Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Yet Another Musing on The Great Lover

How discreet was Rudolph Valentino? It makes one wonder reading the various first hand eye-witness accounts. Paul Ivano, with his report of Rudolph panicking after Natacha fainted during their love making. George Ullman writing how Rudolph met Mae Murray in the parking lot after a boxing match and they began kissing and then drove off leaving him stranded in the parking lot.

Lou Mahoney saying how after Valentino's death, he took Pola Negri's lingerie which she left in Rudolph's bedroom... home to his wife who sewed them into dresses for their daughter.

Make-up artist Mont Westmore steering Valentino's yacht while overhearing him make love to Nita Naldi below deck.

And Baltasar Cue wrote:

“Rudolph was again fully living the bachelor life and the public often witnessed the accompaniment of a lady actress he might be dating. But the women who would truly gain his attention were, of course, the ones the public did not see. There was one woman one day and another the next, countless women who disputed the honor of being intimate with him.

Whether in Hollywood or in the surrounding area; in his house or in the ladies' homes or his friend's homes, in hotel rooms, in cabarets, in his yacht of such sad history; here these affairs took place to fill him with joy.”

Was this a devil-may-care attitude about sex on Valentino's part or another cultural manifestation? Generalizations are dangerous and I do not want to offend anyone... and I will say today things are changing in Italy thankfully. 

But fact remains, in Italy, prostitution is still somewhat legal and public. It is against the law to pimp but not to prostitute and it is open. I once passed a display kiosk in the street which was full of vintage and antique sex toys and this was in a main, heavily-trafficked part of Turin. Sex for Italian men in general is not tinged with a puritanism element of shame and discretion. It is more about pride and status and discretion does not really factor in. 

I do not mean to be putting Italians down but the freedom to be open about sex is primarily for men in Italian culture. The only public sexual display overtly tolerated for women in Italian culture would be March 8th, the International Women's Day when women are gifted a cheesy spray of mimosa/yellow weed and then many go out to male strip clubs. I think the dichotomy was especially defined back in Valentino's day, but alas for many women it is still too often the case that the rest of the year they are either Madonna or whore.

Just my thought that the oft lack of discretion exhibited by Valentino was not so unusual in his homeland and boy it really played well in America.

12 comments:

  1. It's funny though how he was complaining about not having enough sweethearts LOL. I think he was Hypocritical în many aspect of his life:about his love life, about Natache cheating on him, while he has been cheating probably with quite a few women... I believe this what Manuel Reachi referred to when he said that Rudy basically hadnt been telling the truth most of The time.The truth îs Ive never read about any celebrity dead or alive to have been with so many women. Îs it good, îs it bad? Its rather astonishing.. But he definitely like women... A lot

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    1. Was Valentino hypocritical or was he just exhibiting the sexual freedom permitted to Italian men by their culture that Ms. Zumaya describes in her blogpost? I believe it is the latter. While looking through the safe lens of history, we can see the hypocrisy, but there is no doubt Valentino considered his affairs and his love for Rambova as two separate facets of his life. The brickbats hurled at Rambova for cheating on Valentino come fast and furious from many fans, but one of the main reasons women decide to enter into an affair is because they have been cheated on themselves. I see Rambova's indiscretion motivated by revenge. Valentino's Italian background obviously did not allow for any guilt on his part in the dissolution of the marriage. He lived as most Italian men did at the time and saw nothing wrong with it.

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    2. See Elvis' life history! He and Rudy were two peas in a pod.

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    3. I'm glad she cheated on him. He needed that life experience, to understand what that feels like. Good for her. She took him down a peg and that's exactly what he needed.

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    4. Elvis is a good case in point. He freely cheated on 'Cilla, but went berserk when he found out she decided to have an affair with Mike Stone. The old double standard exists in every culture.

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    5. He certainly did! He had a woman in every city. He'd fly one home on the Hound Dog while flying in her replacement on the Lisa Marie. This was constant and sometimes the women knew about each other and sometimes they didn't. Same with when he was making movies in Hollywood.

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  2. Too bad Rudy didn't come with a rule book for Natacha. Italian women know that you never get caught cheating if you like living. It is not worth the revenge as Natacha found out too late.

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    1. From Wikipedia/Honor Killing/Italy: “Indeed, until 1981, the (Italian) Criminal Code provided for mitigating circumstances for such killings; until 1981 the law read: "Art. 587: He who causes the death of a spouse, daughter, or sister upon discovering her in illegitimate carnal relations and in the heat of passion caused by the offense to his honor or that of his family will be sentenced to three to seven years. The same sentence shall apply to whom, in the above circumstances, causes the death of the person involved in illegitimate carnal relations with his spouse, daughter, or sister.”... so 3-7 years for murder and this law was not changed until 1981.

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    2. Oh jeez. I can't believe it took them that long to remove it. It really is a man's world still to this day. Sucks to be female sometimes.

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  3. One need only observe Valentino’s uncanny, unbroken focus on women in his films to understand their centrality to him. He looks at them as though no other human beings exist. It is astonishing that Emily Leider utterly missed Cue. What a more authentic book Dark Lover might have been. Valentino’s distant relative relied heavily upon Cue in her examination of Valentino’s life, but she left out the all-important last six years (she was supposed to have produced a book covering the full span of Valentino’s life, but like so many others with promises of grand Valentino projects, she never followed through). Instead we have the tiresome portrait of Valentino the platonic pal to women, who only came out to play for trysts with men. What a distortion.

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    1. He knew instinctively that every woman wants a man's laser focus on her as if she is the most desirable, beautiful, amazing woman he has ever laid eyes on. In his films he physically worshipped the female so intensely. Every woman wants that. Listen up all you single gentlemen in the dating world! Go watch some Valentino films!

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  4. Love Cue’s corroboration of the yacht as a place of merrymaking for Valentino!

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