Thursday, 19 May 2011

Michelle Phillips & Penelope Milford in "Valentino" [1977 UK/USA]

Ken Russell's 1977 biopic of dancer/silent film star Rudolph Valentino is a mixed bag, artistically speaking - there are flashes of brilliance, while some scenes are rather pedestrian. However, the costumes and art direction contribute heavily towards making this a sumptuous film.

Rudolph Nureyev, playing the eponymous part was perhaps underutilised for the fine dancer that he was - the choreography should have been even more spectacular (baring one number at the beginning of the film which amply displays his virtuosity in Tango). His Italian accent sounded ridiculous - Nureyev is after all Russian. A lot of effort had gone into set design, which is great to look at, but also a bit overdone - which may be because a lot of these were recreations of the Hollywood sets used in the Valentino's original films. I haven't seen any of Rudolph Valentino's films, and therefore unable to verify.

Set in 1920's New York, it follows parts of his career, but focusing mainly on his reputation as the Latin Lover. While 'the Sheik' had enjoyed huge popularity among his female audience, some men thought he was plain gay. He goes out of his way to prove his machismo, which apparently also contributes to his early death - he was only thirty one.

Anyway, the film didn't do much for me, but it has a couple of copious nude scenes involving Michelle Phillips who plays his third wife Natasha, and Penelope Milford who plays Lorna, one of Valentino's co-stars - which is the only reason for this post. The compilation below was cut from my DVD.

Scene Guide:
  • Natasha shows Valentino her version of the dance of the seven veils as she beckons him into a tent for some silly conversation. They get married after this. Michelle Philips as Natasha sure is a pretty little thing.
  • Valentino follows his wife Natasha's instruction to 'screw the bitch' - his co-star Lorna as part of a PR exercise, which will prove to the world his virility. This is a crazy scene where Penelope 'Bush' Milford throws caution to the wind and gives us an unrestricted view of all her charms.
  • There is only brief nudity in this scene where Natasha apparently has had it with Valentino's 'god-like' status, but I've included some additional footage prior to this so that it all makes sense.


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