RUDOLPH VALENTINO’S new offering, “The Eagle,” is the film feature at the Mark Strand this week. Mr. Valentino intends to be present at the opening performance at 2 o’clock today. Vilma Banky, Samuel Goldwyn’s discovery, who made her screen bow in George Fitzmaurice’s picture “The Dark Angel,” figures in the feminine lead figures in the femine lead. Louise Dresser, who gave a remarkable film performance in “The Goose Woman” portrays the role of the Czarina. The photoplay is based on “:Dubrovsky” a Russian novel by Alexander Pushkin. I was adapted by Hans Kraely who has written a good deal for Ernest Lubitsch. The picture is described as a romantic comedy drama, the action taking place in Russia before the revolution. Mr. Valentino appears in three different guises, first as a Cossack officer, the Eagle, and a French tutor
Monthly Archives: March 2015
Welcome to Rudolph Valentino Blogathon hosted by Timeless Hollywood. My contribution is the Mineralava Tour of 1923.
So the year was 1923, and one of the biggest movie stars of the day, Rudolph Valentino was frustrated with the way he was treated by his studio Famous Players-Laskey. Rudy felt that the money he was making for his studio justified him receiving a bigger salary than what he was currently getting. Rudolph Valentino solicited advice from his soon to be wife on what to do about his mounting frustration. So taking her advice he walked out on his contract. Famous Players-Laskey suspended him from making movies and they also, won an injunction which forbad him from making movies with any other studio. Rudolph Valentino had a massive spending problem he spent money like it was going out of style and combined with his massive legal bills from fighting his divorce with his former wife June Acker. Without money coming in Rudolph Valentino and his soon to be wife had to come up with a way of making money to pay for their expenses. George Ullman a public relations man representing Mineralava Beauty Company found a loophole in the contract that did not exclude product endorsements. So the idea was an exhibition dance tour of the country. Rudolph Valentino and his soon to be second wife Natacha Rambova would both embark on an arduous exhibition tour that would take them through more than 88 cities within the United States and Canada. The exhibition tour began in Feb 1923 and for more than 17 weeks they danced the tango together; they judged beauty contests and best dancer contests all of which was sponsored by Natacha’s step-father Richard Hudnut.
So, the Valentino’s started the tour off in New York City’s Century Theater at a benefit for the Actors Fund hosted by Will Rogers. Let’s look at what occurred during the Mineralava Exhibition Dance Tour. The couple traveled to each city in style in a luxuriously appointed private Pullman car with its own staff. They were mobbed in every city on the tour, numerous curtain calls and demands for encore performances. After each stop, Valentino would talk to the audience about his wife’s beautiful complexion and explained that Mineralava Beauty Clay developed and maintained her complexion. The Exhibition Tour gave the couple the publicity they felt was rightly theirs combined with a big weekly salary including entrance profits that all equals to they were making bank. Local newspapers were full of Rudolph Valentino beauty ads showing Rudy claiming to use Hudnuts Mineralava Beauty Clay on his face, performance reviews and a re-showing of his old movies. On 14 Mar 1923, during one of their nearby tour stops (Chicago) the couple got married in Crown Point, Indiana. The Mineralava Exhibition Dance Tour ended in June 1923. However, there was another angle to this tour and that was Mineralava Company sponsoring a beauty contest which would generate free publicity for the company. The Beauty Contest had Valentino as the “featured” judge. In addition, to performing a dance number, and judging dance contests he judge a local beauty contest and the winner would move on to become a semi-finalist. On 22 Nov 1923, all of the local beauty contest semi-finalists went to New York City for the finals. During their time in the city they were housed on an entire floor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. On 23 Nov 1923, all semi-finalists were taken in a fleet of taxi-cabs to Fifth Avenue where they officially met by 3 marching bands and the acting mayor of New York City. Then they all walked to Madison Square Garden. Rudolph Valentino was contracted to appear and with his panel of judges would decide who the winner would be. The end result was a short film made by David O. Selznick called “Rudolph Valentino and his 88 American Beauties”. The reason for this short film was another way for the studio to make even more money from the publicity generated from the tour plus Rudy had not made a movie in quite sometime. The winner of the beauty contest was Norma Niblock of Toronto. The final shots of the short film showed Rudolph Valentino surrounded by the winners. This film still exists today.
i hope you enjoy reading this article. Again thank you Timeless Hollywood.
Are American men going to have to go through THAT again? The preoccupation of the whole feminine population with another Great Lover – another Valentino comes to the screen, to hypnotize every woman in the land? “Valentino” the film storhy of the great movie star of the 1920’s is scheduled to open this coming Thursday. A screen newcomer Anthony Dexter, will play the part of the latin lover. Advance reports from those who have seen the picture say that Dexters resemblance to Valentino is uncanny, and photographs of Valentino at the height of his success and in the type of clothes that Dexter wears in the film bear this out. If nature has been assisted by art in heightening this resemblance, the results are striking enough to be justified. Valentino was a phenomenon in the motion picture industry and his like has not been seen since on the screen or anywhere else in the entertainment field. We’ve had plenty of idols since Valentino’s day, and probably Frank Sinatra has come closest to emulating Valentino in popularity. But our latter-day favorites have been preponderantly bobby-sox idols, and Valentino while he appealed to this age group flappers in the 1920’s was equally popular with women of all ages. The man who personified romantic love in his own era died at 31. He would have been 56 next month, if he had lived. Its high time, with the first Valentino’s memory, though fading, still capable of producting respectful awe, that a second Valentino in all his radiant youth returns tothe screen to give us a brush-up course in what constitutes perfect love. The two Valentino’s the old and the new, have some things in common, besides their looks. They both had extraordinary long names, beforethey changed them for the movies. Dexter comes from a long line of clergymen, and is the son of a Lutheron pastor, a circumstance that made his career as athe tango-dancing Valentino none too easy. He never learned to dance at all, before he got this role, not because his father objected but because he thought his parishoners might. Dexter is an athlete, and a football player, he found that the tricky footword and perfect coordination of a football player were very helpful in learning the exotic South American dances that Valentino publicized. Dexter had planned on a teaching career, although always interested in the thater. Valentino had intended to become an agricultural expert and even took a degree as a scientific farmer, before coming to this country. Both actors were recommended for films by a woman. Dexter won his role when Katharine Cornell, with whose company of “the Barretts of Wimpole Street” he had been touring, suggested his name to producer Edward Small, who had been looking for the right man to play the Valentino role for more than 10 years. Since 1938, when he first got the idea of making a picture about Valentino, Small had consideredd thousands
of aspirants for the job. The search ended when he tested Dexter. Valentinos real start in his career came when June Mathis, famous Hollywood scenarist of the period, chose him for a role in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” one of his best pictures. His popularity was instant. He went on to do “Blood and Sand” and “The Sheik” and the “Son of the Sheik” his last picture. The Valentino films have never been really forgotten. From time to time, one or the other of them is revived somewhere, and last year, when “The Golden Twenties” a March of Time Production, was presented by RKO one of the sequences showed Valentino and his leading lady Vilma Banky, in a scene from “The Son of the Sheik”. Even by present-day standards, these films show the star of a quarter of a century ago to have been dashing, handsome and talented. Dexter who was not suppose to see any of the orginal films while working on “Valentino” nevertheless managed to catch two of them, “The Four Horsemen” and The Sheik. Dexter was impressed, “Valentino’s technique” he says now, was 20 years ahead of his time. He consistently underplayed, but you are always conscious of a terrific force held back, and in perfect control. there was something pantherlike about him”. He hopes that he has projected some of the qualities he admired in Valentino in his own motion picture role.
June Mathis who adapted “The Four Horsemen” for the screen, was formerly a well-known ingenue with many popular comedies and musical plays on Broadway. Before that time she was a popular actress in the stock companies of the East. She joined the scenario forces of the Metro Company three years ago and at once achieved great success in her work. When “The Four Horsemen” was produced, many marveled that this had been adapted by the peppery little ingenue. “The Four Horsemen” repeated one of her friends, “Why what do you know about horses? she was asked. “You forget,” Miss Mathis replied, “that I had long experience with stock companies”..
During this evenings limited run of the “Son of Sheik Premiere” at the Million Dollar Theater, Los Angeles a large vase falls on the head of the star of the film.