Monthly Archives: Nov 2019
Rudolph Valentino, the famous cinema actor who just arrived from America, was the centre of an extraordinary scenes at a West End Cinema theatre, where he personally attended the occasion of the screening of one of his films. He was surrounded by a seething crowd, mostly women. The police forced them back and the doors had to be locked after the performance. Valentino rather than face the crowd which remained in the street, had to escape over the roof of the theatre.
In the guise of a dandy Cossack Lieutenant, who becomes an artful, gallant and very lucky bandit, Rudolph Valentino’s shadow yesterday afternoon at the Mark Strand renewed its acquaintance with admiring throngs in a production entitled “The Eagle,” which is based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel “Dubrovsky.” Following the first presentation of the film Mr. Valentino himself took the stage and thanked the audience for its reception of the picture, adding that he felt sure that by it he would regain that popularity he enjoyed a few years ago. While he admitted that his preceding photoplay, “The Sainted Devil,” was a poor picture, he refrained from referring to the picturization of Martin Brown’s play “Cobra,” which he finished before starting work on the present offering, and which has not yet been released. The Mark Strand was packed, the police were kept busy at the theatre entrance holding back the crowd, and an enthusiastic collection of people after the first show pressed around the stage entrance, watching eagerly for the screen star’s appearance on the street. Through the introduction of Catherine of Russia, or a modern conception of that lady, the initial chapters of “The Eagle” are reminiscent of the picturization of “The Czarina,” which in film form was heralded as “Forbidden Paradise.” Although these sequences in the Valentino photoplay are undeniably entertaining, they by no means reach the artistic heights achieved by Ernst Lubitsch and Pola Negri in “Forbidden Paradise.” Mr. Valentino is indeed fortunate in having obtained the services of Vilma Banky from Samuel Goldwyn, for Miss Banky is so lovely to look upon that her beauty makes the hero’s gallantry all the more convincing. In this production, which might suit several male screen celebrities, including the agile Douglas Fairbanks. Mr. Valentino acquits himself with distinction. He appears, to have benefited by Clarence Brown’s direction and to have appreciated that Miss Banky was a valuable asset to his picture. It was an excellent idea also to have Hans Kraely, Mr. Lubitsch’s clever scenarist, handle the script for “The Eagle.” Mr. Valentino first is seen in the graceful costume of a Cossack officer, his astrachan headgear often placed at a most acute angle. Subsequently he rides to romantic fame as the Black Eagle, a bandit, whose chief exploits are bowing to the fair. His lieutenants kidnap Mascha Troekouroff, impersonated by Miss Banky, only to be told by their irate chief that he does not war with women. It happens that Mascha’s cowardly father is kept on tenterhooks by the Black Eagle, who binds and gags a French tutor being sent to the Troekouroff Castle to instruct Mascha, and then impersonates the tutor, coolly reporting to the girl’s parents, who had incidentally offered 5,000 rubies reward for the Black Eagle, dead or alive. One has the satisfaction of seeing the Black Eagle massaging old Kyrilla Troekouroff with amazing energy, and then seeing the hero turn his attention to Mascha in caressing fashion. Kyrilla receives notes from the Black Eagle under his plate, and his mind is always uneasy. He is a cruel old fool; who has a chained bear in his wine cellar, and he looks upon it as a pretty jest when he sends a victim down to get a bottle of the best wine. This happens to the Black Eagle, who kills the “jest” with a bullet. Before he took up the calling of bandit, the then respectable Lieutenant Vladimir Dubrovsky had been told in private audience by the Czarina: “You are the first Russian to see his Czarina weep.” Dubrovsky had been commanded to appear in the royal presence at 6 o’clock, and it is explained that 6 o’clock meant supper and not Siberia. The young lieutenant, always so courageous, had abandoned the Czarina when she was about to mount her favorite horse, because he observed two frightened horses dashing away with a vehicle in which sat an aunt, a Pekinese and the glorious Mascha. This is a satisfying picture in which Mr. Brown introduces some interesting touches. It is well equipped with scenery and the costumes of the players are capably designed. Mascha, at a banquet, adorns herself with a wealth of pearls, and the Czarina, played by Louise Dresser, arrays herself as Commander-in-Chief of the military forces.
Agnes Ayres does not like to have anybody sing in her dressing room. But her chief faith in luck is bound up in a wonderful Columbia Clock which has been in her family for years. It is a marvelous mechanism, being made entirely of wood and although of a great age is still running. Miss Ayres firmly believes that her success depends upon the possession of this clock, and so carefully, does she guard the treasure she will not even allow it to be photographed. Her movie colleague, Rudolph Valentino has declared to friends he has no superstitions. But one might wonder why he waited until 14 March to be married to the delightful Natacha Rambova when he could of done so on the 13th as well. Perhaps the fascinating Mrs. Valentino objects to the fatal number. Who knows might be because his first wedding ceremony took place on 13 May. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. has no faith in crystals or superstitions. Gloria Swanson loves black cats and so tender was her care of the original two pets of the Lasky Studio they sent for all their friends, in-laws, and descendants until 327 cats now live on the lot. This is lucky for the butcher and the cats. Theodore Kostloff treasures a pre-war ten rouble gold piece, now worth $2 million in paper money. Bebe Daniels grandmother has a wonderful collection of dolls and few people know this is a direct result of Bebes belief that good luck follows the purchase of a new doll. Lila Lee is very superstitious about the beginning day of a new film. If she leaves her home in the morning, forgetting something important, she will not turn back herself, but send a messenger after she reaches the studio.
When I first met Valentino I was amazed to find not the romantic hero, but just a boy, quite frank and sincere. Why, he is only a child! At first, I was disillusioned, but in another way I liked him the more. There were two distinct Valentino’s – Rudy the artistand Rudy the man. The one was swashbuckling cavalier who flashed across the screen into the hearts of millions. The other was a simple boy with a childish sensitiveness often mistaken for weakness by the un-discerning and the prejudiced. American men, particularly had no use for him. They looked down on him, criticized him, which hurt him for he was anxious to be liked; he wanted friendship and respect. Had they taken pains to know him, they would have given him both; but he couldn’t talk business, politics, or the stock exchange. He had no mentality for such things. They lay beyond his grasp because he had utterly no interest in them.
Full of color and romance is “Monsieur Beaucaire” which will be screened at Wests on Saturday, with Rudolph Valentino and Bebe Daniels in the leading roles. It is an elaborate screen version of the popular play, which has been adhered to with remarkable fidelity. There is plenty of suspense in the picture, and an exciting combat between Valentino and six opponents. The Court of Louis, XV, forms a brilliant background for the action, and abounds in colorful scenes, depicting the mad, merry life in that famous court. Ordered to marry the Princess Bourboun-Conti, the Duc de Chartres, played by the star reuses. His efforts to resist the Kings guards provide some of the most thrilling moments that have graced the screen. Hugh sets were constructed for the picture, and the costuming and mounting throughout are on a lavish scale.
Dayton patrons of the Colonial Theater ought to feel very proud to know they have been the first in the middle west to see ‘Rudolph Valentino’ newest photoplay, “A Sainted Devil”. Even New York City has not had a chance to see this photoplay, which, by the way, is one of the most interesting this idol of the screen has yet made. This is a South American picture of contrasts the hacienda life of the Argentine contrasted with the smart social set of Buenos Aires, the Paris of the South Americas. This picture has fire and dash with the added charm of Valentino.