The Son of the Sheik (1926) Review

The Son of the Sheik (1926) Director: George Fitzmaurice

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★★★★☆

This 1926 sequel to The Sheik (1921), sees the “Latin Lover” of silent cinema, Rudy Valentino, returning in a follow-up that is often more critically praised than the original. This film was released approximately two weeks after Valentino collapsed while promoting the film. He then unexpectedly died at the age of 31 due to complications from peritonitis (an internal inflammation) at the age of 31. It was a grave tragedy that was widely mourned –this sequel was intended to be Valentino’s big comeback in Hollywood. However, his death catapulted sales for the film, though in truth, Valentino never actually wanted to reprise his role as the lusty “sheik,” he only relented because at the time his career needed a shot in the arm.

Based on Edith M. Hull’s follow-up novel to The Sheik, The Son of the Sheik is an entertaining romp through a Jazz Age perspective on the fabled mystique of Arabia. Its significance lies in the story and aura surrounding Rudy Valentino. The Son of the Sheik explores the popular intrigue of bedouin warlords a la the middle eastern romance-adventures of T.E. Lawrence and others. This time, Ahmed Ben Hassan is the spoiled son of the sheik (Valentino actually plays the son in this sequel) who falls in love with a dancer he believes has betrayed him. He visits her alone and watches her dance, but he is suddenly robbed and held for ransom. Hull disapproved of interracial “miscegenation” and her politics certainly appear retrograde to the modern taste (luckily, the filmmakers chose to jettison some of her original source material, particularly about the sheik having an English son). Eventually, Ahmed escapes with the hopes of exacting revenge on Yasmin.

1 thought on “The Son of the Sheik (1926) Review

  1. Pingback: The Sheik | Great Books Guy

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