WHAM! A fist shot out and Rudolph Valentino, sheik of the movies, threw up a protecting army and ducked his head. This occurred in the lobby of the Mogador Theatre in Paris, the other day, when The great picture favorite graced the first showing of his own new feature picture with his presence. Those of the audience who had observed Mr. Valentino in the flesh, Sitting quietly in one of the boxes, looked at him with reverent awe. Just as the film was coming to an end he excused himself from his party saying that he would step across the theatre And kiss the hand of the Countess d’Uzes, who was waving at him. He passed up the side aisle and started through the lobby, those by met making way for him as though for royalty. One Man however, did not act that way at all. There were tears in this man’s eyes, a handkerchief in his hand and his nose was red. Mr. Valentino noticed this person, not only because his clothes And manner showed him to be a man of some consequence, but it because it is a triumph for a picture to make a man cry. When the weeper turned his moist eyes on Valentino he jumped as though he seen a ghost. Then he shot out a sentence, in German so hysterically that the actor did not understand it. But when the man’s fist swung viciously at Rudolph’s nose, he understood that gesture, ducked and, with his right, gave the stranger something to cry about. The man went to the floor and arose, but before he could resume the battle, friends of both parties rushed between, cards were exchanged and Mr. Valentino found that he was dated up for a sword duel to be fought at the wretched hour of sunrise. “Who is this fellow and what does he want to fight with me about?” asked Rudolph, with pardonable curiosity. “It is the Baron Imre Lukatz and he says you have been hugging and kissing and stealing his fiancée and all that while he was away” replied Frederico Beltran Masses, a well-known Spanish painter, who had taken charge of Valentino’s interests in this fracas. “But I never saw him before., nor his finance. There is some mistake.” “Possibly”, agreed Masses, “but he demands satisfaction on the field of honor and you see everyone is looking at you, and the Barons face shows that someone has wronged him. I am afraid that you will have to go through with it”. Before the war, Baron Lukatz, who now thirsted for Valentino’s blood was a wealthy Austrian nobleman engaged to marry the very youthful Vilma Banky, daughter of one of the richest families of Budapest and already celebrated as a young beauty. The Baron was a happy and much envied man and then, just as they were about to name the wedding day, the great war came along and postposed everything. The wedding was put off until the triumph of the Central Powers, which was estimated as a matter of 3 to 6 months. When the agony went on, from year to year, the Baron was able to get home from the front just often enough to keep the fires of unsatisfied love aflame. At last the final crash came, and the love-sick nobleman had only one consolation, he was now free to return to marry his beloved. Vilma was apparently as much in love as ever, but suddenly a disagreeable question intruded itself between them like a horrid chaperone. What were they going to marry on? The fortunes of the Baron and the Banky family were invested in securities payable in German marks. They were still technically millionaires, but in reality the mark had been made so worthless that their wealth was about equivalent to a trunk full of cigar coupons. Again the happy day was postponed, while the Baron cast an aristocratic eye around for a job. For every position from head-waiter up, he found several needy Grand Dukes ahead of him. The future looked dark for the love smitten Baron. Just then a ray of light, light for Vilma but not necessarily for the man who had waited so long to marry her. An American moving-picture director saw sufficient promise in Vilma’s beauty and culture to invite her to sign an 2 picture contract and pay her expenses in Hollywood. The girl jumped at the chance and it was all settled when the jobless fiancée returned from a fruitless trip to Paris. The Baron was dismayed at the prospect of parting from the girl he loved for there was nothing in the contract about his expenses. However, he could not stand in the way of a likelihood of such big money, so with a heavy heart, he agreed. But fate had put him off so often that this time he protested. He thought it was only that before rushing to America she should marry him. Miss Banky was inclined to agree, but the hard-boiled director did not want any strings tied to his new piece of property and talked her out of it. He said: “For an artistic career, a husband is a millstone. Wait until you are an established star and then maybe you will be strong enough to swim with one around your neck. And besides you may fall in love with some of the American millionaires that are always hanging around the studios and then what? Vilma thought this was perfectly silly advice, but she took it just the same, the amorous Baron found himself procrastinated with the promise that she would hurry her two pictures through and then come right back and marry him. When Vilma sailed the Baron felt as lonesome as a lost dog, but distracted his mind by writing a daily letter to his girl, always cautioning her to beware of wicked but fascinating actors. After a while Vilma’s letters grew very vague and infrequent. The Baron became anxious. What did this mean? What was going on? What had happened to his innocent Vilma in wicked America. He had about made up his mind to scrape together funds enough to rush across and rescue her, if it was not too late, when a letter came saying that her first film would soon be released in Europe and shown in Paris. One glance at her face on the screen would surely tell him if drugs, drink, and worse had touched her. Baron Lukatz was the first man in when the doors of thetheatre opened, the long wait and the orchestra strained his nerves to the last notch of suspense. What was he going to see? At last he beheld a close-up of one of the prettiest faces on the screen and, to him, the dearest in the world. “She’s all right. There’s nothing the matter with her!” he cried out in joy and relief at seeing the beautiful expression he knew and loved so well. “Yes, quite all right said an Englishman who sat beside him and looked the Baron over coldly through a monocle, “but why have a fit about it”? The Baron apologized for speaking out and explained Vilma was his fiancée. The Englishman gave him a new and more careful scrutiny. “Extraordinary” he remarked, “most extraordinary” and aimed his monocle back at the screen. The Baron did not care what the Englishman thought, he was happy and a great care was off his mind, but not for long. The other actors seemed clear eyed and decent except those that he knew were made up to look vile. She seemed to be in pretty good company. He got a momentary thrill of indignation when the villains desecrating hands were laid upon his wife to be and broke the strap of her gown. This made the fight for her good name against this husky villain still more unequal, because she now had to hold up her bodice with one hand and fight him off with the other. Still he knew, like everyone else in the movie house, that the forces of law and order and censorship would save the girl somehow and they did. The male star arrived somewhat overdue, but with a good excuse and gave the villain the beating which he had been earning all through the picture. It was a good job, and when the miscreant had been pounded to a pulp the Baron felt a sense of personal gratitude. He imagined Vilma thanking the young man and saying she wanted him to meet her future husband, the Baron Imre Lukatz, who would also wish to thank him. What the Baron beheld was nothing like that at all. Vilma simply put her white arms around her rescuer’s neck, placed her lips against his and kept them there for what seemed to one man an eternity and she forgot all about that important strap, sole support of her bodice. That was not acting that love stuff in that kiss. That man must of really made love to his Vilma and taken advantage of his absence. Would they never fade out of that infernal kiss. Decent people did not kiss that long. This was terrible. To be six thousand miles away from the woman that you love and know that someone was successfully making love to her to see the proof of it every night on the screen for he could not keep away and he grew to hate that actor as he had never hated before. While collecting funds to start for America and give that hero what the hero had given the villain there came an answer to his outraged complaint. Vilma was hurt and astonished that he could be jealous of an actor, paid to pretend to make love. She wrote to the Baron that she was finishing her second picture and that objectionable actor was now working in Long Island City 3,000 miles away. The Baron received a worse shock. It was perfectly clear to his eyes that with this new man she was worse in love than before. He itched to get his hands on one of these fellows. In response to his cable came the answer that Vilma decided to stay and make one more picture. That was too much. If only fate would let him get his hands on one of them, just one. At the Mogador Theatre in Paris, the other day, the Baron came as usual to suffer at the opening of the newest film, in which he knew his beloved Vilma Banky would play opposite Rudolph Valentino, and he shuddered in expectation of that dreaded love scene he knew would come at the end. It proved to be the worst yet. If heaven would only let him get at the Sheik Valentino he would ask for nothing else. No sooner was that prayer uttered than it was granted. Right there in front of him moving through the lobby loomed the feature he had just been cursing at one the screen. There in the flesh was Rudolph Valentino. Leaping to his feet the distracted lover sprang in front of Valentino and shot his fist at the astonished stars nose, as already described, and the arrangements were made for the “duel” were quickly made. One of the cruelest things about duels and executions is that they are done at daybreak when people ought to be in bed. After a long cold taxi ride in the dark, Rudolph Valentino arrived with his seconds, Frederico Beltron-Masses and Horatio St. Just, a young Italian who was engaged to Miss Millicent Rodgers until the Austrian Count Salm came along and spoiled everything by marrying her. He was willing to get up that early on the chance of seeing an Austrian nobleman get hurt. Dawn was just breaking and Valentino was dressed in silk trousers, white silk shirt and low pumps like a dueler of old walked through the wet grass to the soggy and mist covered field of honor outside of Paris. He brought with him a pair of 18th Century dueling swords. After he had gotten pretty thoroughly chilled Rudolph heard the footsteps and sobbing. That must be the Baron, for he remembered that there had been tears in his eyes the night before, and that his nose was red as if from much weeping. That was the one reason why he had not tried to reason with the man. No use trying to talk with one who is so upset that they are crying. The Baron, followed by his two seconds, marched up to the actor dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief and sobbed “I am sorry Mr. Valentino. Last night, I was so upset. I could not believe that you were merely doing for pay what I would pay anything to be allowed to do. But I hear that you, have been unhappy in love and I ask that you forgive me for losing my temper. The movie sheik held out his hand for, after all, he did not know what it was really all about except that he had been told to get up in the middle of the night and fight with the stranger or he might be called a coward which would hurt his business. As Valentino was suggesting that they forget all about it and go back to bed, the Baron suddenly embraced him and kissed him, a thing that is likely to happen to anyone in France. Rudolph endured it at the time philosophically, but two days later he was running at the nose and eyes just like the Austrian, who had infected him with a cold. For 10 days the star stayed out of sight with red and swollen nose, mouth and eyes. He says that if he thought the Baron wrecked his vengeance deliberately he would get him back onto the field of honor and flay him alive.
Posts Tagged With: Vilma Banky
Vilma Banky, a Hungarian-born actress who became a major Hollywood star in the 1920’s, is dead. Word of her death began appearing in scattered publications this fall, but it went largely unnoticed in the United States until Thursday. In response to a query from The Associated Press, her lawyer, Robert Vossler, said she died on March 18, 1991, in a nursing home in Los Angeles. She was about 90 years old, Mr. Vossler said. Miss Banky was ill at home for five years and for another five years at the St. John of God Convalescent Hospital, Mr. Vossler said. ‘She Was So Upset’ “During all that time, not a single soul came to visit her,” he said. “She was so upset that she wanted no notice and no service when she died. I followed her wishes.” In October, Classic Images, a newsletter for fans of old movies, mentioned that Miss Banky had died in a Los Angeles nursing home in 1991. In November, two London newspapers, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, reported the death. The hospital listed Miss Banky’s birth date as Jan. 2, 1901, but reference books give dates ranging from 1898 to 1903. She appeared in Hungarian, Austrian and French films in the early 1920’s before Samuel Goldwyn discovered her while touring Europe in 1925. Goldwyn brought her to America and cast her opposite Ronald Colman in “The Dark Angel,” which became a smash hit. The New York Times review praised her acting and called her “so exquisite that one is not in the least surprised that she is never forgotten” by her co-star. She made five films with Colman, including “The Night of Love” and “The Winning of Barbara Worth,” which featured the young Gary Cooper in a major role. She went on to star opposite Rudolph Valentino in “The Eagle” and “The Son of the Sheik,” the last movies Valentino made before his death in 1926. Miss Banky was married to the actor Rod La Rocque for 42 years. Their 1927 wedding, produced by Goldwyn, was the most elaborate of the silent-film era. Cecil B. DeMille was best man and the ushers included Colman and Harold Lloyd. The couple, who were childless, later endowed an education foundation for children that is now worth more than $1 million. In 1928, Miss Banky participated in the first public demonstration of the way movies could be transmitted over telephone wires. Film of her arrival by train in Chicago was shown at a newsreel theater in New York nine hours later; the process was hailed as a technological breakthrough. When sound films took over Hollywood in 1929, Miss Banky appeared in “This Is Heaven,” cast as a Hungarian immigrant employed as a cook. But audiences had trouble understanding her accent, and the movie flopped. After making “The Rebel” in Germany in 1932, Miss Banky retired. Her husband’s career ended in the 1930’s, after which he became a real estate agent. He died in 1969.
Vilma Banky whose torrid love scenes with Rudolph Valentino scorched the silent screen said Saturday she was content to sit back and watch the Hollywood parade go by. The woman whose passionate embraces with Valentino in “The Eagle” and “Son of the Sheik” were the envy of millions of American women lives comfortably in her furnished Beverly Hills Mansion with her husband, former silent screen actor Rod La Rocque. They have been married for 25 years. But the movie goers of the golden age will never forget La Banky who was brought to America by Sam Goldwyn in 1925. Vilma 51 sat in her cozy living room trim and lovely in a dark dress trimmed in a white Peter-Pan collar and cuffs. She declared she has no regrets for the glorious past, but she had that faraway look when she talked of Valentino. She recalled her love scenes with Valentino in “The Son of the Sheik” saying “they say our love scenes made it one of the great romantic epics. Who can gainsay that my handsome leading man was very colorful. He was colorful in fact, that I believe he would have held his own even in talking pictures”. The Hungarian actress could not speak a word of English when she was performing the sizzling scenes with Valentino. We had to have an interpreter she laughed adding I’ve had my fling. Some people are stage-struck their entire lives. But I happen to be one of those people who knew when to quit. Although her last film was made more than 20 years ago, the former actress toured the U.S. in Anita Loos play “Cherries Are Ripe”, during the 1929-1930 season. Her leading man was husband Rod La Rocque. “I had never been in a play before” but after this one I had enough of the theatre. The one week stands were too much for me. Photography is really my great passion Rod admitted “Next to Vilma of course”. Vilma won lasting glory through her screen performances but she made a total of 10 films and towards the last was making only two pictures a year. Her first film was with Ronald Coleman in “The Dark Angel”. It was after this she was chosen by “The Sheik” to play opposite him in “The Eagle”. She was co-starring with Coleman again in “The Winning of Barbara Worth”. The last film she made was “They knew what they wanted” with Edward G. Robinson. It was produced in the late 1920’s and it was made both in English and German. The foreign film market was much better then Vilma pointed out. After jilting a well-publicized Hungarian nobleman, who had pursued her to this country, the famous glamour girl of the 20’s married Rod La Rocque and with the arrival of the talkies retired to housewifely duties. Although not a slender wisp of a girl whom thousands remember and revere, Vilma Banky is still a very attractive woman with dark blonde hair, a good figure and a quiet assured manner. She plays a championship golf game and has won many prizes. “She is so good” said hubby Rod, that I don’t dare play with her anymore.
During the three past decades Motion Pictures have become one of the chief forms of amusement in the lives of the American people and have given birth to a giant industry with a formidable financial structure. Motion pictures inspire day-dreaming and fantasy. The writers of motion pictures expressly point out to motion pictures as an influence in some way or other on their fantasy life. This study details the accounts of thoughts collected from young women on motion pictures. The high school or college student may just easily picture herself, in her imagination as the much sought-after heroine.
The movies a source of information on love behavior
Motion pictures with their vivid display of love-techniques offer a means of gaining knowledge. The possibilities of motion pictures in providing such instruction suggested in account the accounts listed:
As I progressed in years, I became interested in the girls about me at school and at play. I had a sweetheart whom I admired from afar, for as yet I was so bashful I became tongue-tied in her presence. I recall how I wished that I could be as free and easy in their presence as Rudolph Valentino was, and I watched for his pictures with special interest for I thought that I might be able to assimilate some of his ability or technique, if you wish to call it that, and would be able to use it on my girl – Male, 20, College Sophmore.
When only 14 years of age, I fell in love with one of my classmates; and I can remember that after seeing Rudolph Valentino in “The Sheik” I would try to make love to my girl as he did to the heroine, but I guess I was a miserable failure – Male, 19, College Sophomore
Day-Dream and Fantasy
Day-dreaming is something every woman does. I still day-dream about my favorite movie star or a fated romance. I recall Rudolph Valentino who impressed himself in my mind as though no other movie character has done. Whenever I saw desert pictures, I thought it would be thrilling to live in a tent like an Arab and travel from place to place. I thought it would be wonderful to be captured by some strong brave man like Rudolph Valentino. His pictures impressed me so much that I used to dream about them at night. I loved the beautiful scenery in the day and night. I hoped that someday I would be able to visit the desert land and ride a camel. Rudolph Valentino and Vilma Banky were my favorite desert stars. I always thought of Rudolph Valentino as a typical desert hero and Vilma Banky as a beautiful angel of the desert – Female 20, College Junior.
Rudolph Valentino was quite my ideal when I was at this age. My mother did not approve of my going to see these pictures, but what did a little thing like that matter to me? His pictures more than any of the others, I believe, carried me over into a fancy-life. His leading ladies I always resented. I repeatedly tossed them aside and put myself in their place. After seeing “The Sheik” I was in a daze for a week. Female, 18, HS Senior
I fell in love with Rudolph Valentino and Warner Baxter. Rudy was such a perfect lover and he kissed divinely. I could imagine myself being in his leading woman’s place when he prostrated her with a kiss, and I even thrilled at the thought – Female, 16, HS junior
Vivid in my memory is the image of Rudy in “The Sheik” his passionate lovemaking stirred me as I was never before. For many days, I pictured myself as his desert companion in the most entrancing scenes that my imagination could build – Female, 19, HS Senior
The first picture which stands out in my memory is “The Sheik”, featuring Rudolph Valentino. I was at the impressionable and romantic age of 12 or 13 when I saw it. I recall coming home that night and dreaming the entire picture over again; myself as the heroine, being carried over the burning sands by an equally burning lover. I could feel myself being kissed in the way the Sheik had kissed the girl. I wanted to see it again but it was forbidden – Female, 20, College Junior
After seeing every picture of Rudolph Valentino, I would go home and day-dream because that was all that I had to look forward to. My dreams of him made me realize that one day a tall and thoughtful man such as Rudy was would truly love and understand me. Without thoughts or words we simply knew one another and would grow old together the romance we seen on the screen was our romance in real life – Female, Jewish, 23, College Senior
Some publicists and editorial writers expressed amazement at the overwhelming popular interest displayed in Valentino at the time of his death. If American girls were affected to the extent to with many of the high school and college girls who have contributed to this study seemed to have been, there is little occasion for bewilderment over the incident.