Valentino Filmography: “The Conquering Power”

Metro Pictures, 1921 ~ directed by Rex Ingram. Valentino comments on his role, certain aspects of the story line, and a couple of the personalities that were involved in the project some 90 years after the fact.

“Well, there certainly was a lot of excess around that shoot, from the feverish visions of Rex Ingram, which translated in numerous ways, to the actual props that stood in for Père Grandet’s gold. A somewhat flat effort though the premise was extremely worthwhile. Alice (Alice Terry, Ingram’s wife) and I did know how to dovetail, meaning we were very complimentary on an energetic level. And, she was very adept at displaying an angelic countenance. Me = the ‘roué,’ personifying the height of excess from the other side of the coin. As opposed to my uncle in the film, I was both spendthrift and libertine.

I did find the big party scene amusing, especially certain images, and there were all sorts of little details I added, sometimes much to Rex’s consternation or chagrin. A potboiler in some sense yet the basic story, the redeeming quality of love, overshadowed the proceedings. Metro brass kept their hands off this one so the final product was mostly Rex’s, petulant as he sometimes could be. The script was a little creaky as novels often create that effect when turned into screenplays. Virile I was in that part though dandified too. My comeuppance forced me to re-assess, and the purity of love I realized with Alice’s character smote me, in the best way possible. I was transfigured, and transformed, by the love of a good woman. Gold, on the other hand, was an instrument of death, as it actually often is, in one manner or another.” ~ Rudolph Valentino

This film is also referred to in the essay on “Eyes” in “Valentino Speaks.”

“In one of my films, I wore a monocle. Very fitting because in that role my character’s sight was limited due to the circumstances of his birth. However, with the help of love, the conquering power, he eventually learned to use both of his eyes to see what was before him.” ~ Rudolph Valentino