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

 

 

 

 

Rudy Plays Twenty Questions

“Short Artistic and Sentimental Review” is the title of this unattributed Q & A, twenty questions that were posed to Valentino in 1922, soon after the release of “Blood and Sand.” His answers are both revealing and a reflection of the image he wanted to create in the minds of movie-goers at that time. This document was on display in 2009 at the Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy, as part of an exhibit dedicated to Rudy’s life and career. Please note that strictly speaking not all of his answers fully align with the facts.

1. Your regular first and last name? Rodolfo Valentino; in English, it’s Rudolph.

2. Your nickname? Rudy

3. What is the first film you made? “The Married Virgin,” directed by Joseph Maxwell.

4. What is your favorite role? The one I played in my last film, “Blood and Sand.”

5. Do you like criticism? Yes, a lot.

6. Do you have a fetish? Yes, my wife.

7. What is your favorite color? Black Iris

8. What is your favorite perfume? Maharajah

9. What are your defects? I am irascible and nervous. I have a quick temper, plus many more.

10. Do you smoke? Yes, lots of cigarettes.

11. Are you a gourmand? Not really.

12. What is your motto? “Post Tenebras Lux.”

13. Are you faithful? Yes, very.

14. What is your ambition? For the world to like me.

15. What are your good points? I think I have one or two small ones, but I don’t know what they are.

16. Your favorite authors? D’Annunzio, Dante, Carducci, Maupassant, Hugo, Baudelaire.

17. Are you superstitious? No.

18. Your favorite composers? Mozart, Puccini, Mascagni, Wagner.

19. Your favorite artist? Raphael.

20. Your favorite photo? The one I give you.

 

 

 

 

Leo Rising ~ Valentino’s Birth Chart

Rather than attempt a full-blown analysis of Rudy’s astrological birth chart, I would like to focus on a few key elements. First of all, Rudy was born at 10:03 AM on May 6, 1895 in Castellaneta, Italy. This is the time indicated on his birth certificate, on display at Museo Valentino in Castellaneta, whereas the internet gives it as either 3 AM or 3 PM. With a 10:03 AM birth time, Rudy has 2 degrees Leo rising.

Think about it, the magnificent carriage, innate radiance, warmth and charm, all befitting what is commonly thought of as Leo energy interfacing with the world! These traits were Rudy’s calling cards, the lens through which he appealed to his fans.

Let’s also take a moment to note what sign is on the opposite cusp in his chart, the house of relationships, which in this case is Aquarius. Natacha Rambova, above all, fit the profile: she was strong, independent, creative, unusual, avant-garde, and at least as much of a friend as lover. Indeed, people who have Aquarius in the 7th house want friendship to be an important ingredient in any sexual relationship.

A couple of other crucial elements: Mars conjunct Jupiter in Cancer in the 12th house and Moon in Libra in the 3rd house.

The Mars/Jupiter connection created the exquisite sense of tenderness Rudy was able to convey in his screen characters, as well as providing him with strength and stamina. Mars in Cancer alone in the 12th would indicate a retiring nature. However, with Jupiter conjunct it and a Leo ascendant, he was wired to be an extrovert, even though he did require some alone time every day to re-charge his emotional batteries.

Moon in Libra speaks to an affable nature, friendly towards all, which Rudy, by all accounts, most definitely was. And it was in the 3rd house of his chart, ruled by Gemini and reflexively, communication. No wonder Rudy was so facile with languages! His thinking was often deep and complex as indicated by his own writings and musings. His was a lively wit, and he knew how to turn a phrase to his advantage, meaning he always gave people something to think about!

Finally, there is Venus in Gemini in the 11th house. Rudy had a huge number of friends and acquaintances, and he was intrigued by all of them to greater or lesser degrees ~ another reason why it was so easy for him to relate to people. However, he only allowed a few to enter the inner circle, the arena where he gave himself permission to be vulnerable. He approached both beauty and love with great curiosity, a hallmark of Venus in Gemini and formidable asset in his work as an actor.

Mr. Valentino, quite a multi-faceted individual ~ as we all are!

~ Wayne Hatford

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exuberancias Españolas

Luego de un viaje estupendo para España, algunos pensamientos sobre Madrid, ciudad que carece de rascacielos en su centro pero, sin embargo, da al cielo! Las estatuas surtidas, caballos de bronce por ejemplo, los muchos toques decorativos que los arquitectos dispusieron usar para decorar los pisos más altos de casi cada edificio, hacen que uno tiene que levantar los ojos y, al mismo tiempo, perderse en el medio ambiente. Estos detalles ricos que surgen por todas partes: exuberancias españolas! [Read more…]