Posts Tagged With: Rudolph Valentino

17 Jan 1924 – Valentino A Writer?

We just received two books by Rudolph Valentino. One shows the practical man, while the other is the product of an aesthetic mood.  The titles are “How You Can Keep Fit” and “Daydreams”.  The fit book is straightaway prose and its character maybe judged by the following chapter headings:  The Foundation of Strength Is a Good Back, You are Judged By Your Chest and Your Shoulders and Let Your Abdomen Have the Strength of Iron Bands”.  But Mr. Valentino does not derive from Sparta alone.  He can turn quite readily from deep breathing to soft sighing.  Even though he chins himself 50 times a morning in front of an open window, languor still creeps in his life.  It is “Daydreams” that we find “Three Generations of Kisses” “Morphia” and “The Philosophy of a Pessimist”.  Apparently, a good circulation is not enough to keep a man from gloomy thoughts. Many a melting heart beats behind an abdomen of iron.  A man may touch his toes 100 times and yet find that he cannot put a finger upon the intangible.  If Valentino wins a permanent place in our literature, he is going to cause all sorts of trouble for the commentators of succeeding generations.  Two schools of criticism will rise out the conflict.  One will content that Valentino is the literary heir of Shelly, while the other will maintain that he has picked up the torch of Walter Camp.  And both schools will be right. To us the poetic Valentino is more appealing than the stern ascetic who writes: “The truth is that in order to keep the human body strong, flexible and in tip-top shape one simply must keep up enough physical activity to insure a maximum of condition.  Just as soon as one becomes lazy or careless, he begins to slip back.  There is no reason why one should slip back.  There is no reason indeed, but genius is neither logical nor reasonable.  Pagan man knew is neither logical nor reasonable.  Pagan man knew that inconsistency was an attribute of the gods and demigods. Great Jupiter had a good back and shoulders and chest above reproach, but he did break training upon occasion.  And so, it is with Rudolph Valentino. He has been careless, at the very least, or he could hardly have penned the bitter lament which occurs in the opening stanzas of “Cremation”:  “Just a packet of letters tied with a bit of blue; Just a packet of letters, that once were sent by you. To one who proved unworthy of the love inscribed within the tiny packet of letters, a witness of my sin”. Consider still another contrast between Valentino the prophet of Puritanism and Valentino the Bacchic of the groves. We quote first from “How to Keep Fit” “When working in pictures in California, I make it my business to be in bed by 1030, if not sooner.  Ten thirty is the extreme limit.  To stay up any later than that is dissipation in its most exaggerated form.  Only a few big yearly events ever tempt me to ignore this retiring hour of 1030; at least when working in pictures. The truth is that I could not keep up with the exacting demands of my work otherwise.  In California, I always arise at 6 o’clock and then put in about 45 minutes in my gymnasium at boxing, wrestling, and throwing the medicine ball.  After such a workout I have a shower.  The task of reconciling these apparent contradictions is beyond us.  We give up and leave the problem, “Rudolph Valentino May or Myth” to the ages.  For that is where it belongs

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06 Jan 1939 – Time Has Been Cruel to Rudolph Valentino

Filmed in 1926, “Son of the Sheik” still has its entertainment value as long as it is viewed in its proper light and movie setting. Patrons of the cinema where this picture is being shown, will think it very funny. Remember Valentino would not have given a similar performance today. He is dead and unable to protest against a revival of a 13 year old film. The acting profession has changed a great deal since the silent era. Judge this film for yourself movie goers and the characterization as equal to that of Charles Chaplain and Harold Lloyd. That is being unkind to a great artist.

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1920 – Once to Every Woman

Initially released 6 Sep 1920 and re-released again in 1922, “Once to Every Woman” is about a selfish spoiled young woman named Aurora Meredith. Aurora has become well-known locally in her small village as having a wonderful singing voice. One day, a wealthy woman has decided to take her under the wing and sponsor her continued music studies in Italy. After three years, on the continent, her sponsor dies, and she is without funds to complete her final year. Desperate Aurora accepts financial aid from an unknown young Italian man named Juliantimo. A bargain was struck and in lieu of payment she will marry him. When Aurora starts to gain fame and recognition, she starts to avoid Juliantimo. Soon with an offer to appear in New York City she immediate accepts and leaves to avoid the young Italian. During a singing appearance she meets the Duke of Devonshire who is besotted with her. The duke asks for her hand in marriage and arranges for her to have a leading role in an upcoming opera.

The night of the opera’s premiere Juliantimo appears in her dressing room and demands she uphold her bargain and marry him. Aurora refuses and orders him out. A discouraged Juliantimo returns to his sea and the Duke of Devonshire along with his fried Phineas Schudder to watch her performance. Towards the end of the performance Aurora notices from the stage Juliantimo has a gun and he fires a shot at her and misses. Turning the gun, he commits suicide. Aurora traumatized by all that has happened and discovers she has lost her voice. Doctors tell her she will never sing again and once her so-called friends find out leave her utterly alone. Aurora realizes how false and fleeting fame is and realizes without love life has no meaning. In the meantime, Phineas has become famous as a poet and tries to see her to no avail. Aurora returns to hearth and family and realizes there is no place but home for her. Aurora’s mother has become ill and begs for her to sing a song and in her sorrow doesn’t realize she has her voice back. But it doesn’t matter she remains in her local village and realizes that giving back is the greatest happiness of all. She starts teaching the village children and reunites with Phineas who gives her all the love she has been looking for.

Directed by Allen Holuber, Jewel Productions, released by Universal Pictures. The lead role was Dorothy Phillips, Rudolph Valentino, Margaret Mann, William Ellingford, Elinor Field. This is a lost film.

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1924 – Letter to Editor

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Dear Editor,

Rumors vague and rumors that border on fact are current just now about the proposed celluloid “Romeo and Juliet”.  In the movie world of fans the burning question is not “Who will play Ben-Hur but who will play Romeo”?  Shakespears tragedy of youth and love not some scenario writers will be the motion picture and tha casting of it is of paramount importance.  Julie seems to rest with Norma Talmade or Mary Pickford with scales tipping in favor of Norma. Right now, the screen Juliet will inevitably be compared with Jane Cowl’s portrayl last season and she will have to reach the heights to stand the test.  But Romeo? Truly  may we ask wherefore art thou Rudolph Valentino? That is the final answer is myself who doesnt go over raptures over his name because Rudy is romance to the core.  Can you imagine Romeo with Gene O’Briens Irish grin? Therefore, Valentino with his Latin manner and easy grace is the logical choice. Rudy is the great love and the only other suitable candidtate for this role is Ivor Novelio. He like Rudy is to the manner born. but is he will enough known? there is a large matter of conflicting contracts in the way  of every fans dream of Talmadge-Valentino “Romeo and Juliet” but there is still hope. Perhaps some day in the not so distant future will see a dream come true.

Yours. Maude Baum, NYC

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This article is about Metro Studios where Rudolph Valentino worked on several of his most notable movies.  June Mathis was the head writer at Metro.

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25 Mar 2021 – Former Employee of Natacha Rambova Died

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Helen Elizabeth Ducey, on March 25, 2021, at age 96. Born and raised in New Milford, CT, the daughter of Francis and Mary Reynolds, Helen was a lifelong resident of New Milford. Helen was predeceased by her husband of 68 years, Edward M. Ducey. She is survived by her three children and family members: her daughter, Susan Boldi and son-in-law, Fred; her sons, Richard Ducey and Kevin Ducey; grandchildren, Erin Boldi, and Christopher Boldi and his wife, Amanda, and their son, Mario, who is Helen’s only great-grandchild. She is also survived by one sister, Jane Lathrop of New Milford. She was predeceased by her sisters Marion Taylor and Lorraine Keilty. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, John Ducey and his wife Nancy. She leaves many nieces and nephews. A special thank you goes to Cindy Day who gave friendship and care to Helen for such a long time. Helen developed a love of dogs as a young girl, and that love continued as an adult with her beloved poodles and Yorkies. Helen developed a fashion sense starting when she was a schoolgirl helping to make her own stylish outfits. Her fashion style matured along with the times and she often modeled outfits at the boutiques and department stores at the urging and to the delight of the salespeople. She had a green thumb and, along with her late husband, Edward, filled the outdoors with beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers; yellow roses were her favorite flower. She and Edward also loved to decorate both inside and outside every Christmas, and their house overflowed with holiday decorations.

One of the many happy times in Helen’s life was when she served as chauffeur/companion to Natacha Rambova, a dancer, playwright, and actress who was once the wife of silent screen star Rudolph Valentino. Miss Rambova, who lived in New Milford for several years prior to her death, didn’t drive, so she relied on Helen for transportation and companionship on weekly trips to New York City, as well as on brief outings around New Milford.  When Natacha Rambova passed Helen took care of her beloved Yorkies.

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29 Sep 2021 – National Silent Movie Day Blogathon – Rudy’s Influence on the Silent’s

Today is National Silent Movie Day and to celebrate this wonderful global event, I am contributing the following article “Rudy’s Influence on the Silent’s” to the National Silent Movie Day Blogathon.  I would like to thank both “Silentology Blog” and “In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood Blog” for hosting this event. 

In 1913, Rudolph Valentino’s arrival to this country with not much money from his transatlantic crossing and unable to speak English he did doing what he could to survive.  Oftentimes, he faced homelessness, went hungry or swallowing his pride by taking lowly paying jobs. By doing so, he made just enough money to help with everyday expenses such as food, a roof over his head, or being able to take a shower.  As job opportunities came and went it seemed at certain times life would knock him down.  However, life always takes you places for a reason and it’s important to note, he learned a valuable lesson from each experience he faced.  As time moves on he finds that living in New York was not working out.  So, his friend Norm Kerry suggested a bright future awaits both of them in California and they made their way across the country to Los Angeles and an unknown future. Living in a new city, a determined Rudolph Valentino went on casting calls to all the major movie studios to no avail and found there were no immediate job opportunities in the motion picture industry for a virtual unknown.  Eventually he found work as a movie extra and his enthusiasm was garnering him notice. In 1919, after making the movie “Eyes of Youth”, with Clara Kimball Young, it is written in Hollywood history that June Mathis, Metro Studio Executive noticed the talented actor and wanted him a virtual Hollywood unknown for the starring role in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”.  Although it took some time for her to to persuade studio bosses that he was box office gold and in the end motion picture history was made.  From the first moment he appeared on the silver screen it was an immediate love affair with a movie going public.  His smoldering good looks and romantic visage a global audience was forever ensnared and life as he knew it changed.  What endeared him to a movie going public was his rags to riches story.  He achieved the American dream as a hopeful immigrant in this melting pot country and his success gave every other immigrant hope for their own success story.  The public was mesmerized by him and immediately wanted to know his life story.  Every movie in which Rudolph Valentino appeared he was a dedicated professional.  While his roles called for dramatic scenes often requiring physically dangerous stunts, he performed many on his own.  There were times, he had contractual disagreements with several movie studios, However, everything always worked out for him in the end. 

In the 1920’s and beyond, Valentino had enormous influence both in the fashion world and on film.  His personal style was ahead of its time and always immaculately turned out.  He had extravagant taste in clothing and wore nothing, but the best labels of the day and his style was always duplicated.  Professional men wanted to know his style choices and what grooming products he bought.  In a NY Times article, Valentino briefly grew a beard for a film and the degree of public outcry was overwhelming. Fans wrote asking him to shave, and the Master Barber’s Association threatened to boycott his films for the damage he was doing to their business. 

Valentino was a consummate professional and one of the first actors in Hollywood who fought for creative content control over any movie he would appear in and better pay this battle resulted in a well-publicized feud launched against his employer Famous Players-Laskey Studio. In 1923, during a well fought court battle he struck a new deal that gave him exactly what he wanted.  But his next films were not a financial success, and the blame was placed on his second wife Natacha Rambova.  The newly formed United Artists Studios brought Rudolph Valentino on board and in the contractual agreement it was noted they did not want her on set and kept out of sight.  In 23 Aug 1926, Rudolph Valentino died in New York City while promoting his final film “Son of the Sheik”.  His influence on the silent’s is well noted and documented by Hollywood Movie Historians for the ages. His memory lives on through social media, books, films and the annual memorial service at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In a 21st century global community, Valentino’s work has garnered a new generation of fans that appreciate him and in the end, Silent Film Star Rudolph Valentino was one of the most profound actors of the era. His influence on the Silents will forever be known.

 

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1924 – Letter to Editor

Dear Editor,

Isn’t there something you can personally do to rid us of the Valentino imitators? They are becoming awful here to say the least. In the first place the very fact they are willing to be groomed to take his place proves them incompetent; if they have any ingenuity at all they would create a vogue of their own and not try to shine by his reflected glory. they remind us of what Fabre refers to in his “bugology” as procressaries because of their habit of following one another. No single one of his imitatiors has sufficient initiative to branch out and create a demand for himself.  To begin with, few are so capable as Rudolph Valentino and from general observation and consensus I should say that he can handle more work turn out better work and earn larger dividends on the capital invested then any other star in his profession. Therefore, it would seem that he is worth conceding a few favors to. Don’t lets lose the greatest artist we have on the screen today just because of a broken contract with Lasky Studios. Some laws are stupid and mean’t to be broken. Why not break this one for the good of the public or at least for the amusement of the public? Famous Players-Lasky corporation is incapable of treating him fairly, why don’t they release him and let some other movie film company sign him up? Anything so that we may have our brilliant and lovable Julio and our handsome and gallant Gallardo back again. Hoping you will interest yourself in our behalf.

Very Truly,

August Temple, Bay City, MI

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