Posts Tagged With: Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson rivals Rudolph Valentino as a “Best Seller” when it comes to film popularity.
The papers leaped at the story which he gallant Rudy pulled as the cause of the separation which, by the time this appears, will have developed into a Parisian divorce decree. Natacha, he says, was not a home body. She didn’t want children. She would not cook the spaghetti. She was fond of dogs. She wanted to work. His reflected glory did not satisfy her. She wanted her own career. Bunk! Bunk served with piffle sauce. Publicity for Rudy. But old stuff. Do you remember the way Gloria Swanson set the dear old souls of Paris wild over her when she said she wanted five or six children? I believe she meant it, because I have seen her with her two children. She adores them. Her own baby, little Gloria, was not enough, and so she adopted a boy and named him Joseph Swanson, after her father. But I have never heard of Mr. Valentino hanging around an orphan asylum, and I cannot quite visualize the picture of the sheik walking the floor of a cold California night crooning the junior to sleep. It was not, in my opinion, playing the game to midst an effort for sympathy and publicity at the expense of the woman, even if it were true – which I doubt. And we must hand Mrs. Valentino credit for her attitude in the whole matter. She would not live with him and his friends, told him so, got out, leaving her belongings to him, and went on her way, avoiding any opportunity to publicise her- self at his expense. Divorce is no joking matter, but I cannot hold back a little snicker at Rudy crying on the shoulders of the public and yearning for kiddies. THERE is nothing vindictive or downright mean about Valentino. He’s a pleasant chap and a fine actor, whose delusion is that he is also a business man. Natacha has been criticized for managing his business affairs. But we have got to admit that in this case her management was much more commendable than his. To add to her troubles, the F. B. O. Company, for whom Miss Rambova made a picture because she needed the money, changed its name to “When Love Grows Cold” after it was finished, with the frank purpose of capitalizing her marital troubles. Miss Rambova protested that it would harm her and create the impression that she was the one who was profiting by deceiving the public into believing it was a screen revelation of their love wreck.
Gloria Swanson is living in Falcon’s Lair the old Rudolph Valentino mansion, while she forgets movies and takes up television. Miss Swanson was imported again to Hollywood, but this time to narrate and star in a Crown theater Television Film series for Bing Crosby Productions, and for her brief stay she rented the Valentino home. In “Sunset Boulevard” the film that sparked her movie comeback, she played a one-time movie queen who lived in a fabulous home of the silent film era. Thus I drove up the hill to the Valentino manse in Benedict Canyon to see if real life was imitating the movies. The Italian-style mansion looks like a chateau from the bottom of the hill, but its actually a tidy nine-room place. There isn’t even a swimming poll for Bill Holden to float in. But there’s an empty guest house over the garage like in the movie. Miss Swanson wasn’t wearing dark glasses and a long cigarette holder, but a coat dress billowing with petticoats. “Yes I’d love
to do another beautiful picture, but it would just be compared to Sunset Boulevard she said”. “Three in Bedroom C” was, and its like comparing soufflé to steak. I’ll never do another play either, if its a failure, its a waste of time and if its a success your tied up for a year. In her first TV movie, ‘My Last Duchess’, again she plays a faded movie star, “this is the tenth actress I’ve played she smiled”. I’m like the proverbial butler in the movies. I don’t know why people think of me as portraying actresses. After the TV series, Miss Swanson will return to NY to her dress business which is branching into hats, hosiery, perfume and health bread. She also will write the story of her life from 1920 to 1930, the rise and fall of a legend they said was me. The Gloria Swanson they created is as amusing and startling to me as everyone else she said. But those were exciting days. People had dreams in those days. Now the movies have been regimented. “Nobody
dreams anymore” said the lady of the Valentino house. “The last time I visited this mansion was to attend a séance’ by some mediums who put in a call to Valentino’s ghost. The next tenant, Miss Swanson said is heiress Doris Duke. Miss Duke promises parties not séances.
Fans and Exhibitors Agree that Gloria Swanson, Thomas Meighan and Rudolph Valentino are the biggest drawing cards in the industry and lead the “Regular Program Stars” in popularity. A “program star” is one who produces pictures at intervals of three or four months. The public in liking Thomas Meighan and Rudolph Valentino in the same breath, show two distinctly different sides. Thomas Meighan represents the red-blooded, two-fisted he man sort of person. The men like him because he lacks any sign of being effeminate or foppish. And the women like him because – oh, well, he’s just the kind of big, strong man women like. Valentino on the other hand, represents the great lover, the perfect escort. He dresses faultlessly, he dances divinely and makes love to perfection. He is the sort of man dreamt about by women with five children and a husband with the manners of a stevedore. He represents perfection of culture and refinement and it’s no wonder that women with a round of household duties think he’s simply grand. And flappers too, get their idea of the perfect man from the hair oil advertisements. The men don’t like Valentino so much. That is, they don’t “just adore” him. But they have to admit he’s a good actor and is there when it comes to the haberdashery. Gloria Swanson is popular with women because she represents what most women would like to be; she is the embodiment of al seductive, irresistible womanhood. She wears magnificent clothes and plays the wicked vamp. And has not almost every woman a secret desire to be exactly this? When they see Gloria beautifully gowned, faultlessly groomed, making one attractive man after another fall victim to her charms, does not Fanny Fox from Farmingdale see herself in Gloria’s place, the fascinating woman of the world, greatly desired, greatly loved? And of course the men like Gloria. She is so beautiful and so fascinating and seems to possess all the characteristics that men are attracted to – not necessarily the characteristics they look for in a wife and housekeeper, but, you know, the things that make them forget about what a sordid business life is. It was a movie magazine that first took up seriously the problem of finding out what actors and actresses were the most successful form a box office point of view. So they asked exhibitors to rate the various stars according to their ability to draw crowds. This result was rather a shock to movie fans, and many of them wrote in expressing resentment that their particular favourite was not in the ranks. So the magazine invited the fans to send in their own ratings on a chart and curiously enough the ratings were practically the same in most cases. But there were many others that fans indignantly demanded to be put at the top of the list. Many fans considered Pola Negri, Bebe Daniels, and Nita Naldi all had many strong defenders. In some other cases, the fans ratings were found to be considerably lower than the exhibitors. As we thought the fans were the enthusiastic ones, while the exhibitors were the cold, calculating ones that judge only from box office receipts. But it seems that there is a decided difference in the point of view, which makes the exhibitors seem more lenient. No player was rated at zero by an exhibitor because he judged the drawing power knowing nothing of the ones who stayed away. The fan, on the other hand, dragged down averages by giving zero to the other players whose presence in a picture would keep them away. Blanche Sweet was the only one on the fans list who received no zeros. Out of the hundred ratings compiled Barbara La Marr receiving many rating of 95 percent, but she also received many zeros.
Gloria Swanson in “Beyond the Rocks” with Rudolph Valentino in the lead supporting role, will be the feature film in local theaters during the week beginning Sunday, May 7, 1922. “Beyond the Rocks” was written by Elinor Glyn, author of “Three Weeks” and was directed by Sam Wood. The new Paramount Picture is the first in which Miss Swanson and Valentino appear together, and, it is predicted, will be one of the greatest film successes of the year.
Directed by Sam Wood; written by Jack Cunningham, based on the novel by Elinor Glyn; director of photography, Alfred Gilks; music and sound by Henny Vrienten; produced by Jesse L. Lasky; originally released in 1922 by Famous Players-Lasky and Paramount Pictures; Running time: 85 minutes. This film is not rated.
WITH: Gloria Swanson (Theodora Fitzgerald), Rudolph Valentino (Lord Bracondale), Edythe Chapman (Lady Bracondale), Alec B. Francis (Captain Fitzgerald), Robert Bolder (Josiah Brown) and Gertrude Astor (Morella Winmarleigh). Sam Woods directs Swanson and Valentino, two of the biggest stars of the era, with a light touch and keen attention to the audience’s pleasure. Swanson is a poor captain’s daughter betrothed to an unattractive older man, while Valentino is a dashing aristocrat who keeps showing up just when she needs to be saved from danger. The action moves from the rocky coast of England to the Swiss Alps on its way to the Sahara, for no reason beyond the sheer exhilaration of cinematic technique. The faces of the stars glow with life, which makes you all the more grateful that this, their only film together, has come back.