Thursday, January 20, 2022

"The Adventures of a Star"

Renato has translated the following article as it appeared in the Parisian newspaper, Le Figaro, on September 21, 1922, in the section relating to life in the United States. The author muses over the advertising opportunities of Valentino's troubled marital situation and mentions it could be the invention of a clever manager. At the time of this article the only person “managing” Valentino was Doug Gerrard and he was not acting in any official capacity. I think if Valentino had a working manager then things would not have been so disastrous. The author relates a scenario he alleges took place for the benefit of reporters which he claims took place at a pier with Rudy and Natacha.

In September 1922, Rudy and Natacha were not heading to Europe together. But maybe a trip was contemplated at some point; a trip which did not happen and the journalist claims it was a set-up for publicity.

But this is the first time this quizzical article has appeared anywhere in English and thank you Renato!

The Adventures of a Georges Pierredon

"Rudolph Valentino is the young, most fashionable star in the world of American cinema. Is he, in life, as charming as on the screen? It depends on one's taste. Because he has a rather heavy nose, a strong oriental look, and his appearance shines neither with an extreme vivacity or by a domineering aspect.

But when you're famous, you don't have to be beautiful. You are always loved too much.

Rudolph Valentino, for reasons of his own, divorced a few months ago, a normal fact in the United States and in the world of cinema.

Once divorced, he understood that the laws of the state of California, in which he was divorced, did not allow remarrying until after a year. He then left for Mexico which is close to California. There he married an exquisite young girl, Miss Winifred Hudnut, who uses the cinematographic and theatrical pseudonym of Natacha Rambova (Russia is very popular in the United States).

But as soon as Valentino returned to California, the authorities were notified (and also the vice police) and it was discovered his divorce would only be valid in California after a year. He could have committed bigamy and the authorities were going to lock him up, as well as his young wife.

Valentino had to send the charming Natacha to a less severe state and he told the California authorities he had only sinned by ignorance of the law. With a little help (Valentino is very useful to his managers) things improved. But Valentino is ordered to live several months apart from his young wife, until he was legally divorced.

However, we have just learned that, under the influence of chance and the gods, the two young semi-marrieds found themselves in New York. Immediately, with great emotion and deep sensation, forty reporters set off after Rudolph and Natacha, who can no longer live in peace and alone. This is excellent for the advertisement of Valentino, and one begins to wonder if it is not to his manager that Rudolph owes half of his troubles.

The young woman decides to leave for Europe. She and Rudolph board a steamer. We interview and photograph them. Then they retire to their cabin. At the last moment, Rudolph descends from the boat, mingles with the people who appear from the second class area. No one recognizes him. The reporters are stunned. The same evening, we discover the farce. New sensation. New photos. New articles.

What now, will the impresario of Valentino do to astonish the reporters and the crowds?

Max Linder once tried to reach a ship by plane. He missed his chance. We offer Valentino a suggestion. He could go and wait for his young wife on the open sea, near the Nantucket flagship, disguised as a pilot or even a castaway.

If Valentino even disappeared that day, in a storm, the film would be more complete and the advertising even more intense. But the impresario, the advertising manager, as they say on the other side of the pond, will he go that far? And will he kill the goose that lays the golden eggs after such a whirlwind?

Everything is possible, from the point of view of advertising. It suffices to understand the very spirit of American advertising to see these phenomenal events in an honorably commercial aspect."

Georges Pierredon

(Below the original article)