Archive for Rudolph Valentino

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.

 

Kino Phreno

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on November 24, 2019 by dcairns

From… is it Photoplay? I think so.

This all seems really grotesque and insulting. Even the term “back-head” feels like a sneer.

Doesn’t impress me. If they’d said, “He will be dead soon,” that WOULD impress me.

Most of the other studies in this article are of actors whose names are lost to history (Bert Lytell, anyone?), but here is Antonio Moreno just so I can say “Phreno Moreno.”

They make him sound like Piltdown Man crossed with Hamlet, prince of Denmark.

The modern screen actor I’d most like to see analysed from a bumps-on-the-head viewpoint is William Hurt, who is practically part-Klingon. His bumps could teach us many things.

What now? Oh yes, an intertitle. From THE SHEIK:

How I Play a Love Scene

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on November 14, 2019 by dcairns

Valentino tells Movie Weekly magazine about his method acting approach to character and love scenes.

Having dived fairly deep in the fan mags for research into this star, I’m of the opinion that everything anyone ever told them was sheer ballyhoo and applesauce. What’s intriguing is that Valentino’s description of his method, which I sincerely doubt has anything to do with his actual approach, does closely align with what modern actors like to claim about their technique, and some of them really mean it.

As for living your role night and day, whatever works for you. I always suspected that if I were a crewmember on MY LEFT FOOT and Daniel Day-Lewis asked me to shove him about in his wheelchair, I might slightly baulk at this. “Not my department.” I refuse to believe that pretending you can’t walk is difficult and requires deep immersion. I myself frequently pretend I can’t walk, when required to, for instance, go out for milk. But I suppose I’d go along with his nonsense. Pushing an actor around is better than the reverse.