Valentino Filmography ~ “The Young Rajah”

“Perhaps my most ambitious film in terms of blatant proselytizing ~ in a good way, of course! “The Young Rajah” was designed, by June Mathis, to open many a door. The plot was hoary, not too slick, yet the message was right on the mark in the sense that the screenplay normalized what some of you still see as exotic, or too far-fetched. Amos was a dreamer, yes ~ a seer, a gifted man in terms of being able to manifest with ease. All these are truths and really the norm, rather than exception. So I was modeling spiritual practice here though the story a bit goofy, at least from the viewpoint of critics and some movie-goers. But June had the last word, creative license, and prevail she did!

The script itself was a bit of a potboiler, some aspects of it inane and I did not like the film at that time, thinking it lacking, but now I find it sublime, uniting what’s diverse, elements from everywhere, cultures and societies. Wanda (co-star, Wanda Hawley) was not very accessible, rather perfunctory in her affectation but we were adequate on screen, believable as a couple. And, there were individual moments that sparkled ~ like all the gems in ‘La Cave d’Ali Baba.’  My tear, the cheers, a young man’s fancies. An interesting picturization this film, and in certain scenes really effective, with memorable images searing the imagination. June’s quote in one of the intertitles is notable too so I leave you with that thought. Also, abbracci a tutti!” (Hugs to everyone!) ~ Rudolph Valentino

“Men should be judged not by the tint of their skin

The gods they serve, the vintage that they drink

Nor by the way they fight, or love, or sin

But rather by the quality of thought they think.”

(Intertitle from The Young Rajah, Paramount, 1922.)

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