As one of the most iconic personalities of the silent film era, Rudolph Valentino achieved an unprecedented level of fame. This 2-disc DVD set contains four digital reconstructions of "lost" Valentino films and an extensive assortment of bonus short films, rare audio recordings, previously unpublished photos, promotion materials, production stills and other rare items detailing several aspects of Valentino's remarkable life and legacy.
Moran of the Lady Letty - USA 1922 - Directed by: George Melford - Written by: Monte M. Katterjohn, based on a novel by Frank Norris - Cinematography by: William Marshall - Cast: Dorothy Dalton, Rudolph Valentino, Charles Brinley, Emil Jorgenson, Maude Wayne - Produced by: Famous Players-Lasky Corporation - Premiere: 5.2.1922
The Young Rajah - USA 1922 - Directed by: Phil Rosen - Written by: June Mathis, based on a play by Alethea Luce and John Ames Mitchell - Cinematography by: James Van Trees - Cast: Rudolph Valentino, Charles Ogle, Fanny Midgley, George Periolat, George Field - Produced by: Famous Players-Lasky Corporation - Premiere: 12.11.1922
Stolen Moments - USA 1920 - Directed by: James Vincent - Written by: Richard Hall - Cast: Rudolph Valentino, Marguerita Namara, Albert L. Barrett, Henrietta Simpson, Arthur Earle - Produced by: American Cinema Corporation - Premiere: Dezember 1920
A Society Sensation - USA 1918 - Directed by: Paul Powell - Written by: Hope Loring, Paul Powell - Kamera: Edward Ullman - Cast: Carmel Myers, Rudolph Valentino, Lydia Yeamans Titus, Alfred Allen, Fred Kelsey, Zasu Pitts - Produced by: Bluebird Photoplays - Premiere: 17.2.1923
About the DVD
First, there is a newly-restored 1922 feature, Moran of the Lady Letty, a high-adventure yarn with Valentino as a wealthy playboy who is shanghaied onto the crew of a pirate ship run by that glorious silent film rogue Walter Long. In time, he meets the title character, a girl who has grown up at sea, played by Dorothy Dalton. Dalton has no particular charisma, but the story is entertaining, and it's interesting to see the Latin Lover in such an atypical role.
I was much more impressed with The Young Rajah, an incomplete film which has been ingeniously reconstructed using stills and title cards. The star is at his best here, as an Indian prince who has been raised in America , unaware of his heritageor his ultimate destiny. He's also quite good as a slick Lothario (complete with mustache), in an edited version of the 1920 feature Stolen Moments, and does equally good work in the Carmel Myers' vehicle A Society Sensation (1918).
That is just the tip of the iceberg on this two-disk set. Five silent short subjects take us behind the scenes in Hollywood , offering tantalizing footage filmed on location for The Sheik and Blood and Sand. Some film buffs may have already seen A Trip to Paramountown and Character Studies, but they're welcome additions to this DVD . Paramountown is an elaborate promotional film for the dominant Hollywood studio of its day, featuring specially-shot footage of everyone from Cecil B. DeMille to Gloria Swanson. Character Studies is a film that has intrigued and baffled the most astute film scholars as to its origins. Suffice it to say that it presents Vaudeville star Carter DeHaven doing a so-called quick-change act in which he magically transforms himself into Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Jackie Coogan, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, and other great stars of the 1920s. The actual stars portray themselves, all smiling good-naturedly for this novelty film, and while we may never know why it was made, it certainly is fascinating to watch. A 1941 tribute to Valentino includes other rare snippets of candid and newsreel footage. There is even a Hollywood Travelogue from the early 1930's in Cinecolor.
A variety of galleries and scrapbooks offer never-before-seen private photographs, biographical information on Rudolph Valentino and his colleagues, posters, stills, advertisements and a "living map" of Hollywood locations that played a significant role in Valentino's life and career.