Video Review: The Sheik (1921) A Silent Movie Review

Here it is! My very first video review. It’s been in the works for six months and I am delighted to be finally unveiling it.

I am covering one of the most famous (and kitschiest) silent films ever made, one that even non-fans have heard about: The Sheik. I discuss the film’s background, the casting of Valentino and then launch into a review of the film itself. And all in just ten minutes? Is such a thing possible?

I hope you enjoy it!

(If you would prefer to read, you can find my print review here.)


Released on DVD.


American Silent Film by William K. Everson

Classics of the Silent Screen: A Pictorial Treasury by Joe Franklin

Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino by Emily W. Leider

Dangerous Curves Atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen by Michael G. Ankerich

Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom by Daisuke Miyao

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People by Jack G. Shaheen

The National Archives: Papers of E.M. Hull


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  1. Emily

    Great review! Your voice is marvelous and a pleasure to listen to. It’s funny, a year ago I was considering making a video review of this very film, but I got bogged down by technical issues with the microphone and video software.

    I agree that the movie is much more palatable than the book. (No constant rape, thank you very much.) Also George Melford directed the Spanish Dracula, and if you watch the actor playing the count in that film, you’ll see he makes a lot of the same wacky expressions that Valentino does in this movie.

    One more thing: have you ever thought of doing a full audio commentary? With your knowledge and humor, I think that would be a joy to listen to.

    1. Movies, Silently

      Thank you so much!

      I’m just using a cheapie Radioshack microphone but there is a free program called Audacity that takes out the background hiss beautifully and easily. (I was thrilled to discover it as the microphone hiss was bothering me)
      Here’s a how-to video:

      I’ve never considered doing a full commentary but I think it would be fun 😉

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Patti

    *fans herself from all the Valentino hotness*

    Love it! I love the quality of the clips that you used. I think I watched The Sheik on YouTube (or dloaded it from YouTube) but in a terrible quality. It was still heaps of fun despite being kitschy.XD

    1. Emily

      Seeing as this was made two years before Souls for Sale, no. However, SFS does reference the film by having Eleanor Boardman’s character stumble onto a movie crew shooting a desert romance picture.

  3. Joe Thompson

    You produced a good one-reeler, Fritzi. We need to use the work “hokum” more nowadays. I think you captured the important features of The Shiek. You are a good commentator. I’m looking forward to the next one.

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