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Film / The Son of the Sheik

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Yep, it's that kind of movie.
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The Son of the Sheik is a 1926 film directed by George Fitzmaurice, starring Rudolph Valentino and Vilma Banky.

It is a sequel to one of Valentino's most popular films, The Sheik. In this one the protagonist is Ahmed, son of the Sheik from the original film. Like his father, this Ahmed falls in love with a beautiful white woman. But unlike the first film, this Love Interest, Yasmin, is not a spoiled socialite, but instead a young dancer in a traveling vaudeville troupe. The vaudeville troupe has a second and more profitable sideline in banditry. They follow Yasmin to a rendezvous with Ahmed, kidnap Ahmed, and hold him for ransom. Ahmed is rescued, but not before bandit chief Ghabah lies to him and tells him that Yasmin set him up. An embittered Ahmed swears revenge against both Yasmin and her bandit clan.

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Valentino made The Son of the Sheik under protest. He didn't like the "sheik" persona and wanted to try different things, but a prolonged box office slump and major personal debts led him to revisit his biggest hit. Early reaction to The Son of the Sheik was favorable, and Valentino embarked on a tour in order to promote the film. While on tour, he collapsed in his hotel room in New York. Eight days later, he was dead at the age of 31 of peritonitis and pleurisy caused by a punctured ulcer. The Son of the Sheik was his last film. Aided no doubt by the monster publicity caused by his death, it was a huge hit.


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Tropes:

  • Banana Peel: Pincher, the mischievous, runty little vaudeville thief, throws a banana peel under the strongman's feet. The strongman slips and falls, revealing his supposedly heavy barbell to be hollow.
  • Bedlah Babe: Yasmin spends the whole movie dressed like this.
  • Belly Dancer: Yasmin's job with the vaudeville troupe. She appears to be uninvolved in their other, criminal enterprises.
  • Brownface: Karl Dane, who was Danish, is wearing some kind of makeup to be somewhat more convincing as Ahmed's sidekick Ramadan.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Yasmin accidentally leaves a ring behind when Ahmed throws her out of his camp. Later he throws the ring at her wrapped up in some money, to signal that he's come to get her back.
  • Double Vision: Used to allow Valentino to play both older and younger Ahmed. There is a pretty impressive shot when Valentino as Sheik Ahmed puts his arm over young Ahmed's shoulder. However, there's a line clearly visible in the film when the two Ahmeds are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder, fending off the bandits.
  • Fanservice: This film makes sure to include a scene in which a shirtless Valentino is tied up and whipped.
  • Flashback: After the Sheik and Diana pop up about halfway through, the movie includes a flashback to them in the previous movie.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Immediately after saying that "all the women of the Arabian Nights" couldn't distract him the way that Ahmed has been distracted by Yasmin, Ramadan sees a sexy servant girl and goes chasing after her.
  • Identical Grandson: Valentino plays both an older Sheik Ahmed (wearing makeup that made him a lot older than the real Valentino ever got) and his headstrong son Ahmed Jr.
  • Love at First Sight: Yasmin and Ahmed are pledging love to each other when they realize they don't know each other's names.
  • Opium Den: Where the vaudeville troupe is working when Ahmed returns to rescue Yasmin. Lots of people lounging around smoking.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Not content to let the first film win the Values Dissonance contest, this one strongly implies that Ahmed rapes Yasmin. He grabs her and forcibly kisses her, says "For once your kisses are free" (he incorrectly believes she is a prostitute)—and the film cuts to the next morning, with Ahmed kicking her out of the camp.
  • Sequel: To The Sheik. Also The Film of the Book as it was an adaptation of author Edith Hull's follow-up novel The Sons of the Sheik. (The novel included a twin brother and a Sibling Rivalry plot that was dropped from the film.)
  • Shot in the Ass: Stabbed in the ass with a thrown sword. Poor Pincher.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Ahmed is subjected to a prolonged whipping by a rival sheik who creepily calls him "My young lion." His rape of Yasmin is presented as revenge for this whipping as he wrongly believes she is responsible.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sheik Ahmed gives a disapproving speech to young Ahmed when he finds out that his son kidnapped and raped a dancer. (In the first movie, unlike the book, Ahmed Senior kidnaps Diana but never actually rapes her, so he does have a little high ground. Not much, but some.)
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