3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Russell meets Rudolf!,
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This review is from: Valentino [DVD] (DVD)
Ken Russell could certainly do a period picture. Detail, feel, mood, elegance and style, you name it. In his depiction of 1920's Italian heart throb Hollywood star, Rudolph Valentino, all these key aspects are in place.
Lacking some of the more outrageous flourishes of sexual and violent depravities that marred/enabled (depending on your point of view) many other of Russell's flicks, this is still certificate 18 with some moderately explicit nudity.
The locations are inspired (the desert filming scene is superbly done), such as the Russell Coates Museum in Bournemouth and the dancing and set pieces dazzling and amazing. However, somehow the film doesn't gel as a whole and working out why is near impossible.
Some say that the casting of the Russian ballet icon, Rudolf Nureyev as Valentino to be a major fault, but I disagree. Sure, he's stilted and with the wrong accent, but he absolutely looks the part and with that immensely athletic body of his, well....and the dancing is as you'd expect. As the dashing sheik in the desert, just mentioned, he looks uncannily like the real thing.
Maybe that the film covers a lot of ground and at a full 2 hours, there's a lot of visual information. Sometimes it feels that there isn't the narrative clarity to support all that and we don't always know what is going on. Or, at least I didn't.
The late, great Ken has produced a fine film but one that ultimately doesn't quite work.