Jetta Goudal had been cast as the female lead opposite Rudolph Valentino in The Sainted Devil. In a highly charged, tabloid filling confrontation, Valentino’s wife, Natacha Rambova, demanded that Jetta be dismissed from the film. There are conflicting versions of the clash of the divas. Some alleged they fought over Goudal’s proposed wardrobe for the film and others suggest that Valentino and Goudal were attracted to each other and Rambova was jealous. From the beginning of the filming of “The Sainted Devil” it was clear that something was bound to happen between two such strong personalities. The part Jetta was to play required elaborate costuming and with her exotic taste was nothing short of fantastic when exerted upon the process of conceiving her gowns for the film. Two eminent costume designers found them so difficult that they refused to accept the more spectacular designs. Natacha swiftly settled the matter and booted Miss Goudal. In her own memoir, Natacha Rambova insists she was falsely accused “of sacrificing Rudy for my own selfish ambitions—I wished ‘to become a power in the industry.’ Fortunately, my conscience is entirely free from this despicable accusation.
In 1966, New York Times obituary of Miss Rambova, Jetta Goudal brings up again the incident and insisted it was Rambova’s jealousy of her beauty that caused her being dismissed from the film. However, Natacha Rambova alluded that the quarrel began when she criticized Jetta Goudal’s movie wardrobe. ‘Also, the obituary alleges Jetta was reported to of committed suicide after she was dismissed from the movie. It is not clear whether Jetta’s emotional distress was a reaction to losing the man, losing the fight, or losing the film role. Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova were divorced a year later. Rambova insisted that gossip had caused the divorce
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