The Son of the Sheik


1h 2m 1926
The Son of the Sheik

Brief Synopsis

In this silent film, an Arabian knight protects a dancing girl from desert outlaws.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Adventure
Silent
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Sep 5, 1926
Premiere Information
Los Angeles premiere: 9 Jul 1926
Production Company
Feature Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Sons of the Sheik by Edith Maude Hull (Boston, 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
6,685ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Ahmed, The Son of the Sheik, falls in love with Yasmin, a dancer and the daughter of a renegade Frenchman who leads a troupe of mountebanks and thieves. When Ahmed is captured by Yasmin's father and held for ransom, he is led to believe that she has tricked him; and when freed he abducts her, taking her to a desert camp. He is about to force her to submit to him when his father, the sheik, barges into the tent and frees the girl. Later, Ahmed learns that it was not she but rather her jealous admirer who betrayed him. He follows Yasmin to a dancehall, where a bitter fight with knives takes place; Ahmed emerges victorious, unscathed and with the girl in his arms.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Adventure
Silent
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Sep 5, 1926
Premiere Information
Los Angeles premiere: 9 Jul 1926
Production Company
Feature Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Sons of the Sheik by Edith Maude Hull (Boston, 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
6,685ft (7 reels)

Articles

The Son of the Sheik.


Contemporary audiences seeing a film starring Rudolph Valentino, the so-called Latin lover of the silents, might wonder what all the fuss was about. His nostril-flaring, eye-rolling expressions of passion seem ludicrous now. Most of his films, and his acting in them, have dated badly.

Take, for example, The Sheik (1921), the film which made Valentino a star. Based on a trashy romance novel by Edith M. Hull, similar to today's "bodice-rippers," it's a tale of forbidden passion in the Arabian desert, a crude melodrama without any real eroticism. Yet flappers swooned over Valentino's exotic charms. "Sheik" became 1920's slang for a man who fascinates women.

The Son of the Sheik (1926) was quite another story. It turned out to be Valentino's last film, and most critics think it's his best. Legendary screenwriter Frances Marion based her script on Hull's own sequel, Sons of the Sheik, but combined twin sons into one character, Ahmed. Valentino himself suggested that he play both Ahmed and his father. Agnes Ayres, who had played the sheik's love Diana, reprised the role in a cameo. Ahmed falls in love with a dancing girl, played by Vilma Banky. She's the daughter of a bandit, and when Ahmed thinks she's betrayed him, he prepares to have his way with her, but is stopped in the nick of time by his father. Much swashbuckling ensues, with father and son taking on the thieves.

A lot had changed in Valentino's life between the two films. He had married and been divorced by designer Natacha Rambova, who had taken control of his career and set it on a disastrous course, choosing effete and somewhat bizarre roles for him. After the marriage broke up in 1925, Valentino had given an interview which was headlined, "I'm Tired of Being a Sheik." In it, he said, "I wanted to make a lot of money, and so I let them play me up as a lounge lizard, a soft, handsome devil whose only sin in life was to sit around and be admired by women....I was happier when I slept on a bench in Central Park than during all the years of that 'perfect lover' stuff....No, I am through with sheiking." Yet a few months later, there he was, "sheiking" again. But this time, he was in control, and determined to prove that he could turn the stereotype into a real hero. In The Son of the Sheik, Valentino seems to have loosened up and stopped worrying about his loverboy image. He's decided to not only make fun of it, but to have fun with it.

And this time, everything was first-rate: Marion was one of the finest writers in the business. Director George Fitzmaurice paced the film skillfully. The action sequences are particularly well-done, especially the climactic scene, with father and son fighting side by side. The desert sequences were shot on location in Yuma, Arizona, and cinematographer George Barnes gave them a shimmering beauty. Valentino personally selected Banky, whom he'd co-starred with in The Eagle (1925), as his leading lady, and their chemistry is excellent. William K. Everson writes in American Silent Film, "Son of the Sheik was everything that...The Sheik should have been and wasn't. It was lush, exciting, genuinely erotic, and direct in the key confrontations."

Valentino had great hopes that The Son of the Sheik would turn his career around. But just one month after the film's premiere, Rudolph Valentino died suddenly of peritonitis at the age of 31. The Son of the Sheik turned out to be one of his biggest hits.

Producer: John W. Considine, Jr.
Director: George Fitzmaurice
Screenplay: Frances Marion and Fred de Gresac, based on the novel by Edith M. Hull
Cinematography: George Barnes
Art Direction: William Cameron Menzies
Principal Cast: Rudolph Valentino (Ahmed/The Sheik), Vilma Banky (Yasmin), John Fawcett (Andre), Montague Love (Ghabah), Karl Dane (Ramadan).
BW-68m.

by Margarita Landazuri
The Son Of The Sheik.

The Son of the Sheik.

Contemporary audiences seeing a film starring Rudolph Valentino, the so-called Latin lover of the silents, might wonder what all the fuss was about. His nostril-flaring, eye-rolling expressions of passion seem ludicrous now. Most of his films, and his acting in them, have dated badly. Take, for example, The Sheik (1921), the film which made Valentino a star. Based on a trashy romance novel by Edith M. Hull, similar to today's "bodice-rippers," it's a tale of forbidden passion in the Arabian desert, a crude melodrama without any real eroticism. Yet flappers swooned over Valentino's exotic charms. "Sheik" became 1920's slang for a man who fascinates women. The Son of the Sheik (1926) was quite another story. It turned out to be Valentino's last film, and most critics think it's his best. Legendary screenwriter Frances Marion based her script on Hull's own sequel, Sons of the Sheik, but combined twin sons into one character, Ahmed. Valentino himself suggested that he play both Ahmed and his father. Agnes Ayres, who had played the sheik's love Diana, reprised the role in a cameo. Ahmed falls in love with a dancing girl, played by Vilma Banky. She's the daughter of a bandit, and when Ahmed thinks she's betrayed him, he prepares to have his way with her, but is stopped in the nick of time by his father. Much swashbuckling ensues, with father and son taking on the thieves. A lot had changed in Valentino's life between the two films. He had married and been divorced by designer Natacha Rambova, who had taken control of his career and set it on a disastrous course, choosing effete and somewhat bizarre roles for him. After the marriage broke up in 1925, Valentino had given an interview which was headlined, "I'm Tired of Being a Sheik." In it, he said, "I wanted to make a lot of money, and so I let them play me up as a lounge lizard, a soft, handsome devil whose only sin in life was to sit around and be admired by women....I was happier when I slept on a bench in Central Park than during all the years of that 'perfect lover' stuff....No, I am through with sheiking." Yet a few months later, there he was, "sheiking" again. But this time, he was in control, and determined to prove that he could turn the stereotype into a real hero. In The Son of the Sheik, Valentino seems to have loosened up and stopped worrying about his loverboy image. He's decided to not only make fun of it, but to have fun with it. And this time, everything was first-rate: Marion was one of the finest writers in the business. Director George Fitzmaurice paced the film skillfully. The action sequences are particularly well-done, especially the climactic scene, with father and son fighting side by side. The desert sequences were shot on location in Yuma, Arizona, and cinematographer George Barnes gave them a shimmering beauty. Valentino personally selected Banky, whom he'd co-starred with in The Eagle (1925), as his leading lady, and their chemistry is excellent. William K. Everson writes in American Silent Film, "Son of the Sheik was everything that...The Sheik should have been and wasn't. It was lush, exciting, genuinely erotic, and direct in the key confrontations." Valentino had great hopes that The Son of the Sheik would turn his career around. But just one month after the film's premiere, Rudolph Valentino died suddenly of peritonitis at the age of 31. The Son of the Sheik turned out to be one of his biggest hits. Producer: John W. Considine, Jr. Director: George Fitzmaurice Screenplay: Frances Marion and Fred de Gresac, based on the novel by Edith M. Hull Cinematography: George Barnes Art Direction: William Cameron Menzies Principal Cast: Rudolph Valentino (Ahmed/The Sheik), Vilma Banky (Yasmin), John Fawcett (Andre), Montague Love (Ghabah), Karl Dane (Ramadan). BW-68m. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The Son of the Sheik marked the last film of Rudolph Valentino, who died on August 23, 1926, before the film was released. The picture is a sequel to the 1921 Famous Players-Lasky production The Sheik, which featured one of Valentino's most famous roles.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1926

Selected in 2003 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Released in United States 1926