The Son of the Sheik

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The Son of the Sheik
Directed by George Fitzmaurice
Produced by George Fitzmaurice
John W. Considine, Jr. (uncredited)
Written by Frances Marion (adaptation)
Fred de Gresac (adaptation)
George Marion, Jr. (titles)
Paul Girard Smith (uncredited)
Based on The Sons of the Sheik
by Edith Hull
Starring Rudolph Valentino
Vilma Bánky
Montagu Love
Karl Dane
George Fawcett
Music by Artur Guttmann (1937)
Jack Ward (1969)
Alloy Orchestra (2014)
Cinematography George Barnes
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • September 3, 1926 (1926-09-03)
Running time
68 min.
Country United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles
Box office over $2 million[1]

The Son of the Sheik is a 1926 American silent adventure/drama film directed by George Fitzmaurice and starring Rudolph Valentino and Vilma Bánky. The film is based on the 1925 romance novel of the same name by Edith Maude Hull, and is a sequel to the 1921 hit film The Sheik, which also stars Rudolph Valentino.[2] The Son of the Sheik is Valentino's final film and was released nearly two weeks after his death from peritonitis at the age of 31.

In 2003, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[3]



At the time of the film's release, Rudolph Valentino was attempting to make a comeback in films.[4] He rose to international stardom after the release of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Sheik in 1921, both of which were box office hits and solidified his image as "the Great Lover".[5] By 1924, however, Valentino's popularity had begun to wane after he appeared in two box office failures, Monsieur Beaucaire and A Sainted Devil, both of which featured him in roles that were a departure from his "Great Lover" image. He also squabbled over money with Famous Players-Lasky, the studio he was signed to, which eventually led to him walking out on his contract. Famous Players-Lasky eventually released Valentino from his contract and he signed with United Artists in 1925.[4] In an effort to capitalize on the success that Valentino had achieved with The Sheik, United Artists' president Joseph M. Schenck bought the rights to Edith Maude Hull's novel Son of the Sheik and cast Valentino in the dual role of father and son.[2][6]

The novel was adapted for the screen by Frances Marion and Fred de Gresac.[2] The film was shot on location in California and in the Yuma Desert in Arizona.[7]


An advanced screening of The Son of the Sheik was shown at the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles on July 9, 1926.[8] Valentino then embarked on a nationwide tour to promote the film. On August 15, he collapsed in his New York City hotel room and was rushed to the hospital. Doctors discovered he had a perforated ulcer which required emergency surgery. After the surgery, Valentino developed peritonitis and died on August 23, 1926.[9]

Box office[edit]

The Son of the Sheik was released nationwide on September 5, 1926, nearly two weeks after Valentino's death. The film was an instant hit with audiences and grossed $1,000,000 within the first year of its release. Eventually it more than doubled that.[10]


Some critics have heralded Valentino's performance in the film as one of the best of his career.[11]

Home media[edit]

Image Entertainment released The Son of the Sheik along with The Sheik on DVD in 2002.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-23004-3.  p56
  2. ^ a b c MacCaffrey, Donald W.; Jacobs, Christopher P., eds. (1999). Guide To the Silent Years Of American Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 247. ISBN 0-313-30345-2. 
  3. ^ The Son of the Sheik at database
  4. ^ a b DiMare, Philip C. (2011). Movies in American History: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1. 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 830. ISBN 1-598-84296-X. 
  5. ^ Sandburg, Carl (2000). Bernstein, Arnie, ed. "The Movies Are": Carl Sandburg's Film Reviews and Essays, 1920-1928. Ebert, Roger. Lake Claremont Press. p. 309. ISBN 1-893-12105-4. 
  6. ^ Block, Alex Ben; Wilson, Lucy Autrey (2010). George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success. HarperCollins. p. 74. ISBN 0-061-96345-3. 
  7. ^ Leider, Emily W. (2004). Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino. Macmillan. p. 369. ISBN 0-571-21114-3. 
  8. ^ Leider 2004 p.370
  9. ^ Eagan, Daniel (2010). America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 117. ISBN 0-826-42977-7. 
  10. ^ Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists, Volume 1, 1919–1950: The Company Built by the Stars. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 56. ISBN 0-299-23003-1. 
  11. ^ Sherrow, Victoria, ed. (2006). Encyclopedia Of Hair: A Cultural History. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 383. ISBN 0-313-33145-6. 
  12. ^ "2002 Image Entertainment DVD edition". Retrieved May 16, 2013. 

External links[edit]