Valentino (1951)

If this biopic is anything to go by, then Valentino was indeed fortunate that his star rose before sound movies had been invented. For though he may have been able to woo female patrons with his Latin looks, sultry eyes and flaring nostrils, if he was saddled with the sort of dialogue in this film, he would have been back to charging 10 cents a dance before he knew it.

 

Some of this can be justified by his early depiction as a shameless, self-confessed gigolo - “Love, my dear, is a language spoken by the heart, not by the tongue. Heard by the soul, not by the ears”. Such lines may very well have been part of his repertoire, but the corniness continues beyond these scenes and follows Valentino to Hollywood. Any hoped-for respite provided by the silent era is dashed when a director advises his cast to say their lines because the audience can lip-read!

 

In attempting to sum up the Valentino legend, the closing narration inadvertently encapsulates the film’s banality -

 

[It] lives on in hearts he caused to beat a little faster and made warm with the magic of his personality.

 

All evidence to the contrary.

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Movie depicts Valentino as a bachelor, dying just before he gets married. This may be based on Pola Negri claiming they were engaged at the time of his death. Regardless, Valentino was married twice.

 

Movie has Valentino starting his movie career in New York, whereas it began in Los Angeles.

 

Chronology of Valentino’s film career is incorrect, suggesting he made no movies after The Sheik. Whereas all films depicted in biopic, apart from Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, were in fact made after The Sheik.

 

Director Lewis Allen was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald as insisting that while the film gave a reasonably faithful account of Valentino’s professional career, it bore no resemblance to his personal life.

 

Biopic contains the following disclaimer in the opening credits -

 

With the exception of persons whose true names are used, the characters and events portrayed are fictional. 

Any similarity to other persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

The only real name used in the movie was that of Valentino.

Biopic contains many scene recreations from Valentino's short career, including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (01:03), The Sheik (01:27), The Son of the Sheik (02:39), Blood and Sand (03:21) and Monsieur Beaucaire.

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and are used in accordance with fair use provisions.

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