Lecture 11   valentino
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  • \n
  • dancing\nfalse - men did not like him\nAmerican men don’t like me because I show them up.\nThe 4 Horsemen of the Apocaplyse, Blood and Sand, The Shiek, \nTrue.\n\n\n
  • Here, we have another type of Horatio Algiers story. But, he would not be celebrated in the same way that Chaplin or Lloyd would be celebrated.\nBorn of French mother and Italian father in Italy. Father was a vet. Died when Valentino was 11. He ran off to Paris, then landed at Ellis Island in NYC when he was 18. He was penniless.\n
  • Made a living as a taxi dancer at Maxim’s in New York. Eventually made his way to Los Angeles. Made his money by dancing, teaching women to dance - definitely a bit of a jigolo.\nBefore making his way to LA, he got involved with a married heiress who ended up shooting her husband. He left for LA to escape having to testify.\n
  • His career would eventually be launched in 1921 with the Four Horseman. Would play the Latin lover, powerful, dominating. Interestingly enough, most of his biggest hits were written by a woman.\n
  • \n
  • Would die young at the age of 31 of peritonitis. Hoards of female fans pressed into see his body. (SHOW CLIP FROM DVD OF FUNERAL) Men were less impressed. As the first, dark-skinned foreigner to be cast as screen hero instead of villain, Valentino inspired a loyal fan base as well as an organized opposition from parents, clergy, and conservative organizations such as The Daughters of the American Revolution, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, The Boy Scouts, the United Presbyterian Church , The Catholic Knights of Columbus and The General Federation of Women's Clubs.\n
  • Why was his Horatio Algier story not embraced? Why the paranoia?\nThe same year The Sheik premiered in Hollywood, 1921, Congress fueled the uproar by passing a discriminatory immigration bill, The Emergency Quota Act which limited the number of Italian immigrants. With an influx of Italian immigrants straining urban infrastructures and overpopulating an already difficult job market, anti-Italian sentiment ran high. Temperance organizations portrayed Italians as excessive drinkers and fundamentalist Protestants labeled them “agents of the Pope”.\n
  • World War I, overly optimistically called "the war to end all wars," not only did not succeed in ending all wars, it marked the beginnings of new kinds of warfare, new kinds of tactics, new kinds of weapons, new means of destruction. While we emerged from that war victorious, we did not emerge unscathed. Earnest Hemingway and others would call the 20s the LOST GENERATION - partially because of all the boys that didn’t come home.\n\n
  • “...part of a wider public debate that centered on the stereotype of the degenerate man who was “dancing just simply divinely and, it was agreed, seducing American womanhood into rejecting the sincere, stalwart American man.” Think about the men we’ve seen in movies so far. The innocent (Chaplin), the hard-working (Griffith), the sports enthusiast (Fairbanks), the All-American man (Lloyd). Not pre-occupied with being a good lover or anything perceived as feminine.\n
  • American men were supposed to be modeled after the "cowboy" type - the American man was "real" in a way that his European counterpart in gender was not. In a holdover from the Victorian idea of separate spheres, the American male was (supposedly) attractive to the female precisely because he was aggressive, a go-getter. Art and literature were passive activities and therefore part of a "feminine" realm. (Fashion had been a "feminine" pursuit since the early 19th century - at least in the "superior" Anglo-Saxon culture.)\n
  • The sexual revolution for women in the 1920s had its ripple effects among men. For the first time, women were able to express desire in public - and they did so, especially for movie stars. A movie star could basically subsist off his appeal to the opposite sex - a role that had been previously confined to the gigolo. Another profoundly frightening aspect of the male movie star was how profoundly feminine he was. The "man" that movie-going women seemed attracted to was powdered, lipsticked, and otherwise made up for the camera. The insinuation was that the "she-man" type didn't mind making up off-screen, either:\n
  • They would walk out of his performances. Disgusted by him. Men saw Valentino as both threatening because women were attracted to him and he wasn’t supposed to be what was attractive.\n
  • quote from film historian Miriam Hansen - she’s quoting main stream press - as is the document pictured.\n
  • an anonymously written editorial appeared in The Chicago Tribune a few weeks before his death. The article blamed the appearance of pink powder vending machines in men's bathrooms on Valentino’s influence. and read in part, Valentino challenged the author to a boxing duel, never happened. Actor died. \n
  • May have actually been written by a studio ghostwriter\n
  • Valentino’s personal life helped contribute to this feminized image.\nJean married him to get out of lesbian triangle, supposedly never consummated marriage supposedly\nIn keeping with his heritage, Valentino demonstrated his success by wearing chain bracelets, a wrist watch, colored shirts and ties. However, the predominately white, Anglo-Saxon male establishment at the time adamantly held that beauty in America had but one gender and that was feminine.\n
  • Despite the vitriol. Males imitated his look. became known as the “vaselino” look\n
  • And Hollywood white males began to assume the role of exotic lover. Began to rival Valentino’s success.\nThief of Bagdad (Fairbanks), The Cossacks (John Gilbert), The Night of Love (Ronald Colman). Anglo saxon males began to take on his characteristics and replace him in the roles he had been playing. Instead of rejecting Valentino, ended up folding him into our lexicon.\n
  • the “more important” - Slater’s opinion.\n
  • died depressed and haunted. Was I a powder puff?\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n

Lecture 11 valentino Presentation Transcript

  • 1. VALENTINOWhere Good Dancers Go to Die
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. RUDOLPH VALENTINO
  • 4. The Four Horsemen of the Apocaplyse, 1921 Blood and Sand, 1922 The Shiek, 1922
  • 5. “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.”
  • 6. “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
  • 7. general xenophobiathe “slag in the melting pot” of America
  • 8. woundedpatriarchy
  • 9. challengedsuperiority of American male
  • 10. 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”
  • 11. 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?"
  • 12. 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
  • 13. 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)
  • 14. 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
  • 15. “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
  • 16. 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
  • 17. “VASELINO”
  • 18. “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
  • 19. “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
  • 20. 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?
  • 21. “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.”
  • 22. JUNE MATHIS