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Rudolph Valentino - on the Anniversary of his death

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pktrekgirl
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Rudolph Valentino - on the Anniversary of his death

Postby pktrekgirl » August 23rd, 2007, 11:13 am

Well, as any obsessive Valentino fan will tell you, August 23 is a huge day on the Valentino calendar every year. As the anniversary of Rudy's death on August 23, 1926, it is probably even more closely observed than is his birthday, which is at the beginning of May.

For the past 81 years, on August 23 there has been, without break, a memorial service held at the Hollywood Forever cemetery in L.A.. This service even starts at the exact time of his death (although he died in New York and the service is on L.A. time - small nit there :P ), and the event is no doubt the longest running and most consistently done memorial service in all of classic film. Alot of drama (too much drama) has surrounded it at times, but it is still nice that this is an ongoing thing.

As many of you know, Valentino's resting place is very modest - it was actually 'borrowed' from his longtime mentor, screenwriter June Mathis, at the time of his death because there was no place else to bury him. Later, after June's death (also at a very young age), her husband sold the crypt where Rudy is entombed to the Valentino family. So now Valentino lies next to June Mathis...which is actually quite fitting.

There is lots to write about the death of Valentino...and it's aftermath. But most of you probably know the basics: fan suicides, riots outside the funeral parlor in New York as the crowds tried to get in to see him, a funeral in New York followed by a train-ride across the country (also heavily 'attended' by fans across the country), and another giant funeral in L.A. This was accompanied by all sorts of drama related to the women in Valentino's life - particularly Pola Negri, who is still accused by many (with good reason, in my view) of having attempted to turn Valentino's funeral into a publicity piece for herself.

However, past all of the chaos surrounding his death....what is really important to remember is that at the end of the day, he was just a kindhearted and generous man who was known for being good to his friends...and for being ever decent and polite.

No one knows how Valentino would have fared in the sound era. Only two recordings of his voice exist, and both are of him singing...so it is difficult to tell. However, Valentino always understood that fame was fleeting, and that even though he was perhaps the first, he would someday not be the top male sex symbol in Hollywood. Unfortunately, we never got a chance to see what he might have developed into over the years.

But I like to think it would have been something good. :)

Some of his films are now considered lost (the most important one being A SAINTED DEVIL (1924) )...but after the discovery of BEYOND THE ROCKS a few years back, there is renewed hope that maybe we haven't seen the last of Rudy.

However, in the meantime, we have plenty to enjoy: THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, THE SHEIK, CAMILLE, THE CONQUERING POWER, BLOOD AND SAND, COBRA, THE EAGLE, THE SON OF THE SHEIK and others have survived intact and are still around for us to enjoy.

Anyway, just wanted to say a few words today as I'm a huge Valentino fan and couldn't let the day go unobserved.

I invite others to post any thoughts they have about Valentino or his films!
My wife said she'd help young people, ... That's what I'd do. Help young people, then buy a big motor home and get out of town.
~ Gary Cooper

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Postby MissGoddess » August 23rd, 2007, 11:34 am

>>>However, past all of the chaos surrounding his death....what is really important to remember is that at the end of the day, he was just a kindhearted and generous man who was known for being good to his friends...and for being ever decent and polite. <<<<

That's what we don't hear enough of, especially about so-called "sex symbols", only the scandal! Have you heard about a new biography coming out? It sounds pretty salacious. I'm glad you acknowledged him, I look forward to discovering more of his movies in the future. My favorite so far is still Son of The Sheik.

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Postby pktrekgirl » August 23rd, 2007, 1:21 pm

^ Well, if it's the book I am thinking of, it is actually a reprint of a very old, out of print book with a new 'foreward' by some self-proclaimed 'leader' of the Valentino community looking to cash in. :roll:

Long story short, I won't be buying it as I can't stand this guy, who is the perpetrator of pretty much all current-day 'drama' in Valentino fandom. He long ago labeled me a 'bigot', simply because I refused to acknowledge that Valentino was clearly gay, and for my belief that all of these authors who run around trying to prove EVERYONE gay seem to be just a bit biased in their 'research'.

Don't get me started. :P

Besides, I'm not interested in reprints. I'm all about first editions when it comes to Rudy. :D And the original first edition of that book CAN be had - it just requires patience. It is not considered to be an authoritative source on Rudy - it is down the list a few notches in that regard. So I am willing to wait for a first edition.

However, in other, more positive news, Flicker Alley is offering several Valentino films as a boxed set. :) I have all of the films, of course....but I'm really pleased that Valentino is getting a set of his own! I believe a write-up is currently on the TCM Home Page, if you are interested. :)

It looks promising!
My wife said she'd help young people, ... That's what I'd do. Help young people, then buy a big motor home and get out of town.

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Postby sandykaypax » August 23rd, 2007, 1:38 pm

pktrekgirl, is there one particular book about Valentino that you would recommend?

I don't really know much about Valentino apart from the Latin Lover image. The only film of his that I've seen is Beyond the Rocks.

What is it about Valentino that attracts you?

Sandy K

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Postby MissGoddess » August 23rd, 2007, 2:50 pm

You're kidding? I saw something about it on Amazon and I thought it read like it was a "new" book. I knew I smelled trash. I wonder if he's the same clown who has one coming out on Gable which I hope sells not one copy, since it's filled with innacurracies and scurilous imputations.

I will read up on the box set, glad to hear about it.

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Postby pktrekgirl » August 23rd, 2007, 5:12 pm

Sandykaypax: Well, the easiest and most economical book to get ahold of is called DARK LOVER by Emily Leider. You can get it in paperback on Amazon - it only came out about 3 years ago or so, and it is very good. Well researched and not overly sentimental or biased in any way. She tries to be fair and present several different views on some of the more controversial aspects of Valentino's life and death. This book is now considered to be an authoritative source on Valentino, and I'd recommend it highly.

As for Valentino's allure...I'm not sure what it is, exactly. But I wouldn't say BEYOND THE ROCKS is the best example of why he is so...erm...mesmerizing. I think Valentino appeals to some very, almost animal, instincts. He does this in a number of ways, but for me, it is largely in the way he moves. Like a cat. :P And his eyes...can't get enough of those. But it's what you DON'T see in them that is most intriguing - sort of an air of exotic mystery.


I think the best films to watch if you want to see the Valentino animal allure in action would be THE SHEIK, THE SON OF THE SHEIK and THE EAGLE. Also the tango scene in THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, which is about 11 minutes into the film. This single scene was the *exact moment* in which Valentino became a star...so that gives you an idea of it's impact. THE CONQUERING POWER and COBRA are also good films for this...but I'd go with those other ones first.

:)
My wife said she'd help young people, ... That's what I'd do. Help young people, then buy a big motor home and get out of town.

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Postby rudyfan » December 18th, 2007, 8:30 pm

MissGoddess wrote:You're kidding? I saw something about it on Amazon and I thought it read like it was a "new" book. I knew I smelled trash. I wonder if he's the same clown who has one coming out on Gable which I hope sells not one copy, since it's filled with innacurracies and scurilous imputations.

I will read up on the box set, glad to hear about it.


I know this is well after the fact, and this is my first posting.

I think the book you are referring to is a US published version of a piece of bilgewater entitled "Valentino: A Dream of Desire" by David Bret. It's, as far as I have been able to determine, it's almost complete fabrication. bret claimed to have based the book on Valentino's hand written diary, but offers no sources and did not answer an inquiry from me to see a sample page to judge the handwriting and authenticate.

How Bret continues to get published is beyond me, he's maligned many a dead celebrity far worse than Kenneth Anger ever did in Hollywood Babylon.
Donna Hill
http://www.rudolph-valentino.com or
http://www.nitanaldi.com

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Postby MissGoddess » December 19th, 2007, 9:40 am

Hi Donna and welcome to the SSO! I have to agree about you because everything I've heard connected with David Bret's books just makes me feel dirty thinking about it! He's what I call a scavenger.

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Rudolph Valentino

Postby EleanorPowellFan » January 18th, 2008, 8:59 pm

I'd have to say next to Robert Taylor, Rudolph is as handsome as ever. And to think that american men were jealous of him!!!!!!

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Rudolph Valentino

Postby bettyjoan » May 13th, 2008, 7:05 pm

I'm just signing on to this topic and am fairly new to SSO. - I think you all are wonderful and so thought provoking.

Dark Lover is indeed a fine book. I own it and often reread parts of it. Besides Rudy, the portrait in depth of Natasha Rambova/Winifred Hudnut is about the best I've seen. You can well understand why Rudy was devoted to her and devastated by her abandoning the marriage. - Adela Rogers St. John knew them both and said she was with V the night his gastric distress kicked in. (She said he had come to visit her in their mutual hotel and that he had over-dosed on wine and shellfish. - Drowning his sorrows.) He proportedly told St. John that he would never accept a seperation or a divorce from his wife. He declared that he was firmly Old Italian in his love ethics ( One life, one wife!) and was prepared to pursue Natasha to the ends of the world.

Years later Natasha/Winifred married another man that everyone agreed was Rudy's physical twin. - What is attractive about him? His wonderful dark, Mediterranean, macho, I'ma- gonna -knock -you -down -and -booof you! act. - The caveman thing. Of course, Valentino was outspoken that he believed this is a Male Myth that he was forced to mimick. He personally was rather an esoteric, home-loving paisan.

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Postby catherine » May 13th, 2008, 8:37 pm

Some books are worth getting just for the pictures such as the black & white version of this one of Valentino's memorial which I found in The Magic of Rudolph Valentino by Norman Mackenzie (1974)- Haven't read it yet so I can't recommend it.

http://www.publicartinla.com/sculptures ... rnham.html


'ASPIRATION' was unveiled May 6, 1930, nearly four years after Valentino's death on what would have been his 35th birthday. The sculptor Roger Noble Burnham said at the unveiling:

"I am presenting Rudolph Valentino as he was--a torch lighting the world with the fire of romance, a figure lifting himself from the everyday world in the spirit of aspiration. I have made the statue in flaming bronze, as symbolical of his life and works."

Sadly, it was vandalized and all that remains is it's plinth.

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Rudolph Valentino

Postby bettyjoan » May 14th, 2008, 11:07 am

There is something so ghoulish about obsessive fans. - Grave desecration is a very personal, eery kind of vandalism. - RV was big into spiritualism and the occult (not black arts). He believed he would live a fateful life and die young. The theatrics that occasioned his tragic death are legend. And interestingly, his spirit is supposed to be one of the few real ghosts haunting parts of California. - They say that a 'sense of unfinished business' won't let some souls rest. Who knows?

I'm sure the statue is proudly displayed in some wealthy black market art dealer's castle.

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Postby catherine » May 14th, 2008, 1:49 pm

Yes, I wonder where that beautiful statue is! There was a by-law that no likenesses of the deceased were allowed as memorial statuary, apparently for good reason! The psychology of the obsessed fan is interesting, probably similiar to cults but let's hope Rudy made it across to the big dance hall beyond!


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