If you’d like to know more about Rudolph Valentino’s film career, please take a look at some of his performances, if only in a few ‘You Tube’ clips. Luminescent, captivating, intriguing are just some of the adjectives that come to mind. And not only that, they were always thought-provoking and very much sourced from the depths of his soul. Valentino stood out in every role he was in. That is why all of his movies are worth seeing, even the so-called minor ones.
One of my favorites is Cobra, a 1925 Ritz-Carlton/Paramount release. I like that it has a ‘contemporary’ feel and deals with issues of love and friendship. Here is what the Valentino essence has to say about it now, from his current vantage point.
“A mélange at best, and interestingly it also had elements of the best I had in me to give. Slightly autobiographical as it depicts my interest in times of yore, the world of castles, princes knocking on the door. Princesses too, ladies in their finery and plumes gallantly allowing only well-chosen gentlemen in their rooms. I particularly enjoyed the costumed scene, the flashback.
There was pathos in that character, a melancholic man so many could relate to, a world-weary playboy on the lookout for something more complete. And there were flashes of my own sensitivity and sensibility, qualities I specifically wanted to infuse my character with. The script was mundane yet working together we were able to re-frame it, inject a bit of the unexpected into what could easily have been lame. There were still a few groaners but mostly it worked ~ a morality play, and an examination of friendship, i.e. how deep can it go? I was a clothes horse in those ‘modern times’ with my own sense of propriety about the whole affair. And, my input with details was perhaps greater than usual as the Director was malleable in his make-up, willing to consider adding a few ornamental flourishes.
Count Torriani was an everyman who, after being accosted by a vamp, a cold-hearted and calculating woman, came out of the encounter with a resolve, perhaps to move on, do better, rise to another or perhaps different vibrational pose. As for my co-stars, I found Gertrude Olmstead attractive and she me so we didn’t have to act much. We felt comfortable with each other and, of course, Nita (Naldi) played the archetype oh so well.
“Cobra” was a cautionary tale yet tinged with hope, nonetheless, about letting go of obsessions, whatever form they may take. ‘Twas also about what one might do to restore one’s honor. Again, we turned a rather dreary screenplay into something sleeker than it might have been in other hands, or lands. Chalk one up for Hollywood! There were flashes of inspiration in that endeavor, from a number of quarters.” ~ Rudolph Valentino