Thursday, May 19, 2022

Here's to You, Ms. DeRecqueville!

A nod to Jeanne De Recqueville's Valentino biography which Renato translated and I edited. As Renato wisely noted, he felt De Recqueville was more of a witness than a biographer. What she witnessed made her book such a valuable source, it has been referenced in every single Valentino biography since her book's publication. 

Until our English translation, her book was confined to a French speaking audience. Despite this, it was considered a solid source and I read it years ago with a French dictionary in hand. She covered many events in Valentino's life from a French press vantage point, communicated with many key characters in the Valentino story who knew him personally and knew him well. These people included Jacques Hebertot, Andre Daven, Robert Florey, Alberto Valentino, Dr. Howard Meeker. 

For example this letter (see below) written by Rene Clair in defense of Valentino during the "Francophobe" incident. De Recqueville's documentation of Florey's betrayal of Valentino and the reason he was consequently fired is ground-breaking material. To share but a few pages:


De Recqueville was also the first person to investigate Valentino's true sexual orientation. She breaks down the anonymously written and fictional La Presse article which contributed  heavily to the false narrative on this subject. She wrote to Rene Clair, Hebertot, Florey and asked for the truth. This also makes her book an historical documentation of these people's replies. For example this from Rene Clair (translation below in Renato's comment) basically replying that in regards to the rumor Valentino was gay; this is something purported by people who did not know him.

De Recqueville's first hand accounts from these people who knew Valentino well are remarkable as well as her documentation of the Valentino French press; including coverage from publications of the day such as "Bonsoir, Theater", "Comoedia Illustres", "Paris-Journal". The additional documentation of various 1970's cultural Valentino influences is fascinating and unique. 

I say "Cin! Cin!" Ms. De Recqueville for your fabulous documentation! And "Cin! Cin!" to Renato for giving it all to us in English. 


28 comments:

  1. Agree 100% Thankyou to Renato and Evelyn for translating Derecquevilles book.

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  2. Jeanne DeRecqueville's bio of Valentino is a marvelous source for information. DeRecqueville is also the first contemporary biographer to actually see Valentino when he and Rambova visited Milan in 1923. As a young girl, she peered at him through a window as he and Rambova were visiting antique shops.

    "I recognized Rudy as a shock, really I did. Even without the costume of the Sheik, he had a gait, a step of extraordinary grace which belonged only to him"

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    1. That is one of the best anecdotes in her book. !

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  3. Took German in High SchoolMay 19, 2022 at 9:20 PM

    Can someone translate the Rene Clair letter?

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    1. "Madam,
      I knew Rudolph Valentino very well when he came to France and I am not aware of anything that could justify the malice and slander spread about him, I believe it is from people who did not know him.
      Yours sincerely,
      René Clair"

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    2. Took German in High SchoolMay 19, 2022 at 9:44 PM

      Thank you, Renato!

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    3. Speaks Pigeon EnglishMay 20, 2022 at 1:46 AM

      You are very fortunate to have a partner with the multilinguistic skills of Mr. Floris!

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    4. Yes, indeed! Mr. Floris is as much a master at maneuvering around through Google Translate as Ms. Zumaya is with her use of research via Wikipedia. Nothing wrong with using the tools at hand.

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    5. ***Well, well 2:03, another monument offered up by you to prove I am 100% right about the attempts to torment Renato and I. There you go, living proof. Since Renato and I are happy and thriving, your efforts fail miserably and you and yours just continue to prove me right again and again. Thankfully we have full lives and are not relegated to spending our days trolling a blog of someone we do not like so we can leave snarky comments. Life is too short for that kind of nonsense.

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    6. Nuttin' But Blue SkyesMay 20, 2022 at 2:34 AM

      Speaking of tools, 2:03, how does it feel to be one?

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    7. 2:03 keeps peddling her wares, but there are no buyers. No one could stand her even when she was permitted on the forums. Every word out of her mouth a bald faced, self aggrandizing lie. She was savagely banished, years ago now, from her former perches and by her former colleagues of the Valentino Studies Community. She crawls out of her trailer periodically to hurl insults at Zumaya and Floris. This is what passes for kicks and fulfillment for her.

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    8. To 2:03 get a life instead of showing your discontent and jealousy,

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    9. Bullying is not funny. Mocking people is the very lowest form of humor.

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    10. I know how the Floris feel, that happened to me when I was growing up in a small town. Not fun at all!

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    11. I wouldn't be very concerned with the garbage that comes out of the Terhune led VSC. Today on their MAtB branch, they've been debating about if John Barrymore's and Orson Welles' childhood pictures look like Rudy as a child. Predictably, they are tripping up all over themselves.
      Not much substance found with the VSC.

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    12. Comment 1:01 - Again??!!

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    13. A Paige From JanisMay 21, 2022 at 2:50 AM

      "Not much substance found with the VSC"
      ....the membership is a reflection of their relic hoarding leader.

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    14. Princess BumblebeeMay 21, 2022 at 4:23 AM

      Mind blowing that arguing over whether a photo of Barrymore is actually a photo of Valentino constitutes the highest form of scholarship of the Greater Valentino Studies Community. This inane topic has been on the agenda for decades, and is revisited at least once a month. Still no resolution from the steel trap minds of the scholars.

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    15. I did enjoy that discussion they had on De Recqueville's book...oh, wait. That was here. My bad.

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    16. I believe they have nothing better to discuss because they cannot take credit for Evelyn' s discoveries. And they cannot steal her work because they would be sued for plagiarism if they did.

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    17. They are not allowed to discuss anything on those websites. It shows seeing they go over the same arguments.

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    18. WE (should) NEVER FORGET:
      The "Crypt Keeper" is also the "Gate Keeper" for what's allowed in VSC discussions.

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  4. Princess BumblebeeMay 19, 2022 at 9:27 PM

    Anthony Quinn’s claim to have met Valentino as a child and been blessed as an actor by him is bogus crapola, of the George Raft variety. What’s more, Quinn claimed to have looked like Valentino (as if coarse features and a blunt face were anything close to Valentino). Even his false humility in claiming to have been pressed to play Valentino on film and declining because he had the intelligence to recognize he lacked the stature to do so is self congratulatory hooey. George Raft made an almost identical claim. It seems Valentino has been and will be forever the victim of those concocting links to him in an effort to elevate their stature.

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  5. Too bad De Recqueville could not participate in the previous discussion on this blog about Valentino as Icon. The documentation printed above of Valentino influences especially illustrates what an impact he has had on men in all cultures. Giving oneself or another person accolades for the tiniest similarity, connection, or association with Valentino seems to be the highest honor attainable, whether true or not.

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    1. Yes indeed, her opinion would have been interesting.

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  6. It is a coup for sincere Valentino fans to have a translation of DeRecqueville's book and to be able to read for ourselves what it really says. For years, it was used by certain vacuous hucksters as a source for their contention that Valentino had an affair with Andre Daven. These figured since no one would ever read it, they could peddle whatever fabrication they wanted and no one would be the wiser. Thanks to the Floris' for breaking up that confederacy of twits.

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    1. Michael Morris lamented many times that it was not in English and was the first to encourage us to do the book. He referenced it in Madam Valentino. He was also the person who told me to get a copy and read it! Even in French.

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  7. As an extra bonus in De Recqueville's book, Ms. Zumaya has included her discovery of Italian filmmaker, Cassio, a distant cousin of Valentino's. Natacha Rambova appeared in one of his films as a tribute to Valentino. Check it out. It's a fascinating story.

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