The Married Virgin
is one of the earliest films in which Rudolph Valentino appeared in a featured role prior to The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
and The Sheik
, which established him in 1921 as the silent era's great lover and screen icon.
Valentino, who placed a trade advertisement describing his role as "a new style heavy," plays Count Roberto di Fraccini. In fact, Valentino's striking appearance and the strength of his performance turns on its head this society melodrama otherwise typical of the period by making the villain by far its most interesting character. The Count is a fortune hunter having an affair with Ethel Spencer McMillan (Kathleen Kirkham), wife of wealthy older businessman Fiske McMillan (Edward Jobson). After the illicit couple unsuccessfully plots to blackmail McMillan for a large sum of money, the Count tells his lover's daughter, Mary (Vera Sisson), that in return for her hand in marriage (and her dowry), he will save her father from a life in prison.
An excerpt from Eyes Of Youth (1919) gives additional insight into Valentino's talent. This film features Valentino as Clarence Morgan, "a cabaret parasite" and professional co-respondent in the part which made an impression of June Mathis, principal screenwriter for The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Mathis saw to it that Valentino was cast for that film in the part of Julio, his breakthrough performance.
Also included on this DVD is the original Pathe newsreel showing Valentino's body lying in state at Campbell's funeral parlor in New York City, which documents the estimated 150,000 people who tried to crowd the mortuary to view the body. Rudolph Valentino's untimely death at age 31 had made him immortal.
One of the earliest performances from the Greatest Lover in Silent Cinema, Rudolph Valentino is a swindler who is trying to sneak some money away from the old man of the wealthy woman with whom he is having an affair.
The silent screen's greatest lover in an early performance. "The Married Virgin" is one of the first films featuring Rudolph Valentino, who would soon star in "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" and "The Sheik," establishing him as a silent era screen icon in 1921. Valentino plays Count Roberto di Fraccini, a fortune hunter having an affair with the wife of a wealthy older businessman while trying to finagle a large sum of money from the family by any means necessary. Valentino's striking appearance and the strength of his performance foreshadow the superstar he would soon become.