Director: George Melford
Cast: Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres
Release Date: November 2, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
THE SHEIK opened at the height of a nation’s appetite for motion pictures and sealed Rudolph Valentino’s status as a heart-throb Hollywood legend. While his untimely death would break the hearts of his adoring fans, the movie broke box-office records for Paramount Pictures in 1921. One hundred years later, this essential Romance of a charming Arabian sheik’s infatuation with an Englishwoman endures. This limited-edition Blu-ray includes a new look at the classic with Professor Leslie Midkiff DeBauche, and an original music score composed by Roger Bellon.
Please Note: Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
You can also check out our reviews for the other releases in the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line by clicking on each title below!
The silent film classic ‘The Sheik’ was released in 1921 at the height of the nation’s appetite for motion pictures and turned its star Rudolph Valentino into a legendary heartthrob and Hollywood star. Now, one-hundred years after its initial release you can revisit this gem of filmmaking history on Blu-ray in the most accurate and highest quality presentation since its theatrical release. The film follows an Arabian Sheik, the Englishwoman who he takes as a captive and the unexpected romance and relationship that blooms between them.
The 1921 film classic ‘The Sheik’ arrives home on Blu-ray as the twenty-fifth title in Paramount Home Entertainment’s limited edition line of ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases which features various noteworthy films from Paramount’s expansive library presented on Blu-ray with newly remastered video presentations accompanied by lossless audio soundtracks, extras and collectible packaging. ‘The Sheik’ most certainly makes a marvelous addition to the line, celebrating its one-hundredth anniversary with this great new Blu-ray release that features a painstaking restoration of the film from various elements (you can read more specific details including a quote from the studio in the Video section of the technical specification coverage below) accompanied by an Original music score composed by Roger Bellon and one brand new extra. While many casual movie watchers (especially a good handful of younger audiences) may not have the patience for a silent film of this type that uses title cards for dialogue and didn’t have the modern advantages that we take for granted in filmmaking today at its disposal, but for those who appreciate how far we’ve come and are fascinated by the differences, this one is quite a treat to experience. It’s an entirely different type of film experience in many ways, while also still featuring many traits and patterns that are still utilized today, merely often in a somewhat different manner. It’s an enjoyable and quite fascinating film that is a joy to behold, even if it’s undeniably dated in many ways (how could it not be after all).
Overall, this new ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of the famous 1921 film classic ‘The Sheik’ brings the film home on Blu-ray featuring a meticulously restored presentation that utilized various film elements from different sources and pieced them all together in order to offer what is promised to be the best picture quality ‘The Sheik’ has had since it was released in theaters one-hundred years ago! The painstakingly restored video presentation is also accompanied by a 2 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack that features an original music score composed by Roger Bellon. This new limited edition Blu-ray release also includes one new extra and collectible packaging, making for a wonderful release that diehard fans of this legendary film should be thrilled with. For fans of this silent film classic, this new Paramount Presents Blu-ray release of ‘The Sheik’ is definitely recommended and if you’ve never had the pleasure of the film but are intrigued, I can’t imagine a more rewarding option than this release to check it out.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Sheik’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation of the film featuring its original 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio in tinted Black and White in celebration of its one hundredth anniversary. The quote below from Paramount provides some more information on the restoration process utilized for this Blu-ray release.
“THE SHEIK restoration employed modern technology so viewers can experience the original beauty of this monumental silent film. Since original negatives for silent films rarely exist, Paramount searched the world for the best elements and used a print and an intermediate element called a fine grain. One source of the film yielded better results for image quality, another for intertitles. One of the elements was “stretch-printed” and had to be adjusted digitally during the restoration process. In the silent era there was no standard frame rate, so stretch printing was done to show silent films at 24 frames per second. In addition, tints and tones were digitally applied, guided by an original continuity script from the Paramount archive. The result is the best picture quality THE SHEIK has had since it was originally shown in theaters 100 years ago.”
The result is a quite impressive high definition video presentation for the one hundred year old film that brings it to our television screens in a way that can be believed as similar to its original presentation. Make no mistake, there is definitely a lot of wear, tears and other splotches to the print, but for something of this age that’s entirely expected and if anything only makes it more accurate in the way the release retains its old school look at feel, providing a rich and rewarding presentation that’s truly fascinating in its own right if only to see just how drastically filmmaking has changed in the last century. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that may have a lot of faults within, but for the age and type of source, I certainly can’t imagine it looking any better or more faithful.
The Blu-ray release features a 2.0 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack that features an original musical score composed by Roger Bellon to accompany the silent film. There’s not a whole lot to be said about the audio presentation as it’s more of an add-on to a film that to the best of my knowledge was released as a silent film and simply had attempts at accompanying scores added over the years. The musical soundtrack sounds great quality wise and never cuts or falters in any unexpected or unintended ways, but whether it perfectly fits the film is another question that I’ll leave to each viewer to decide. As far as I was able to tell, there is no way to disable the soundtrack, though I suppose you can always mute it should you find it distracting.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Sheik’ features the usual collectible packaging included on each of the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases featuring a slipcase that opens up to feature a larger version of the original theatrical poster for the film, plus photos decorating the interior case (you can view a beauty shot of the artwork at the bottom of the review for a better look inside). The disc itself also features one extra in the way of the new Retrospective Featurette ‘Desert Heat: 100 Years with The Sheik’ (running approximately 12 minutes in length).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
The Silent Film Classic ‘The Sheik’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, Celebrating its 100th Anniversary as part of the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line from Paramount Home Entertainment
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