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Valentino [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Rudolf Nureyev, Leslie Caron, Michelle Phillips, Carol Kane, Felicity Kendal
  • Directors: Ken Russell
  • Writers: Ken Russell, Brad Steiger, Chaw Mank, Mardik Martin
  • Producers: Harry Benn, Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Sept. 2008
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001AOHPLW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,512 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Ken Russell directs this biographical drama starring Rudolf Nureyev as Italian-American actor Rudolph Valentino. The film begins at the 31-year-old actor's funeral in 1926 in New York and, using flashbacks, backtracks to his glory days when the former ballroom dancer used his good looks and charm to mould a successful silent movie career and become one of the first male screen idols in Hollywood.

Customer Reviews

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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!
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I should say firstly that my interest in this film is more than a passing one. I was in it! OK, not a featured player, I was the young drummer in the orchestra during the boxing-match sequence. This was filmed in the Blackpool Tower Circus in 1976 and, although not a lengthy scene, took 10 days to film. Often for as much as 10 hours per day. Arriving early on the set we were treated to the sight of Nureyev 'limbering-up' with his ballet exercises. Spontaneous applause greeted his impromptu performance. After the passing of 35 years (!) this is still a good film to watch with dazzling visuals and handsome locations. OK, so Rudolph N's thick Russian accent falls short of being authentic, he gives a very workmanlike performance in a film which has been sadly neglected. Sound and picture quality are superb too.
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Format: VHS Tape
I thoroughly enjoyed this film - a must for all Nureyev fans.I found his portrayal of Valentino totally believable and just as I imagined Valentino to be. Of course, as a Nureyev fan, I would have loved to see more dancing, but then Valentino wasn't famed for his dancing and it is commendable that the film was not used simply as a vehicle to show Nureyev's undoubted brilliance as a dancer at the expense of the story line. I felt that the film stood up on its own without this, although I confess to re-winding the fabulous tango sequence with Anthony Dowell several times!
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By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Mar. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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By Adrian Drew TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Aug. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film does not work although it has some wonderful designs, costumes and theatrical ideas.
Nureyev dances magnificently but - as he acknowledged himself and did Ken Russell towards the end of his life.
Nureyev is no actor on the cinema screen and just doesn't convince - although his charisma remains intact and it is fascinating to see him "up close',
The format of the film is a little clunky too -and the cameos of the famous when combined with Russell's over the top direction often jar. That said it does hold your interest until then end and is quite enjoyable. The audio and video transfers are both very good.
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Format: DVD
Another Russell piece on an "artistic" subject. Nureyev (an good idea for casting - but I doubt if inspired) is sexually enigmatic as Valentino, and is used by his wife as much as by the studios. He also uses himself - as we all do - to get what he wants. As a dancer Nureyev is superb, and his portrayl of Valentino hinges on that. Unfortunately, that isn't really enough. The storyline is told in flashbacks, by his friends who attend his funeral (somewhat akin to 'Citizen Kane' for that) but the movie doesn't really take off.
There are memorable parts - a ladies group camps outside the Valentino's house and recite poetry in chorus: Valentino's interaction with the various machismo men in his career, culminating with his bedding of a co-star to allay the rumours that caused them to drop a powder-puff on him during filming.
Not great, but interesting.
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