Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Rudolph Valentino: The Book, The Reviews, The Movie

"Valentino: Dream of Desire" was published in 1998, when the publisher printed just 1,000 copies, the theory being that whilst the subject might be remembered by a few movie enthusiasts, he was hardly big business as he had been dead for over 70 years, and came from an "antiquated movie era". Two days after its publication it was reprinted, again and again. It was published in Australia and the USA, and sales now run into six figures...all thanks to Moira Shearer and Ken Russell.
Moira Shearer ungallantly called Valentino "a pig", for reasons known only to herself. Ken filmed a biopic in 1977, and hit a couple of snags. Pola Negri, still alive, threatened to sue if she was seen in it, going nuts at Rudy's funeral. Ken was also prevented from having Rudy's brother and son in the film ~ the brother was to have been presented as a money-grabbing shyster, the little boy (in the picture below) to be denounced by Rudy as "looking like a chimp at the Bronx Zoo". 
Because of Ken's piece, I was invited to do a show about Valentino in Chicago on 8 November 1998, which happened to be my birthday. A certain lawyer named Obama was in town at several of the events my wife and I attended.
Now, it looks like there will be another Valentino biopic. Rudy will be seen as he really was ~ extroverted, gay but not in the slightest effete, hounded by his rapacious lesbian wives after being forced into lavender marriages by the studio, and threatened by a Tom Parker-style manager who kept him under the thumb and embezzled from his estate because, unless Rudy toed the line, his sexuality would be exposed to the press. Upon my request, there will be NO sex in the film ~ just a few very searching, amorous stares. We do not need to see coal being thrown onto the fire to know that the room is being heated. As for who will be paying the Latin Lover, this is out of my hands, though I have recommended a couple of actor friends who I believe would do a sterling job. 

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