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2015 January

Archives for January 2015

Charlie Chaplin

Here Rudy recollects about his interactions with Charlie, especially when they were both associated with United Artists Pictures.

Although he was somewhat of an enigma, I found him rather brilliant, engaging, and conversant on any number of subjects. He was also quite eclectic in his personal tastes and very sure of himself professionally. We did socialize upon occasion but never approached the border of intimate friends, the kind who would share most things.

During “The Eagle” shoot, he appeared several times to reassure me, and the cast, I suppose to marvel at our accomplishments, be the goodwill ambassador for United Artists Pictures. He knew our work would please the public, had a smell for that kind of thing.

I did not witness any of the quirks that have been assigned to Mr. Chaplin over the years, nor did I ever observe him in character as the little tramp, even though hints were there, present in the way he moved ~ body language you say today. I remain grateful for the opportunity he, Doug, and Mary gave me: to become a part of their film family.” ~ Rodolfo Valentino

Rudy on his French Roots

Let’s stipulate that I am/was half French to begin with and my mother had strongly embraced that language and culture, brought them to Italy with her, saw them as a trophy throughout her life. She delighted in speaking French to us as children. It was our own flavor, our refuge, something she thought would make us more able in the world. This is not to say that she did not love Italy, Puglia in particular. Anyway, French, in all its ramifications, seeped into our lives and we thought it grand, saw our capability with it as an entrée. (Door-opener.) So when I went to Paris during my teen-age years to, in fact, sow wild oats, try out the boulevardier (man about town) premise, I summoned my French parts, made them shine, and gathered my forces which later translated to the continental flair I was known to display as aspects of screen characters I embodied.

That we read in French, novels and history in particular, was a really nurturing part of my upbringing. Did I like the precision of French in composition? Not so much as a boy yet I was a sponge. I knew that language inside out, and admired the elegance inherent in the culture. Le Comte (Count) Valentino, perhaps an alter ego? Oh the excesses I knew while in the thrall of my first visit to Paris! How dandy it all was!” ~ Rodolfo Valentino