The Sheik (1921)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Adventure, Romantic Adventure  |   Release Date - Oct 20, 1921 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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This romantic costumed adventure is the film that cemented Rudolph Valentino's reputation as a legendary screen lover. Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan (Valentino) takes Lady Diana Mayo (Agnes Ayers) to his camp when he finds the beauty in the desert. Although drawn to the Sheik, Lady Diana is able to resist his amorous advances. When his former French school chum Raoul de Saint Herbert (Adolphe Menjou) convinces him to let Diana go free, she is kidnapped by the villainous Omair (Walter Long), who promises her a fate worse than death. The heroic Sheik and his army save Diana from suicide, but he is severely wounded in the melee. Diana helps the Sheik regain his strength after he saves her and she vows her everlasting love to her British-educated hero. Reviewers at the time of the film's release were very critical of the film and the performance of Valentino, suggesting the public should ask the film to be censored as it was morally objectionable. Paramount Pictures thought the film would go nowhere fast, but millions of women made Valentino an international heartthrob. Many fainted at the initial showing of the film, and Rudolph Valentino eclipsed Wallace Reid in popularity. Over 70 years after his death, Rudolph Valentino is still remembered as the first male superstar to have a direct and lasting impact on female viewers, and the word "sheik" became as synonymous with Valentino as the word "vamp" was associated with the exotic Theda Bara. Watch for seven-year-old Loretta Young in a bit part.



aristocracy, capture, conflict, damsel-in-distress, doctor/nurse, kidnapping, love, prince, rescue, romance, royalty, suicide, wealth


High Budget, High Historical Importance, High Production Values