06 May 2012

6 May - Rudolph Valentino

Born today in 1895 in Castellaneta, Italy…

(Take a deep breath)

Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Gugliemi di Valentina d’Antonguolla

And since that would not fit on a marquee and still leave room for the movie title, he was known simply as


Emoting on the Silent Screen in the ‘20s, the Latin Lover made my teenage grandmother go weak in the knees.

You can read about his short life at Wikipedia and a more colorful bio at IMDb.  His death at the young age of 31 when he was arguably at the top of his form, caused an hysteric reaction in his fans; to add to his mythology, for years a woman in black would bring a red rose to his crypt.

After bit parts and limited success, Valentino played the lead in "The Sheik", his defining role.  You can watch the full movie here (it's 86 minutes long, so grab your favorite beverage and get comfortable.)

(There are more clips on youtube of the Latin Lover, including several of him dancing, another art form which made grandmother swoon and great-grandfather mutter uncomplimentary names.)

For more information, check out Falcon Lair - the Rudolph Valentino Homepage and The Rudolph Valentino Society.

And if you’ve never read “The Sheik” by Edith M. Hull [quite shocking when it was published], you can increase your knowledge by enjoying it online at Public Bookshelf or at Project Gutenberg (where you can also download it.)

(Grandmother's fantasy)