22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Ken Russell's greatest movie?,
This review is from: Valentino [DVD] (DVD)
This could be Ken Russell's greatest movie, for the cinema, that is. His television biographies of musicians come into a different category and of these, "Delius, A Song of Summer", is perhaps the finest, containing an unforgettable performance by Max Adrian as Frederick Delius. But "Valentino" is extraordinary both in terms of Russell's genius for finding wonderful locations for his set pieces, such as Bournemouth's Russell-Cotes Museum and Art Gallery, and for identifying unexpectedly brilliant players (frequently not professional actors) to take leading roles. As other Amazon reviewers have stated, Nureyev is in a class of his own in this film and despite some problems in convincing us that he is an Italian gigolo - the accent is not very good - in every other respect he is terrific. No-one else could have taken the role and dominated the screen in the way that this unique man does here. Michelle Phillips, again an unexpected but entirely successful choice, plays her part to perfection and complements Nureyev without being in the least bit overshadowed by him.
The weakness (and it is a serious one)is the screenplay, which is episodic and with stilted dialogue. Too many of the lines are merely facts designed presumably to provide the audience of the time with historical background. But taken as a whole however this is a very good movie which offers very beautiful settings, terrific costumes and, in Nureyev's performance, a record of an extraordinary artist.
Russell's greatest movie? No, that's "Billion Dollar Brain", of course!