Valentino (1977)

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Valentino: Directed by Ken Russell. With Rudolf Nureyev, Leslie Caron, Michelle Phillips, Carol Kane. The life of 1920s movie star and sex symbol Rudolph Valentino.

“Who knows if any of this is true, but director Ken Russellu0026#39;s take on the life of Rudolph Valentino is a lot of fun. Opening at Valentinou0026#39;s infamously raucous funeral, the film is told in flashbacks by various people who knew him. Thatu0026#39;s where any similarity to CITIZEN KANE ends. Russell is a master of opulence and itu0026#39;s clear that no money was spared. The sets and costumes are spectacular, but theyu0026#39;re nearly overshadowed by Russellu0026#39;s casting choices. Michelle Phillips plays Valentinou0026#39;s wife Natasha, Leslie Caron is the great Nazimova and one time Dead End kid Huntz Hall is Paramount chief Jesse Lasky. Bizarre casting to be sure, but all three are surprisingly good. Caron in particular seems to be having a really good time. In hindsight, the casting of Rudolf Nureyev as the worldu0026#39;s u0026quot;greatest loveru0026quot; seems ironic, but he isnu0026#39;t bad. It is too bad he has to speak. There are times heu0026#39;s incomprehensible. The direction is fairly straightforward, although Caronu0026#39;s funeral scene entrance and Valentinou0026#39;s jail house encounter are vintage Russell — theyu0026#39;re nearly operatic. Carol Kane and Seymour Cassel are in it too.”

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