thomas Bumbera | Maplewood, NJ USA | 02/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The print of "The Shiek" in this DVD edition is as good as it gets, although the tinting was a bit overdone, to the point of becoming distracting - I turned down the color intensity of my set and found it much more enjoyable. For "Son...," the 1936 reissue print has been used, which means this film - by far the more entertaining of the two - has been transferred at the wrong speed, quite a disservice. The original scores for both are very good; the thing to do here would have been to slow down the reissue to the proper speed and then match the score to the action. Oh, and Rudy? He's a God. I'll spend the extra bucks to get Kino's restored DVD of "Son..." and enjoy it all over again."