Cobra (1925 film)

Cobra is a 1925 American silent drama film directed by Joseph Henabery and starring Rudolph Valentino and Nita Naldi. It is the screen adaptation of the play Cobra written by Martin Brown, which played at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway in 1924.[1]

Still with Rudolph Valentino and Nita Naldi
Directed byJoseph Henabery
Produced byAdolph Zukor
Jesse L. Lasky
Written byAnthony Coldeway
Based onCobra
by Martin Brown
StarringRudolph Valentino
Nita Naldi
Casson Ferguson
Gertrude Olmstead
CinematographyHarry Fischbeck
Dev Jennings (J. Devereaux Jennings)
Edited byJohn H. Bonn
Famous Players-Lasky / Ritz-Carlton Films
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 30, 1925 (1925-11-30)
Running time
70 minutes / 7 reels (6,895 feet)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Cobra has survived, and has been made available to the public on both VHS and DVD by independent film dealers and major movie distributors.


Valentino plays Count Rodrigo Torriani, an Italian noble. A charming libertine, his weakness is women, who mesmerise and fascinate him – hence the "cobras" referred to in the title of the film, based on the myth that cobras mesmerise their prey.

Roridgo accepts an invitation from friend Jack Dorning (Ferguson) to come to New York City to work as an antiques expert. While the job is rewarding, Rodrigo finds the temptation from the women surrounding him, including Dorning's secretary Mary Drake (Olmstead) and wife Elise (Naldi), challenging.

When Jack is away, Elise says to Rodrigo that she is in love with him. The two embrace and arrange to meet at a hotel. However, after meeting in a room, Rodrigo decides that he cannot betray his friend and leaves the hotel. It turns out to be a fortunate decision; the hotel burns to the ground in the middle of the night, killing Elise.

Rodrigo desperately wants a relationship with Mary. However, after Elise's death, he turns Mary's attentions toward Jack and decides to leave New York. The film ends with Rodrigo gazing out at the sea and the Statue of Liberty as he sets sail back to Europe.



The production of Cobra was marred by bickering and soaring production costs. Furthermore, its studio Paramount Pictures, unhappy with the final film and fearing it would flop with audiences and critics, held off releasing it until Valentino (whose popularity had declined somewhat) appeared in a stronger, unequivocally successful picture. Eventually Cobra was released in late 1925, a few weeks after what proved to be Valentino's comeback feature, The Eagle (1925).


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