VALENTINO1. Aside from acting, what skill was Valentino famous for (and no, I don’t mean lovemaking)?2. True or False. Valentino attracted a large number of fans from both sexes.3. How did Valentino respond to his critics?4. Name one of Valentino’s ﬁlms mentioned in the article.5. True or False. Valentino died young.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocaplyse, 1921 Blood and Sand, 1922 The Shiek, 1922
“Women were like ﬂies to a honeypot. He could never shake them off, no matter where he went.” Jack Dempsey“ Here was onewho was catnipto women.” HL Menken “...triumphantly seductive. Puts the lovemaking of the average husband...as tame, ﬂat and unimpassioned.”
“IT (THE VATICAN) REGARDS HIS POPULARITY, WITH A CROWD OF YOUNGGIRLS CRAZY ABOUT HIM, AS A SIGN OF THE DECADENCE OF THE TIME.” THE NEW YORK TIMES, COVERAGE OF VALENTINO’S FUNERAL
general xenophobiathe “slag in the melting pot” of America
challengedsuperiority of American male
Tapped into awakeningIn an era in which eugenicsand notions of racial purity female sexualitycame to the foreground inAmerican social discoursethese men of suspiciousforeign origin were thoughtto be an insidious threat tothe nation. Their ability tosexually entice America’swomen meant that thelatter were weakening intheir will to fulﬁll theirprimary charge: keeping thenation’s blood pure.Gaylen Studlar, “‘The PerfectLover?’ Valentino and Ethnic Masculinity in the 1920s”
DISMISSED AS THE “SHE-MAN”“Do women like thetype of ‘man’ who patspink powder on his facein a public washroomand arranges his coiffurein a publicelevator?....What hasbecome of the old ‘caveman’ line?"
THE MOLLYCODDLE, THE LOUNGE LIZARD, AND THE CAKE EATER“These are the maleingenues, the civilianwearers of wrist watches,the cigarstand Romeos,the disporters of pink silkhandkerchiefs in a cornercoyly protruding from thebreast pocket, the smokersof perfumed cigarettes,and nine out of ten ofthem are ‘dancing justsimply divinely.’” Randolph Bartlett, Photoplay, 1919
DISMISSED AS MISPLACED MATERNAL INSTINCT“Why do girls love Rudolf so? Thereason why - (they do not know!) ...Thecold, hard truth of the secret of hischarm is that Rudolf Valentino appealsto the Maternal Instinct ofEVERYWOMAN...What a woman reallywants to do for Rudolf is to bandage hiswounds; comfort him; stroke that well-brushed hair; spank him; proudly showhim off. “ (Hansen, 262)
DISMISSED AS GAY“Why didn’t someone quietly drown Rudolph Gugleilmo, a.k.a. Valentino, years ago. Better to be ruled by masculine women than effeminate man.” Chicago Tribune editorial, 1926
“I do not blame women for all this. I blame the American man.He cannot hold a woman, dominate and rule her. Naturallythings have come to a pretty pass. He is impossible as a lover.He cares nothing for pleasing a woman. He is not master in hisown house...He expects to feed a woman on the husks left frombusiness and gold and money, and satisfy her!In his blindness therefore, he despises the young European whocomes here. He laughs at him, makes fun of him, calls himinsulting names. Why? Because this man, versed and trained inall that goes to make everything from the lightest philanderingto the deepest armour, exquisite and entertaining and delicate,this man--what do you say-- shows him up? Yes?” Rudolph Valentino, Photoplay 1922
THE WOMAN-MADE MANﬁrst wife was an actress,Jean Acker -- a lesbiancharged with bigamywhen he tried to marry2nd wife, NatachaRambova“owed” his career toscreenwriter June Mathis“A Maker of Young Men”he was very fashionconscious
“These narratives indicated a path for masculinity tofollow in the transition from Old World sensuality toNew World functionality. They established thatmasculine identities based on violence and greed aredestructive and condemned the cultural forces thatpromoted these qualities. More important, theypresented strong women who possess the courageand values needed to recontruct masculinity in amore positive fashion.”Thomas Slater, June Mathis’ Valentino Scripts: Images of Male ‘Becoming’ After the War
“Women are not in love with me but with the pictureof me on the screen. I am merely the canvas onwhich women paint their dreams.” Rudolph Valentino, 1923
THE SHIEKHow are Ahmed and Dianasimilar when this movie begins?How does the setting of thismovie explain Ahmed’s actions?What does Diana know ofpassion before she meetsAhmed?What does captivity mean inthis movie?What must Ahmed learn?What must Diana learn?
“Rudy looks to me wicked because he’s not anAmerican.”“And as for Rudolph Valentino, I doubt whether hecould earn a living outside of a motion picture studioor a dance hall.”