Friday, February 19, 2016

Valentino The Villain - Stolen Moments 1920

While we all love Valentino's portrayals as the romantic lead - its often spoken just how delightful he was in some of his pre-star films when he was cast as the smarmy villain.  He seemed to relish in the role.  The last film he completed before striking stardom in the Four Horseman was just such a film.

Valentino, who is billed as Rodolphe Valentino portrays Jose Dalmarez who uses blackmailing among other underhand tricks in this love triangle with so many twists and turns you tend to forget some of the gapping holes in the plot. However we cant be sure it's the films fault. 

You see, originally released in December of 1920 at full length, it was cut down in late 1922 to 3 reel size (aprox 30 minutes) The footage was narrowed down to spotlight Valentino's role, for at the time of the re-release of the cut-down version, Valentino was absent from the screen due to his strike against Paramount.  Unseen screen footage of Valentino was pure gold to the box office and Select Pictures Corp. shrewdly decided to capitalize on this, figuring most movie goers had not seen the (then) unknown Valentino when the movie had its original release in 1920.

Sadly, all that survives of the film is the cut-down version and it is on lower quality 16mm film stock.

However - here is a scan of a rare surviving 35mm nitrate film fragment of the original release which shows the scene in which Valentino was introduced in the film.  Naturally, he's smoking!

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