Archives for 2013

Jonathan Rhys Meyers

From time to time I like to comment on current actors, and their miens. Mr. Rhys Meyers would have been a great silent era star as he has mastered the art of pause; in fact, his acting is pregnant with them, to excellent effect. And, he always does more with less, which is to say he engages, meshes, both with his characters, internally, and externally, with his audiences. No matter his nationality, he can play any role he desires, and his ear is keen to language. Possessing great poise and a sense of personal destiny, these attributes join to make him quite intriguing to the public. Bonne continuation, Monsieur! Je vous salue!” ~ Rudolph Valentino

Mirrors

Mirrors are magical devices, not only for glancing or protracted viewing but also as ‘glamour-enhancers’ ~ meaning a quick look, unfocused, is all we need sometimes to adjust that which has gone askew. We can use mirrors, therefore, to right ourselves ~ as tools or more specifically as linkages between our personalities and souls because a mirror is one place where we can see both, simultaneously.

What does a mirror show of a thousand years ago? How it was and when; therefore, it’s an apparatus for expanding consciousness, a gateway to other dimensions.

In terms of what might be useful, it would be good to strategically place a few mirrors in your home or living space ~ a must actually, as they are also transmitters, able to be used to amplify energy. When possible, create the endless reflection of mirror facing mirror, if nothing more than to remind you of you, the many yous that are part and parcel of ‘the you’ you now perceive yourself to be. Mirror = ‘Specchio.’  I do like my language, that native one, for this word: specch-i-o, looking at yourself under a glass, like a specimen, as that is also what a mirror allows us to do. They are magnifiers too, and that is why they lend grace to any environment. Janice pointed out (making reference to my first book, “Letters from Janice) that ballrooms are often awash in mirrors. Rightfully so, as that’s where we can lose ourselves, cut loose from our personalities ‘du jour,’ even escape to other realms while still clothed in a body. Interesting, don’t you think? So, you can imagine with mirrors, use them as a means for mind expansion and time travel.

Visualize yourselves in other garb; see yourselves in other guises in terms of your features and sex. Squint and then look – mirrors are a wonderful tool for self appreciation and assessment, in other words, for soul-gazing.” ~ Rudolph Valentino

Poetry

Rudolph Valentino penned a book of “Other World” inspired poetry, entitled “Day Dreams,” in 1923.  Here he comments on his on-going love affair with that genre.

“You ask about poetry and why I am partial to it. The answer is simple. Poems tell stories in concise and picturesque ways, often with a witty turn of words. As far as the poems in “Valentino Speaks” are concerned, that, at least, was the intent!

There are certain rhythms in my poems which can be both felt and heard. Thusly encoded, they are talismans, dedicated to life itself. All have been inscribed with a personal wish of love to those who wish to read them. 

Poems may also be thought of as paintings on a page. The words are shadings and colorings whose purpose it is to give shape to thought. Each starts out as a blank slate, a tabula rasa to be used by the poet to display his or her creativity with language. The forms are many, from Alexandrine to free verse, more often than not involving the juxtaposition of sound and some sort of play on words. These, however, are merely devices. The single most important aspect of any piece of poetry is that it has the potential of touching us emotionally, on the most basic of levels. 

Poems strike chords in our psyches as do the chimes of a clock or the sounds of an operatic aria.  In other words, they promote visceral reactions. There are harmonic chords afoot in all of life’s circumstances. The gift that poetry offers is to make them more audible. 

What is every poet’s dream? To shed light on thoughts so that they may truly be seen.” ~ Rudolph Valentino

 

Celebrity

Celebrities are individuals who are celebrated by others, fêted, as the French might say, for one reason or another. As such, they are examples of ways to be, in many instances exemplars or reflections of contemporary morality. They come to us from all walks of life, running the gamut from world leaders, entertainers and sports figures to so-called average people. Whether or not someone actually becomes a celebrity, however, is determined for the most part by those who have a say in the matter rather than by the individual himself. 

 Celebrity status is usually achieved through a combination of deeds done and images projected. And, there is also often another element present: role. Each can play out in any number of ways. My celebrity, for example, came as the result of a series of starring roles in films. However, it was the media’s interpretation of them that really put me in the spotlight. Some say that I was one of the first media darlings. Not so. There were many before me, going back to the time of the Pharaohs. I certainly had no leg up on the matter!

 Though celebrity as we now know it is essentially personality-driven, it is also often reflective of who we are internally. Viggo Mortensen, a contemporary actor, is an excellent example of this, a man whose inner self is very much present in all he does. He is, however, an exception. Unfortunately, many celebrities tend to be weighed down by their personalities. Indeed, in some instances it’s almost as though they are walking around carrying suitcases full of bricks!

In the world of celebrity, personality is often seen as being more substantive than soul.  Of course, just the opposite is true. There will be a demystification of the cult of personality in years hence when people realize the true beauty of soul and thereby become more conscious of the fact that everyone deserves to be celebrated, no matter how they have chosen to lead their lives. In the meantime, it is imperative that celebrities err on the side of inspiration and promote only that which is life-enhancing. They, like all of us, have a duty to perform: to act responsibly.” ~ Rudolph Valentino

Tom Hardy

A brute of a man, or so it seems, to the audiences he plies. But, by Jove, he is a sweetheart, really his primary attribute. Someone of few words when engaging with the public yet he will not be quiet in the company of friends, true friends. There, a torrent of words spills forth, like drops in a swift-moving stream. Mr. Hardy will continue to develop his skills, become an even more renowned actor than he is currently perceived. In so doing, he personifies some of the mystique that was more rampant in my day which, along with his ability to enthrall, will only continue to increase his appeal to moviegoers. Here’s to a long and illustrious career!” ~ Rudolph Valentino

Labyrinths

Let us confine our discussion to those of the circular persuasion. Such labyrinths are very helpful indeed. Over time more shall be built, their popularity increasing. Circular labyrinths are easy to navigate whereas angular ones tend to confuse. 

Walking a circular labyrinth is a form of mental and emotional gymnastics, like flexing a muscle and then allowing it to relax. We twist in and twist out, using curved or elliptical movement to construct a hypothetical sphere. In so doing, we ought not to step over the lines. There are prescribed ways of doing things, especially when it’s a question of getting to the heart of a matter, just as there are a certain number of steps that must be taken in order to reach the center of a labyrinth. 

If you will, think of labyrinths as entities, their hearts at their cores. Upon arriving, ye shall know them, including their purpose and inspiration. Ye shall also better know yourself for having walked even one! To plot a circle on a theoretical flat plane is to overlay God on what we view as reality, one sphere of influence slipping over another like a ring being able to fit neatly on top of an elliptical.  

When we enter a labyrinth we are making a pilgrimage, compressing life into a very short period of time so that our issues may be more readily seen and examined. How so, you ask? Walking a labyrinth folds time and space which has the effect of ratcheting up our vibratory rates. And, at the same time, it also quiets the mind, freeing us from mental chatter. It is a healthy thing indeed to wind and unwind, to walk to the center and then retrace our steps, eventually coming back to the starting point. The net result is that afterwards we’re likely to feel all the more balanced, aligned, and alive.” ~ Rudolph Valentino

 

Mysticism, Exoticism, and Eroticism in “The Young Rajah”

Not only was this picture bold in addressing prejudice and racism, it attempted to normalize clairvoyance as well as provide audiences with a window on another culture, East Indian societal and religious points of view ~ things that were foreign to most American moviegoers in the 1920’s and therefore considered exotic.

Here we have June Mathis creating allure, magic on the screen, with Rudy in the leading role! But she is also fashioning the fable that is her script to reflect some of her most strongly held principles, and that is what gives this film an extra punch. June was very much the metaphysician in her personal life, participating in numerous séances and automatic writing sessions, often in the company of Rudy and Natacha, who were also believers in life beyond death. So, because it can, given the story line, “The Young Rajah” embraces mysticism ~ in short, the “bigger” picture, to an even greater extent than some of her other efforts.

Although Paramount may have considered this production low budget, they did employ Natacha to design the costumes, which must have cost plenty! Her renderings, I contend, introduced elements of another “ism” into the mix, eroticism. Amos, Rudy’s character, was very much at ease in his own skin, and the nature of his costumes, swathing him in pearls for example, added to that luster, and at the same time helped create a certain languor. That said, the character was also very vital, athletic and sporty ~ like the wild cat he held in his arms in one scene, always ready to spring into action.

One could easily make the case that given the costumes she designed for Rudy in this film, Natacha was more than willing to share him with the world, and she most certainly was successful in that endeavor!

Wayne Hatford

The Promise of Daleford

One of the most intriguing aspects of “The Young Rajah,” Rudy’s final film at Paramount prior to his self-imposed hiatus from that studio, is that it confronts racism, the idea of the “other” ~ those who are somehow different from us.

As others have also noted, the all-American boy look was the standard for leading men in pictures when Rudy burst upon the scene, became a star, in 1921. He almost single-handedly changed that calculation and, right on cue, lots of Latino-looking actors were suddenly offered contracts at pretty much all the major studios. Rudolph Valentino cracked the code. And his character in “The Young Rajah,” Amos Judd, did the same.

Amos was of East Indian origin in the script, mostly raised in the US, and a student at Harvard. He met Molly Cabot, Wanda Hawley’s character, at a “Reincarnation” party where the guests dressed in costumes that reflected who they thought they might have been (and/or wanted to be) in a “past” life. Kudos to June Mathis, by the way, for slipping this idea into the script! Doing so reflected her personal interests, also her desire to inform, as well as entertain, moviegoers.

By the end of the party, Amos is smitten and then he finds out that Molly and her father have rented a house in Daleford, Connecticut for the summer, which is where he lives.

So, Daleford, a mythical New England town, with solid American values! Amos fits in, but does he? There is some degree of racism implied, couched in the hostility directed at him by several fellow students, and a touch of the overt, in Molly’s case. She is very attracted to Amos but can’t get past his exoticism, darker complexion, commenting to her father, who supports the idea of their being a couple, that she “ couldn’t marry a man that was not of her own people” even though she has already discovered that his mother was European. By dint of a few plot machinations, however, Molly sees the light, literally and figuratively, her love for Amos rising above her own objections.

June Mathis was blunt in this film, two of the inter-titles referring to Molly’s views as prejudiced. She also injected respect for all religions, as well as a plea to judge people by the thoughts they think, not by the way they look. Ms. Mathis was a gifted screenwriter and even though this script did not quite hit the mark for the audiences of the time, I applaud the fact that she, and Rudy, were willing to take on these issues, especially given that Rudy had had some experience with them himself as an Italian immigrant.

This is an important film, for all sorts of reasons, not the bagatelle it was once thought to be. We are indeed fortunate that it has been restored and is available on DVD.

Wayne Hatford

 

 

Castellaneta: Valentino’s Birthplace

Although it’s been almost eight years since I was there, several things really stand out for me about Castellaneta: its geography, the architecture, and the warm, openhearted nature of the people I encountered.

A town with approx 17K population, Castellaneta is situated on a rolling plain, maybe 35km from the port of Taranto, which is where the Guglielmi family moved to when Rudy was nine. What is unique about it, geographically, is that there are deep ravines that abut, great slashes in the earth. The old part, especially, perches on the side of a giant ravine, and is much higher than the surrounding land.

This was never a rich town like some others in Italy. Nevertheless, there are architectural gems, in particular the churches. Via Roma, the main street, has a lot of 19th century commercial buildings that line it, mostly two and three story, and it is there, at # 116 that Rudy was born, in a second floor flat. In the 1930’s, a Valentino fan club from Cincinnati had a bronze plaque put on the building to commemorate Rudy’s birth place. Farther down Via Roma, there is a monument to Rudy, built in 1961, a statue of him as The Sheik. The Fondazione Valentino, which supports Museo Valentino, is now seeking funds to restore it.

One of the fun facts about Castellaneta is that so many businesses use Valentino in their names. Bar Valentino, Teatro Valentino, Ristorante Valentino, etc. I stayed in Hotel Rudy, for example.

Museo Valentino is great. It’s located in a former convent, 18th century construction with concave ceilings. There are lots of documents, like his report card and birth certificate, a bed he once slept in, a fragment from the tent in “Son of the Sheik,” photos, videos, and much, much more.

All this and the locals are super nice! My experience was that they really went out of their way to be helpful.

Easy to get to Castellaneta by train; it’s on the main line, Bari to Taranto. The station is out in the countryside now, about 2 or 3 km from town. The old station is still there, however, on Via Roma, also the single track that led to the nearby RR bridge designed by Rudy’s engineer grandfather, Pierre Barbin.

Wayne Hatford

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Valentino the Unforgotten” ~ Review

A few years ago, Tracy Terhune, author of “Valentino Forever” and facilitator of the yearly Valentino Memorial Service at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, re-published “Valentino the Unforgotten” by Roger Peterson, a rare book whose few remaining copies are almost never available on the open market.

Roger worked at the cemetery in the 1920’s and 30’s and details, through personal observation and letters he received during that time, what profound effects visiting Rudy’s crypt often had on people. He also reports on instances of communication, Rudy speaking from Beyond, primarily in dreams, to some of these same individuals, as guide, mentor, teacher.

Because my work is based on the premise that Rudy and, indeed, all those in spirit, can and often do communicate with us in a variety of ways, I found many of the letters to be particularly poignant as their authors share how Rudy, his essence, made an impact on them.

This book is both treasure trove and time capsule. Written with profound respect for Rudolph Valentino and his memory, Peterson includes, among other things, excerpts from “My Diary,” quotes about Rudy from his peers, and three analyses of his personality based on handwriting, numerology, and astrology provided by experts in those fields.

Among those, I think you will find the handwriting analysis to be an especially interesting read. In terms of numerology, Rudy is a seven, the sum of 5+6+1+8+9+5, his birth date. The astrologer uses a 3AM birth time to calculate Rudy’s chart, and the internet gives his birth time as both 3AM and 3PM depending on which website you consult. In visiting Museo Valentino in Castellaneta, I discovered that his birth certificate, on display there, shows a 10:03AM birth time. This means his ascendant is 2 degrees Leo. Leo rules the heart and love is what Rudy always exuded, on screen and off. The rising sign speaks to how we interface with the world.

On top of all these goodies, we also are treated to many wonderful photos, of Rudy, and those who came to visit after his passing.

“Valentino the Unforgotten” is a loving tribute to a star that will never stop shining. A must-read for any Valentino fan, it is available on Amazon.com.

Wayne Hatford