We just received two books by Rudolph Valentino. One shows the practical man, while the other is the product of an aesthetic mood. The titles are “How You Can Keep Fit” and “Daydreams”. The fit book is straightaway prose and its character maybe judged by the following chapter headings: The Foundation of Strength Is a Good Back, You are Judged By Your Chest and Your Shoulders and Let Your Abdomen Have the Strength of Iron Bands”. But Mr. Valentino does not derive from Sparta alone. He can turn quite readily from deep breathing to soft sighing. Even though he chins himself 50 times a morning in front of an open window, languor still creeps in his life. It is “Daydreams” that we find “Three Generations of Kisses” “Morphia” and “The Philosophy of a Pessimist”. Apparently, a good circulation is not enough to keep a man from gloomy thoughts. Many a melting heart beats behind an abdomen of iron. A man may touch his toes 100 times and yet find that he cannot put a finger upon the intangible. If Valentino wins a permanent place in our literature, he is going to cause all sorts of trouble for the commentators of succeeding generations. Two schools of criticism will rise out the conflict. One will content that Valentino is the literary heir of Shelly, while the other will maintain that he has picked up the torch of Walter Camp. And both schools will be right. To us the poetic Valentino is more appealing than the stern ascetic who writes: “The truth is that in order to keep the human body strong, flexible and in tip-top shape one simply must keep up enough physical activity to insure a maximum of condition. Just as soon as one becomes lazy or careless, he begins to slip back. There is no reason why one should slip back. There is no reason indeed, but genius is neither logical nor reasonable. Pagan man knew is neither logical nor reasonable. Pagan man knew that inconsistency was an attribute of the gods and demigods. Great Jupiter had a good back and shoulders and chest above reproach, but he did break training upon occasion. And so, it is with Rudolph Valentino. He has been careless, at the very least, or he could hardly have penned the bitter lament which occurs in the opening stanzas of “Cremation”: “Just a packet of letters tied with a bit of blue; Just a packet of letters, that once were sent by you. To one who proved unworthy of the love inscribed within the tiny packet of letters, a witness of my sin”. Consider still another contrast between Valentino the prophet of Puritanism and Valentino the Bacchic of the groves. We quote first from “How to Keep Fit” “When working in pictures in California, I make it my business to be in bed by 1030, if not sooner. Ten thirty is the extreme limit. To stay up any later than that is dissipation in its most exaggerated form. Only a few big yearly events ever tempt me to ignore this retiring hour of 1030; at least when working in pictures. The truth is that I could not keep up with the exacting demands of my work otherwise. In California, I always arise at 6 o’clock and then put in about 45 minutes in my gymnasium at boxing, wrestling, and throwing the medicine ball. After such a workout I have a shower. The task of reconciling these apparent contradictions is beyond us. We give up and leave the problem, “Rudolph Valentino May or Myth” to the ages. For that is where it belongs
Filmed in 1926, “Son of the Sheik” still has its entertainment value as long as it is viewed in its proper light and movie setting. Patrons of the cinema where this picture is being shown, will think it very funny. Remember Valentino would not have given a similar performance today. He is dead and unable to protest against a revival of a 13 year old film. The acting profession has changed a great deal since the silent era. Judge this film for yourself movie goers and the characterization as equal to that of Charles Chaplain and Harold Lloyd. That is being unkind to a great artist.
Initially released 6 Sep 1920 and re-released again in 1922, “Once to Every Woman” is about a selfish spoiled young woman named Aurora Meredith. Aurora has become well-known locally in her small village as having a wonderful singing voice. One day, a wealthy woman has decided to take her under the wing and sponsor her continued music studies in Italy. After three years, on the continent, her sponsor dies, and she is without funds to complete her final year. Desperate Aurora accepts financial aid from an unknown young Italian man named Juliantimo. A bargain was struck and in lieu of payment she will marry him. When Aurora starts to gain fame and recognition, she starts to avoid Juliantimo. Soon with an offer to appear in New York City she immediate accepts and leaves to avoid the young Italian. During a singing appearance she meets the Duke of Devonshire who is besotted with her. The duke asks for her hand in marriage and arranges for her to have a leading role in an upcoming opera.
The night of the opera’s premiere Juliantimo appears in her dressing room and demands she uphold her bargain and marry him. Aurora refuses and orders him out. A discouraged Juliantimo returns to his sea and the Duke of Devonshire along with his fried Phineas Schudder to watch her performance. Towards the end of the performance Aurora notices from the stage Juliantimo has a gun and he fires a shot at her and misses. Turning the gun, he commits suicide. Aurora traumatized by all that has happened and discovers she has lost her voice. Doctors tell her she will never sing again and once her so-called friends find out leave her utterly alone. Aurora realizes how false and fleeting fame is and realizes without love life has no meaning. In the meantime, Phineas has become famous as a poet and tries to see her to no avail. Aurora returns to hearth and family and realizes there is no place but home for her. Aurora’s mother has become ill and begs for her to sing a song and in her sorrow doesn’t realize she has her voice back. But it doesn’t matter she remains in her local village and realizes that giving back is the greatest happiness of all. She starts teaching the village children and reunites with Phineas who gives her all the love she has been looking for.
Directed by Allen Holuber, Jewel Productions, released by Universal Pictures. The lead role was Dorothy Phillips, Rudolph Valentino, Margaret Mann, William Ellingford, Elinor Field. This is a lost film.
In 1919, Pickford-Fairbanks Studios was first introduced to Hollywood. This site was eventually renamed United Artists Studios however, there had been an almost decade long feud between Mary Pickford and Samuel Goldwyn. This studio still exists today and is under a new name “The Lot”.
Rudolph Valentino never worked at this studio but he was friends with the owners.