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2015 May

Archives for May 2015

Nita Naldi

Nita played many roles in Rudy’s life, the most important of which were co-star, friend, and intimate. Excerpted from “Rudolph Valentino The Untold Story,” here are some of his observations on their personal rapport, also her impact on movie-goers.

This woman was one of the best foils any actor could ever have! We were opposites but that allowed us to compliment each other. Attractive but not pretty in a conventional way, she could convey the most nefarious mannerisms, vamp-like behavior that was thoroughly, and morally, bankrupt. Nita and I were great buddies and the rumors are true. We did once explore when everything seemed new. Then we had a laugh about it later, curiosity having paid its due. Without Nita to support me, I could not have mastered those roles as effectively as I did. She was an icon and, of course, the women in the audience were not threatened by our kisses, knowing that we would not truly succumb.

Nita was the archetype of temptation every time we appeared together on screen. In real life, however, she was blasé, never took Hollywood too seriously, yet grateful that her look, and demeanor, were so perfect for the moment. I remember her fondly. Love, Rodolfo.” ~ Rudolph Valentino

Valentino Symposium

Here are some conclusions and opinions of noted Valentino scholars, in no particular order. They were presented at the symposium on the life and career of Rudolph Valentino, sponsored by the film department at the University of Turin in 2009.

  • Natacha Rambova was quite involved with the production of “Cobra,” perhaps more so than any other Valentino picture. She is said to have channeled her contributions to the script via automatic writing.
  • The occult is a theme, for Rudy personally, and among many of the people who knew him.
  • The original Valentino Society papers from the Leslie Flint collection are now at the Museo del Cinema in Turin. That museum, by the way, has quite a nice collection of Valentino memorabilia.
  • Rudy showed his literary prowess early on when at age 13 he wrote an essay entitled “The Regiment Passes” while he was at boarding school in Perugia. The content is remarkable both for its depth and sophistication.
  • Natacha contributed to Valentino’s career by supplying a context.
  • Rudy’s underlying pathos is what made him so appealing to movie-goers.
  • Rudy missed out on playing the lead in “The Spanish Dancer” opposite Pola Negri because he went on strike. Antonio Moreno got the part.
  • Rudy sometimes described himself as a “lapsed intellectual.”
  • The June Mathis penned RVG scripts (of which there were five) re-define masculinity as non-violent, sexually open, and curious. Her scripts also include elements of the spiritual or transpersonal. In “The Conquering Power,” the script had Rudy kissing his girlfriend’s knees. As that was deemed too daring, the scene was cut from the film.
  • Everything Italian about Valentino was repressed. He was displayed, therefore, as an exotic, of various backgrounds. The only time he played an Italian is in “Cobra.”
  • “Lo sguardo” ~ his gaze, perhaps his most powerful attribute!

~ Wayne Hatford