Director: Ken Russell
Year Released: 1977
During the funeral service for silent movie star Rudolph Valentino (Rudolf Nureyev), several of the people in his life, including Alla Nazimova (Leslie Caron) and Natasha Rambova (Michelle Phillips), as well as members of the media (Seymour Cassel, John Ratzenberger) show up to make a total scene and remember his life, from his days as a waiter to an icon. Being a Ken Russell movie, one can expect the typical overboard flourishes - including a preference for mass hysteria and bad acting over nuance - but the casting of Nureyev is what makes it one-of-a-kind: the genius-level Russian dancer may not have been the most natural actor, but he adds warmth and charm to the role. The movie itself goes after the Press (and Hollywood in general) for their belittling of Valentino and mocking his "manhood," suggesting that their punches to the gut took him out in his early 30's. It's an exhausting movie, but it provides ample chances for its star to show off his dancing prowess ... which is better than his boxing skills.