Fun Size Review: The Sheik (1921)

Sometimes goofy, sometimes creepy, occasionally romantic but always entertaining. Rudolph Valentino is a sheik who falls for an Englishwoman, Agnes Ayres. What do you do when the lady you love thinks you’re a creep? Kidnap her and confirm all her suspicions, of course!

This film reportedly had women fainting in the aisles. Modern women are more likely to be rolling in the aisles with laughter. An amiably clueless kitsch fest. Your mileage may vary but what can I say? I love MST3K.

How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
Our heroine realizes that kidnapping is okay if the criminal is handsome. Anyway, he’s not really an Arab. Interracial romance averted (yes, people were really worried about that back then), the happy couple is united.

Read my full-length review here.

If it were a dessert it would be: Mayonnaise Cake. Weird ingredients but it somehow tastes good.

Availability: Released on DVD and Bluray.

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9 Replies to “Fun Size Review: The Sheik (1921)”

      1. As a somewhat privileged white male born with a bronze spoon in my mouth, I can often unthinkingly tolerate the racist and ethnic prejudice that shows up on the screen, but – I did mostly enjoy The Shiek – my tolerance broke at the idea (SPOILER!) that her “blue blood” would reliably rescue her from falling in love with an Arab.

  1. Regarding your review of “The Barbarian,” I am such a Novarro fan that I have a hard time being objective about his films. I agree that he shined in the funny segments of the film and lament that he wasn’t given more screwball comedy roles in the 1930s, where his comedic talents would have given him a longer career with MGM (they didn’t seem to know what to do with him). “The Cat an the Fiddle” was one such example of his comedy skills. Valentino, on the other hand, was in his element in Sheik or male-vamp roles, silly as they may seem to modern audiences not educated in silent film. But he had a sly humor when given the chance. He was truly a man of the 1920s and it’s difficult to predict how his career would have progressed in the sound era.

  2. There were a few films in this era where interracial marriage was avoided in this way — even Whoopee cops out. It’s doubly offensive, in my opinion.

  3. Ah!!!-The Barbarian; is that the one where it’s ok for the lady to run off with the arab because she’s part oriental?

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