InformationProgressive Silent Film ListLost FilmsPeopleTheaters
TaylorologyArticlesHome VideoBooksStoreSearch
Nosferatu on Blu-Ray Disc
 
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  The Sheik
 
Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2014 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.
The Sheik
(1921)
 

It is a well known and often told story that Rudolph Valentino was a largely unknown actor when he appeared in The Sheik (1921), the film that shot him into the rarified heights of an international film star.

The film, based on a ‘scandalous’ British novel, seems more than a bit melodramatic today, with its ‘forbidden’ interracial love elements and its sappy story of a privileged and self-determined society woman who is knocked-down a peg or two by the desert and its inhabitants. However, Valentino (who does more than his share of ridiculous eye-popping in the film in lieu of better acting devices — fault director George Melford for not keeping it under control) holds the film together by virtue of his magnetic presence alone. There are plenty of shots of Valentino flashing that million-dollar smile that made him the top matinee idol of the 1920s. The film, nonetheless, does have a number of exciting action sequences that help it rise above the average film fare of 1921. — Carl Bennett

2002 Image Entertainment DVD edition

The Sheik (1921), color-toned black & white, 86 minutes, not rated,
with The Son of the Sheik (1926), black & white, 69 minutes, not rated, Rudolph Valentino and His 88 American Beauties (1923), black & white, 13 minutes, not rated, The Sheik’s Physique (192?), black & white, 3 minutes, not rated, and [Pathé News: Rudolph Valentino Dead!] (1926), black & white, 4 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment, ID1371DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-13712-5.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, 5.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 224 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 20 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $24.99.
DVD release date: 25 June 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 7 / additional content: 7 / overall: 7.

Comparing this DVD edition to the VHS edition released in 1992 by Paramount Home Video, one immediately realizes that the Paramount edition utilized a reedited and retitled rerelease print for its video transfer, and that this new DVD edition has utilized for its transfer an excellent color-toned 35mm print of the original theatrical release version. Owners of the Paramount videotape may choose to hold onto it as a document of the reissue print.

The print for the Image DVD features a broad range of graytones and very good image detail, with very slight print damage in the form of light speckling, scrapes, and emulsion scuffing. The transfer is full-frame but is also generously cropped at the extreme edges of the film frame to render the maximum picture (as long as your television doesn’t excessively crop overscan area). Some intertitles will be slightly cropped on some TV monitors, but that appears to be the fault of the camera framing rather than the transfer framing.

Featured with The Sheik on this DVD is the film’s sequel, The Son of the Sheik (1926). The Son of the Sheik DVD review.

Among the supplementary material is Rudolph Valentino and His 88 American Beauties (1923) is documentary produced by the young David O. Selznick during Valentino’s contract dispute with Famous Players-Lasky, and served the purpose of keeping Valentino before the moving-going public during his vaudeville tour. Valentino was a judge in a beauty contest held in New York, with 88 contestants, including future film star Eugenia Gilbert. The film is padded with a hodge podge of footage taken during the event and of the contestants afterwards, but the film served its purpose for Valentino and made Selznick a goodly sum of money at the beginning of his career as a film producer. The transfer has been made from an excellent 35mm print, with mild speckling and moderate frame jitters. The film was previously available as a supplement on laserdisc.

The Sheik’s Physique (192?) is an odd little fiction film of Valentino (complete with long, pointed sideburns) driving to the beach and, to wow female viewers, changing into a swimming suit to spend a leisurely afternoon relaxing. Having fallen asleep, Rudy awakens to discover that he is late for an undefined appointment, realizes that his car is gone, and he must hitch a ride back into town. The film, which is likely exerpted from a longer compilation reel, has little purpose other than to keep new Valentino footage on the world's cinema screens until he formally returned to film acting. Transferred from, what appears to be, an excellent 35mm print.

[Pathe News: Rudolph Valentino Dead!] (1926) is a portion of newsreel footage of the funeral of Valentino. Includes footage from The Son of the Sheik and an incidental glimpse of Pola Negri. Transferred from an excellent 35mm print that is lightly speckled, moderately jittery and slightly damaged.

All of the films on this Image DVD feature music scores performed on synthesizers by Eric Beheim, who has written extensive notes on the scoring for the insert booklet. The disc also features an alternate music track of the 1937 reissue music and sound effects track for The Son of the Sheik.

This DVD edition of Valentino’s sheik films, produced for home video by David Shepard, encompasses a five-year span during which Rudolph Valentino rose to fame, fought studio control (almost disasterously), successfully returned to films, and ultimately died a premature death at age 31. With its wealth of Valentino films in great prints, this DVD is a great buy for both value and quality.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
2004 Instant Vision DVD edition

The Sheik (1921), black & white, ? minutes, Certificate U.

Instant Vision Limited, DVDIV081, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 2, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, £9.99.
DVD release date: 19 April 2004.
Country of origin: England
It is unknown what quality of materials have been utilized for this PAL British edition.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark at right to purchase
a Region 2 PAL DVD of this edition from Amazon.co.uk.
2009 Passport Video DVD edition

The Rudolph Valentino Collection: 5 Fabulous Films (1918-1925), black & white, 420 minutes total, not rated,
including The Sheik (1921), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Passport Video, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, three single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, five-disc DVD keepcase, $19.98.
DVD release date: 11 August 2009.
Country of origin: USA
This three-disc collection of Rudolph Valentino films may have been mastered from 16mm reduction prints. All of the films in the collection have previously appeared on DVD in high-quality editions.

The film is likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
2007 Reel Enterprises DVD edition

The Sheik (1921), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

Reel Enterprises, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $9.95.
DVD release date: 2 March 2007.
Country of origin: USA
This budget DVD-R edition has likely been mastered from 16mm reduction print materials.

It is unknown which version of the film is presented (original or rerelease version).

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD-R edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD-R edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
2010 Nostalgia Family Video DVD edition

The Sheik (1921), black & white, 73 minutes, not rated.

Nostalgia Family Video, 3231D, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $19.99.
DVD release date: 2010.
Country of origin: USA
This edition was likely mastered from a 16mm reduction print.

The film is likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
NOSTALGIA FAMILY VIDEO has discontinued business and this edition is no longer available.
200? DDC Labs DVD edition

The Sheik (1921), black & white, ? minutes, not rated,
with Intolerance (1916), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

DDC Labs, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one double-sided?, single-layered? DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles?, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 2005?.
Country of origin: Canada
This cheapy edition from Canada also features a presentation of Intolerance (1916).

It is unknown which version of the film is presented (original or rerelease version) or the quality of source materials used for the video transfer.

Other RUDOLPH VALENTINO films available on home video.

Other silent era ADOLPHE MENJOU films available on home video.

 
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  The Sheik   ||   Top of Page

The Big Parade on Blu-ray

Silent Era Ads
You Can Reach
more than 25,000
Silent Era readers
each month for less
than a dollar a day
with your
text ad here.
Advertise on
Silent Era

Valentino DVD

Beyond the Rocks DVD

Metropolis on Blu-Ray Disc

Complete Metropolis on DVD

Keaton on Blu-Ray Disc

Chaplin at Keystone

Josef von Sternberg DVD

The General on Blu-ray Disc

Battleship Potemkin on Blu-ray Disc

Georges Méliès DVD

Miss Mend on DVD

Chaplin Mutuals on DVD

La Roue on DVD

The Last Laugh DVD Restored

Unknown Chaplin on DVD

Advertise