Archive for February 2, 2020

The Groundhog Day Intertitle: Sheik That Thang

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , on February 2, 2020 by dcairns

 

Another video essay! I was pleased they let me call this one Loitering Within Tent because SON OF THE SHEIK doesn’t strike me as the kind of film one should be wholly serious about.

But it’s fun! Pure Hollywood Trash, maybe, but executed with a high degree of artistry and some jawdropping kink. Hollywood romanticism at its most nakedly perverse. I kept wondering how much of the absurd and offensive scenario I should draw attention to, and how lighthearted I could be about such stuff. I decided to go for it.

I also found a fan mag interview with director George Fitzmaurice, so I invented a funny voice for him to talk with. He was quite an assiduous courter of the Photoplay readership, so his ruminations have a certain fatuous tone I found hard to resist.

I really like the start of this piece — I think one of the better things editor Timo Langer and I have put together. But the more impressive feat may be turning Valentino into a talking picture star. This film was originally released with a recorded score featuring “turbulent music,” but as you probably know, Valentino died before talkies could immortalise his vocal powers. However, he was earlier recorded singing two songs, one of which, Kashmiri Love Song,  features in the original THE SHEIK. We laid the recording over the footage of him moving his lips, slid it back and forth a few times and, Voila! The Sheik sings…

In addition to our contribution, you get a booklet essay by the insuperable Pamela Hutchinson of Silent London and a video introduction by someone called Orson Welles. A nice team to be working alongside.