Posts Tagged With: Monsieur Beaucaire
Rudolph Valentino arose at 5’oclock this morning, hurried into his clothes and dashed off to work. He is doing that every morning now for the sheik of the screen is taking his return to the movies seriously. At 7 o’clock every night Director Sidney Olcott tells him that will be about all for the day and that he can run along now but be sure to be on time in the morning. He has been saying the same thing for two months now and he probably will be saying it for a month longer until the picture “Monsieur Beaucaire” is completed. Then Rudy will have a whole week in which to rest before he plunges into the work of making his next picture. It is a strenuous life indeed that Rudolph is leading these days, but it certainly agrees with him. For all of which, he gives entire credit to two persons Mrs. Valentino who sees, that he eats only the right things and Chris Schnurrer his trainer who sees that he gets plenty of exercise. “My business is to see that the boss is kept al pepped up” said Chris as Rudolph bent low to touch with his lips the fingertips of the lovely Doris Kenyon, “look at him – ain’t he full of pep”? Rudy certainly did seem to be “full of pep” and yet Mrs. Valentino, gazing on the same scene didn’t seem to be a bit jealous. “Isn’t she sweet”? she asked. Mrs. Valentino wasn’t so hard to look at herself. The process of pepping starts at 5 o’clock every morning in a basement room of the Long Island studio which Chris has fitted into a gym. Here he gives Rudolph his daily fencing lessons to prepare him for one of the scenes in the pictures play that is still to be made. Afterwards the star has a busy half-hour with the pulley weights and then a vigorous rubdown at the hands of his trainer who boasts that he once performed a similar office for the Chicago Cubs. “What do I do next”? asked Rudy “I eat some breakfast” with the accent on the “some”. Actual work before the camera does not start until 9. But making up one of the principal actors in a costume play requires from an hour up to two hours. Adjustment of the wig alone consumes fully an hour. “It requires a world of patience to make a picture” remarked Valentino after the scene finally had been taken and retaken several more times and there was more standing around while waiting for the next scene. “But it is more fun than touring the country giving dancing exhibitions”.
This portrait of Silent Film Star Rudolph Valentino was painted in costume from the movie Monsieur Beaucaire by Gaston Albert Lavrillier. The painting is in its original frame. In 1976, Ivan Dujan sold this painting at auction and was acquired by Billie Nelson Tyrell. This painting was again put up for auction in 2013….
The cinema sheik, Rudolph Valentino died without ever seeing his famous “ghost portrait” and since that day a half century ago, the work has been viewed publicly only once. The portraits owner Ivan Dugan said he plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mr. Valentino’s death by putting the work up for public auction. Mr. Dujan, who abandoned his career as a silent-film cameraman to turn artist, bought the 30×40 pastel from Gaston Albert Lavrillier the French artist a few years after the actor’s death. Since then, the work, “Rudolph Valentino In Role of Monsieur Beaucaire” has remained nestled in Mr. Dujan’s home its only other public outing a brief hanging 40 years ago at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Mr. Dujan said that Mr. Valentino’s brother Alberto once came to view his brothers image. “He knelt in front of it and said ‘Rudy, why don’t you speak to me’?
The only reason we did not arise last night at the Quimby Theater where “Monsieur Beaucaire” starring Rudolph Valentino, was having its initial showing, and sing “Hail the Conquering Hero Comes” was because from the very first fade-in we were spellbound by the sheer grandeur of the production. Costumes, settings and locations are the acme of lavishness. It is undoubtedly one of the costliest pictures ever made and well worth it. Given an opportunity to display his real dramatic ability, Valentino presents a most vivid impressionable performance. His magnetic personality his fire and energy in his love scenes place him conspicuously in a rank by himself. The story by Booth Tarkington, from which Forrest Halsey made the screen adaptation, is known to most people but it has never been so well told or so grippingly portrayed as in this picture. An admirably selected supporting case interprets the various roles with amazing success.
Rudolph Valentino is leading quite a strenuous life these days. He arrives at Paramount Long Island Studio’s at 7 o’clock each day so that he can get in two hours of practice before the start of camera work. He is receiving instruction from Professor Martinez Castello of the NY Athletic Club, as his role in “Monsieur Beaucaire” requires that he become the best swordsman in all of France.
What we had to say about the star system in these columns a couple of Sundays back was measurably vindicated by the mob reception of Rudolph Valentino in Monsieur Beaucaire at the Strand Theater in Manhattan last week. What does a film producer care about a star system or any kind of system when the exhibitors are packing them in ten deep back of the orchestra seats? And why should a star like Rudolph Valentino care by whom or in what he is being starred as long as he can keep them coming as they came to the Strand last week? Famous Players-Lasky know a good thing when they see it and as for Mr. Valentino he’d as soon lend his good-looking vaselined scalp to F.P.-L as to any of the other film producers in NY or Hollywood. So there rests the case of the screen star versus the manufacturers of the silent drama and there it will continue to rest until Valentino’s superiors, if there be any, insist that the do another picture like “The Young Rajah” which prompted the sheik to take his much discussed two-year vacation from the screen. The sleek-haired hero of a thousand beauty lotion ads and as many serial lessons in “How to Develop Masculine Charm” have nothing he can take exception to in the generous role of Beaucaire. He is called upon to appear in various multi-colored costumes ranging from the humble raiment of a barber to the more decorative haberdashery of a Bourbon prince. He is presented to advantage in a duel of rather one-sided proportions in which he disperses no less than ten assailants and is rescued by his lackeys only after both his arms had been rendered hors de combat. Then he is photographed in many angled silvery focuses, stripped to the waist the better to display the shoulder blades and biceps made famous by the covers of physical culture magazines. No Valentino can take exception to nothing in the scenario of Monsieur Beaucaire. Concerning those which Booth Tarkington may like to take is a different story. The script for the screen play has been written with but a single purpose in mind. It was prepared for the personal glorification of Rudolph Valentino from the introductory subtitle to the final fade-out arch of his good-looking left eyebrow. It leaves nothing undone to make Valentino’s characterization of Monsieur Beaucaire as much like an Elinor Glyn cavalier as possible. There is too much of the “super spectacle” in it and not enough Booth Tarkington. Those are our impression of Valentino’s first portrayal since his return to the screen and the scenarist’s treatment of what was considered a decidedly good book and a fairly good play. Concerning the direction of Sidney Olcott and the performances of Bebe Daniels, Lois Wilson, Ian MacLaren, Lowell Sherman, and others in the supporting cast we have only words of praise. Taking into consideration the fact that Mr. Olcott was called upon to dramatize a single screen personality rather than the book and play of a famous author. Monsieur Beaucaire reflects a doubly ingenuous direction. He has stitched in a fine thread of subtlety in those scenes in which the action might have been the most obvious. Olcott has eliminated the usual staginess of cinematic fancy dress balls and instead he has given us gorgeous canvases that are more than mere dabs of color. Though their roles are munificent by comparison to that of the star the performances of Miss Daniels, Mr. MacLaren and Sherman are no less impressionable. Monsieur Beaucaire is like the box score in the home team’s shut-out victory. Valentinos pitching wasn’t airtight, but he was given brilliant support.
A woman is fundamentally the same, whether she is a movie star or a Park Ave society bud the happiest moment in her life is when her hair turns out just right. But that does not mean that women have a corner in the personal vanity market. NO woman in the world could be more fussy about their hair than a male movie star. These are the deductions of an expert, Ferdinand Joseph Graf, for three years, the official hairdresser to moviedom who is now at Arnold Constables. Mr. Grafs first job with Famous Players was to prepare the wigs for Valentino in “Monsieur Beaucaire”. Natacha Rambova the stars wife, brought him out to the studio from the 5th Ave beauty parlor she patronized for that purpose. He liked the work so well and the stars apparently liked him so he well became the official hairdresser at the studio for three years.