A biography of the silent film actor Valentino
("The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"). The film starts with
Valentino´s funeral and the mass hysteria at the time, then continues as
a series of flashbacks in the style of Citizen Kane.
Valentino is a club dancer who gets in trouble with the mob
and with the entertainment industry. His foreignness is used against him
(whoever heard of a dago playing a dago)
and his appeal to women causes resentment and allegations of
homosexuality. His reputation grows as a cinema star and as a lover.
Women adore him but continually men insult him (pink powder puff).
Finally he is tricked into a boxing match with a journalist
who turns out to have been boxing champion in the marines.
In genuinely exciting scenes Valentino is continually
pummelled to the ground, till eventually his opponent grabs him, barely
conscious, and dances him round the ring. He is only saved by the bell.
In true Rocky fashion after the bell Valentino comes out and
unexpectedly has found strength and turns the fight round, grabbing his
opponent and dancing, up to the knock-out. Valentino has saved his
At his funeral an actress comes to his coffin and faints. The
cameramen have missed it, so she revives, goes to the coffin again and
faints again, this time front page news.
The film is edited well with fast pacing but a good control
of the story. It is however too long, 30 minutes shorter would improve
The imagery is good.
The film was a major commercial failure.