Rudolph Valentino The Sheik on Blu-Ray
|Title Card (all screen caps courtesy Fritzi Kramer at Movies Silently)|
As I posted earlier in April, the silent film community was very excited by the announcement that KINO would be releasing select Paramount silent films on Blu-ray. The first few films have come out, including today's subject Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik. In addition, The Son of the Sheik and Zaza starring Gloria Swanson have also been released. You can buy all of these either direct from Kino or sources like amazon.com.
It is a rare DVD that I order gets immediately played, The Sheik was an exception. Needless to say, I was very much looking forward to viewing this. I was pretty much very happy with the look of the film. As you can see from the screen captures, the image quality for a film that is 96 years old is fantastically clear. Let me say, there is some print wear, scratches and some flaws which were not really cleaned up, and that is okay. The image quality is lovely. The tinting is spot on.
The best part of the release, as far as I am concerned, is Ben Model's excellent scoring for the film. I have noticed that among some of my silent friends they do not like organ scores. I have always loved them and Ben's score is spot on. It's lovely, supports the film and the action and really makes this film better for his score.
The Sheik has long been much lower on my list of what I recommend as good films to see with Valentino. It's always been overacted, a bit crude and let's face it, silly, misogynistic and more than a little racist. That being said, it's much worse in the original E.M. Hull novel. I found that combined with the excellent score, I liked this film a good deal more than I ever had in the past. It is still in no way Rudolph Valentino at his best, nor is it for Agnes Ayres. Adolph Menjou has little to do, but, he is not playing out of character. Walter Long has always been more of a broad actor, so his mugging is expected.