Tuesday, December 14, 2021

On That "International Riot"

In 1948, Adolphe Menjou penned his autobiography, It Took Nine Tailors in which he included memories of working with Valentino in The Sheik. Menjou's political beliefs would relegate him to a precarious position in Hollywood history and more about that in his Wiki page.

But I always found Menjou's willingness to take out an option on Valentino after The Sheik an interesting footnote in Valentino's history. According to Menjou, Valentino was so insecure and anxious over his success in the film he confided in his co-star. This would be understandable if for one major point; this was after he made Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It just seems incongruous to me, as apparently it did to Menjou, that Valentino was not being recognized by movie moguls as the “sensation” and talented young star he was.

Granted an option of thirty days is not a long time. But Menjou was powerful enough he could have come up with a project for Valentino in that time frame. I wonder what movie Menjou would have made starring Valentino?

If Jesse Lasky had no future interest in promoting Valentino past The Sheik, how would Valentino's career have progressed? And when his next project might have been one produced by Adolphe Menjou? At what point did the controversy surrounding Valentino begin? Would that little option by Menjou have prevented Valentino from suffering Sheik madness?

From It Took Nine Tailors:

Menjou and his second wife, Kathryn Carver in 1928