Friday, 30 December 2011

Like Fine Wine...Rudolph Valentino...

Women are not in love with me but with the picture of me on the screen. I am merely the canvas on which women paint their dreams.  --- Rudolph Valentino

Although Rudolph Valentino never lived long enough to age into his autumn years or beyond, I thought--browsing through photos of him taken throughout his life--he really did mature just as beautifully as a fine wine.

Most of us know THE Valentino of film glory. The first screen lover to break the mold of the wholesome boy next door the public had become accustomed to in early film. He was the first Latin Lover. To most--inlcuding this girl--he still, to this day, is the only Latin Lover and cannot be usurped from his position of celluloid sexuality.

But for those who aren't familiar with his life--with the stages which show a remarkable maturing and, more importantly, a very obvious growth in elegance and style--I wanted to spotlight him as my Like Fine Wine subject.

Would you believe this photo was the future Love God, the screen legend, the sachem of hearts? Yes, this is Valentino in 1913 on his way to America. Only here he was not Rudolph Valentino (later to be his screen name), but was Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina D'Antonguolla. Try saying THAT three times fast. Whew.

He was a kid alone in a big, new country. Scared. But he worked his way through life with any job he could get his hands on. Even gardening. He dreamed of having his own vineyard.

Young Taxi Dancer Rudolpho.

Utilizing his dark---and very foreign----good looks, the young man began work as a taxi dancer. Dancing for money. Wooing women. Different accounts report he did many other things for money during this period, but it remains to be proven.

With the sleepiest bedroom eyes in the world, how could he have missed fame? To this day, one of the most incredibly sensual men to have ever lived.

Valentino wanted to be in movies--the bright, shiny new penny of indutries--and hung around motion picture studios, taking work as an extra and small roles whenever he could.

Beginning to show more refinement. Still the exotic beauty.

And then---and then---his life became the stuff dreams are made of.

Screenwriter June Mathis, one of the most powerful women in the industry, spotted young Rudy in a nondescript role in a film. She was overwhelmedw with his dark beauty and used her influence to push for him as the lead in the anxiously awaited motion picture The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This was a film even the top stars of motion pictures vied for. But Mathis knew her man, she knew what would make the film work. And she was right.

Valentino was cast---a virtual unknown---as Julio Desnoyers. Mathis' gut feeling paid off. A star was born.


Rudy in his famous tango scene from The Four Horsemen...The role that put his sopt on the map forever as the Love God.

He went on to make more films, all memorable. In all of them, he stole the scenes...

He was SO believable on screen, SO handsome, even the famous Nazivoma had him deleted from her famous death scene because his charismatic presence would steal her thunder.

He married a woman with a name as exotic as his own, Natacha Rambova.

The role for which he is perhaps most famous. The Sheik. Sweeping onto the screen as the hero of Edith Maude Hull's famous erotic novel, he took the world by storm...again. Women craved to be taken by their very own desert sheik, men hated him.

He played opposite THE Gloria Swanson in Beyond the Rocks. The public adored the pairing of their two screen darlings. But it was their only chance to co-star.

Blood and Sand as the fated Juan Gallardo. Getting more and more handsome by the minute.

While the public knew him mostly as the man behind the heavy actor's makeup, the real man--the Valentino on the street--was a suave, toned-down shadow of the screen's smoldering heartthrob. But still as handsome, if not more so.

A goatee. New look, started a craze in men's fashion. The sleek hair and goatee. Barbers protested, as more and more men started to go for this look and they lost business.

The real man loved to work on cars, and loved to buy elite foreign automobiles. And was quite the dangerous driver, as it's told he refused to wear glasses for his poor vision.

His last role, The Son of the Sheik, a sequel to The Sheik. He died the year this film was released.

Valentino died while on a trip to New York to promote his last film. Only thirty one years old.

Although he never had the chance to reach old age, he still matured through his short years and left the world with an unforgettable image of true beauty, potent sensuality and unmistakable class.

He died so very young, yet that brief life was just long enough to create a household name that still whispers romance and sets pulses racing...Rudolph Valentino.

This photo says it all.



Dorien Grey said...

Very nice tribute, Carol! And fascinating photos. Plus his quote at the beginning....good job!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Even now, as an older woman, my heart flutters. Not too many screen stars can do that. James Dean, Valentino, Brando. Okay, they make my heart flutter to the point I end up giggling. Very embarrassing.

Happy New Year, dear Carol.

Unknown said...


You know I love ya. You know how long I have admired Valentino. When I see a site as lovely as this one, it makes me realize how much he has effected our lives. It makes me proud to be your lifetime friend.

Dominic Caruso...

C. Zampa said...

Dominic! What a lovely surprise to see you!

I love you as well, and---yes---lifetime friends we are.

And Valentino surely has been an inspiration for both our lives. Hey. he's how we met! We owe him one!