Sheik Movie Essay

1199 Words5 Pages
The phenomenon of female spectatorship is usually characterized by hysteria and excessive emotional investment. Rudolph Valentino was one of the first cinema figures to invite excessive female fandom in screen and off screen. In fact, when Valentino died in 1926, the newspapers covered “throngs” of female fans who stopped traffic in order to catch a last glimpse of “Film’s greatest lover”. Valentino was an Italian immigrant, and worked as a dancer before becoming the most idolized actor in Hollywood by women. The exotic sexuality that was seen in his movies seemed to also exist in his real life. When analyzing the spectator’s gaze in the film Sheik, we tend to focus more on the female spectators as the film potrays Valentino to be a subject…show more content…
To the women, Valentino was regarded as a star even in public. Women desired Valentino as a person, mainly because they liked his character in the movies. Valentino always played a romantic, intriguing yet manly character. The female spectatorship was extended to Valentino’s life, and this was seen in huge cult following by women. The ambivalences of female desire towards Valentino were not only seen in the film. According to Hansen, Valentino is a victim of Hollywood’s commercialization of desire and empowering means of expression of female desire, which women were not able to do so traditionally. In person, Valentino seemed to offer the promise of sexual and ethnic- racial mobility, which appealed to most of his fans. The anxiety of such mobility gave his female fans hope fanned by Hollywood portrayal of Valentino. However they realized that within the existing social and sexual structures, they could not achieve such. Studlar’s views on Valentino are borrowed from Hansen. However, Studlar explains female spectatorship using the “paradigm of transformative masculinity”. Studlar explains that Valentino’s character was created during a period of extremely self conscious negotiation between traditions and modernity, femininity and masculinity (Studlar, pg. 4-5). Valentino’s dual positioning in relation to the commercial film system and realm of the desiring fans led to the

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