Archives for 2014

“Rudolph Valentino The Untold Story”

Am delighted to announce that my new book, “Rudolph Valentino The Untold Story” is now for sale via Amazon.com.

Who better to comment on the life and times of Rudolph Valentino than Rudy himself? Recollections from one of the greatest screen icons of all times, as told to Medium Wayne Hatford. Their third collaboration, this book sheds new light, quells rumors, addresses speculations, corrects the record ~ ‘write’ from the horse’s mouth! And Rudy delivers with wit and panache, the same magnetic charisma he displayed in films.

Read what he has to say now about his leading ladies, family, friends, lovers, wives, colleagues, films and more, his most cherished memories and adventures. A wealth of tantalizing tidbits and reveals, here is Valentino pulling back the curtain posthumously, testifying on his own behalf.

http://www.amazon.com/Rudolph-Valentino-Untold-Vincent-Hatford/dp/0983343667/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416018086&sr=8-1&keywords=rudolph+valentino+the+untold+story

 

 

 

Homme Fatal

It was with his character in “The Sheik” that Rudolph Valentino cemented the image of ‘homme fatal.’ This role imbued him with the mystery of the desert, piquing the imaginations of women around the globe. In fact, after the release of this film ‘sheik’ became a code word for men who exuded danger, adventure and sexual allure, those whose charms were seen as irresistible. The term was also used derisively in some quarters, but in the long run that had little effect on Valentino’s popularity with fans. His brand of exoticism triumphed, and the imitators (other screen ‘latin lovers’) could never replace him.

I invite you to view both Sheik films and make up your own minds. Was this indeed the role he was destined to play, the one he is often most remembered for now?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Sheik-Son-Special-Edition/dp/B000066741

~ Wayne Hatford

Synchronicity in “Son of the Sheik”

Having just viewed Valentino’s final film again, this time at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, I was struck, not only by the perfection of the script in terms of visual story-telling, but by what this role obviously meant to him on a soul level. He somehow knew that this was to be his last cinematographic effort and he wanted to leave us begging for more, to go out at the top of his game.

What is most interesting to me is that by playing both roles Valentino chose to reveal his inner self, seemingly in conflict, in the personas of the Sheik, paterfamilias, still vital and stubborn despite his age, and Ahmed, his prideful and passionate son. The script uses their perceived differences to advance the plot but my contention is that this role was particularly integrative for Valentino. Since he would never reach the age of fifty, he got to experience what being older might feel like, wearing the skin of the Sheik, père. Indeed, it must have been fun for him to play at that through the use of make-up and camera effects.

Valentino, as perhaps no other actor ever could, was able to project the father/son bond, on both sides of the coin, when they appeared together in split screen. How else could two characters be so solid and warm in each other’s presence while at the same time fully maintaining their respective individualities as defined by the script? The big fight scene near the end says it all, especially when the camera reveals father and son briefly linking hands as a sign of their mutual trust and support.

In my opinion, this dual role was therapeutic in some sense as, according to biographers, he did not have a strong bond with his own father. Here he was able to experience that, of his own volition. Having completed this film and already aware that it was going to be successful at the box office before he died, Valentino was able to leave this world knowing that he had given it his all. That is why, I believe, his star became fixed in the firmament and has never dimmed: because he truly showed us his heart!

 

 

 

Erich von Stroheim

From my new book on the life and times of Rudolph Valentino, to be published in the fall of 2014: Rudy’s observations on one of the most creative, and controversial, directors of all time.

One of Hollywood’s most notable personalities, he traded on his German ancestry. We met, of course, although casually, on several occasions and I was very familiar with his work, his explorations of some of mankind’s baser instincts, and with such visual cues so as to sear them into the minds of those who watched his productions. He possessed great creativity which mostly flowed freely though he would self-block from time to time, leading to cost overruns and friction with powerbrokers, studio heads, or accounting departments.

A von Stroheim film I fondly remember is “Foolish Wives” where he was also on screen. He did not achieve the pinnacles others did as far as consistent popularity and box office but his films sparked controversy and therefore were the subject of many discussions. His Prussian bearing was slightly affected yet no one questioned it ~ part of his allure, the attraction that was von Stroheim. He and I did not have a strong connection but I admired his ability to be daring, stretch limits, call attention to some of the issues of the day.” ~ Rudolph Valentino

Gloria Swanson

In 1922, Paramount cast Gloria with Rudy in the film adaptation of Elinor Glyn’s novel, “Beyond the Rocks” ~ a confection that allowed them both to toy with their celebrity. Once believed lost, this picture reflects their joy in being a screen couple. Here Rudy reminisces about the shoot and his relationship with Ms. Swanson. This is an excerpt from my new Valentino project in which he comments on some of the people and events that colored his life, including his leading ladies. ~ Wayne Hatford

My darling co-star! How we pranked each other, almost every day, and in every way! What creativity our endeavors did require! She was so much fun to work with and she did not consider me an inferior, not Miss Swanson, she of the ‘glorified’ heights! Her career was at a summit, somewhat akin to the one portrayed in our film. Her eyes sparkled, winked a lot, as we took the scenario, tongue in cheek. This saved the production actually as the audience reacted to our levity in a positive way. Had we been too serious, we could have easily gotten the hook.

Gloria and I did not broach intimacy, knowing, as we did, that that move would have been disastrous. Instead, we rode, in motorcars, and on horses, were friends who understood the most intricate aspects of each others’ psyches without having to have direct experiences with them. Bravo, Gloria! You were always a tour de force!” ~ Rudolph Valentino

Excelsior

“Going for Excelsior” will soon be available on Amazon.com as a print book, complementing the already published electronic version. The product of my third literary effort as a medium and second collaboration with the spirit essence of Rudolph Valentino, this book focuses on the senior experience ~ how to embrace where you’re at in your life, find hidden gems, turn up the voltage. Thriving in “Seniorhood” is about going beyond what’s expected or being directed at you by the host society and GFE provides the reader with the tools and understandings to accomplish that goal ~ a blueprint for active living!

Here is my definition of Excelsior:

Upward and onward, a state of being characterized by a constant striving for greater balance and integration that is predicated on an ever-growing awareness of multiple planes of existence, or the art of negotiating the Cosmos from the highest possible vantage point (encountering the apex.) To be able to do so requires a conscious breaching of the Veil, the demarcation line between the dimensions.

Also, the loose packing material that temporarily shields our souls for the length of each incarnation. Instead of brine, we’re packed in excelsior, what we perceive as skin which, because of its properties as both transmitter and transponder, enables us to transcend. As such, it acts like insulation, protecting us from harm but also allowing for entry and exit, not only for our souls when we are born or die but also for all other manner of vibration. Yes, our light shines through and we feel the light of others as it impinges upon this material. Were it not for excelsior, we would never be able to “be” in the body. Indeed, our skin is a personal version of the Veil, echoing it in form and substance. ‘Going for Excelsior’ is analogous to furthering infinity consciousness. ~ Wayne Hatford

 

Cecil B. DeMille

One of the greatest seers of all time! What people do not know or at least not consciously so is that Mr. DeMille could read the public pulse better than most anyone in Hollywood. Not even the studio execs had a better nose for what would sell. And then he was brilliant in the execution, making loads of cash for Paramount along the way. He tweaked American sensibility, soothed it yet also was quite challenging, holding up a mirror so that we could look at ourselves. What a pioneer! What a student of morality! The mores of the 1920’s were never clearer than in productions that flourished under his hand. Then too, the studio knew every DeMille picture was going to contain a certain amount of moxie. A man totally in tune with his times, he adapted, also did excellent work in the sound era, having a lengthy and laudable career. We only superficially crossed paths but I observed him on his sets, saw how he challenged his actors, and worked with their occasional insufferableness too ~ truly a gifted individual!” ~ Rudolph Valentino