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Valentino is a 1977 British biographical film dedicated to enlivening the meteoric rise to fame and pre-mature demise of one of the silver screen's earliest heartthrobs - Rudolph Valentino. Directed by the acclaimed British filmmaker Ken Russell, the movie is an extravagant exploration of the off-screen drama that manifested in Valentino's life.

Valentino is brought to life by the accomplished Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who slips into the titular role with remarkable ease and emotive potency. Nureyev's exquisite performance transforms the screen into a tableau of emotions, flexing his acting grit and suppleness in capturing the glory, the glamour, and the ultimate sadness that characterized Valentino's life.

The movie opens up in New York in 1917 with Valentino working as a taxi dancer where he is discovered by movie mogul Jesse Lasky (played by Seymour Cassel), who provides his initial stepping stone into Hollywood. The plot is cleverly interlaced with pivotal moments from Valentino's life, including the genesis and growth of his celebrity status, his tumultuous love life, and recurrent clashes with fiercely critical press and unsupportive studio executives.

Leslie Caron stars as Alla Nazimova, an extravagant silent movie star closely associated with Valentino. Her depiction of Nazimova's eccentricities, with dramatic situations and over-the-top costumes, significantly enlivens the depiction of twenties Hollywood. On the other hand, Michelle Phillips plays Natacha Rambova, Valentino’s second wife. The movie explores their complex relationship, focusing on Natacha’s controlling influence on Valentino's personal and professional life, adding depth to Valentine's story.

What sets Valentino apart from other conventional biopics is Russell’s distinctive directorial style: a blend of spectacle, visual flamboyance, and unapologetic melodrama. His creative vision delves into the heart of the silent film era, laying bare its prodigious glamour and enchantment alongside the hidden pressures and cruelties of early Hollywood stardom.

The film is fraught with masterfully orchestrated dance scenes and lavish production, highlighting Nureyev's exceptional dancing skills and the era's sumptuous fashion. The mix of truth and dramatized speculation, incorporated with occasional flashes of comedy and tragedy, makes Valentino an engaging trip back in time, offering a unique vantage into Valentino's relatively short but impactful career.

The cinematography impeccably mirrors the zeitgeist of the golden age of Hollywood as well as Valentino's personal life's flamboyance and turbulence. The sharp contrast between the buoyant external image Valentino was compelled to project and his inner turmoil is deeply arresting, offering a critique of the blinding dazzle of stardom. The score imbued with nostalgic warmth, accentuates the emotions at play.

In a nutshell, Valentino is a cinematic blend of enchanting dance numbers, grand sets, unforgettable costumes, and power-packed performances. The film is a rich and vibrant spectacle that underscores the dichotomy of public adoration against private strife and the unsparing scrutiny endured by those inhabiting the world of fame and fortune. It's a poignant look at the human beneath the star, laying bare the harsh realities concealed beneath the glittering façade of celluloid stardom.

Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its premiere for its slightly exaggerated portrayal of factual events, Valentino is worth watching for its untold narrative of a legendary star whose name and fame continue to resonate in Hollywood. Whether you're a fan of the iconic star, a lover of silver screen nostalgia, or simply someone who enjoys engaging with a well-crafted biographical drama, Valentino should definitely have a place on your watchlist.

In conclusion, Valentino is not just a movie; it's an experience that immerses audiences in the magic and the mayhem of Hollywood's early days by charting the life of a star who, despite his short-lived career, left an indelible mark on the annals of Hollywood's history. The movie serves both as a tribute to Rudolph Valentino's stardom and as a critique of the toll that fame can exact from its recipients.

Valentino is a Drama, History movie released in 1977. It has a runtime of 128 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.1..

How to Watch Valentino

Where can I stream Valentino movie online? Valentino is available to watch and stream at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, Tubi TV, The Roku Channel.

Ken Russell
Rudolf Nureyev: Rudolph Valentino, Leslie Caron: Alla Nazimova, Michelle Phillips: Natasha Rambova, Carol Kane: Fatty's Girlfriend, Felicity Kendal: June Mathis, Seymour Cassel: George Ullman, Huntz Hall: Jesse Lasky, Peter Vaughan: Rory O'Neil, David de
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