My contention is that what critics had/have to say about Rudy’s body of work and persona, either during the 1920’s or now, is irrelevant. The proof is in the pudding, and Rudy is quite a good cook! Indeed, his films are still thought of as ‘must-sees’ for those who love silent films and his luster as an icon of love has not dimmed. In fact, I would say that of late it grows stronger, given the spate of Rudy-related books, rare photos, and new DVD releases that have come to light ~ especially during the past 10 years, and with more on the horizon.
That said, the people who have seen his films know the truth and, therefore, will not be influenced by anyone’s jaundiced eye or attempt to be snarky. Rudy was a wonderfully nuanced actor, who fully owned every part he inhabited. For that is what he did in front of a camera, imbue them with soul! Did he ever go general in his roles? Sure, when the script and/or Director called for it. But if you look carefully, there are gems in each one, when his character projects incredible luminescence and touches everyone’s heart.
I think there were even flashes of brilliance in his pre-1921 films as he brought freshness to whatever formulaic plot he was involved with ~ for example, in the two films he did with Carmel Myers.
Audiences always trump the critics. And Rudy continues to be one of the most talked-about and viewed stars of all time. In the meantime, I continue to be astounded by the large number of Rudy photos and Rudy-related posts that appear on Facebook, sometimes on a daily basis! Now, if only someone would find a copy of “Uncharted Seas” or “A Sainted Devil” languishing somewhere in a vault!