Tuesday, May 3, 2022

On Movie Ambitions

Rudolph Valentino could certainly make an aspiring actress' dream come true. I titled a chapter in Norma, "Touched by the Hand of Rudolph Valentino." How many extras or others who appeared in his movies found the roles because they met the man? 


Thank you to a sharp reader who found the Smart Set cover by Henry Clive of Ruth Waddell!

25 comments:

  1. Was Rudy interested in helping Waddell break into motion pictures or was he just interested in Waddell? This article is a classic example of winking nuance.

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  2. Fascinating. I suspect that there were far more of these kinds of spontaneous visits paid by Valentino to fair young maidens with aspirations of stardom than we will ever know.

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    1. I think there is another instance in Nice when Valentino was wooing a prospective actress in the Hotel Negresco.

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    2. Yes, Rambova’s mother recounted the Hotel Negresco incident in Rambova’s book. On a side note, it is rather strange (in my opinion) that Rambova allowed her mother to step in and take over her book intermittently with her reminiscences. I would much rather have heard exclusively from Rambova.

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    3. Comment 3:26, is this the incident that occurred on New Years Eve in the piano bar, when Mrs. Hudnut discovered Valentino, thoroughly lit, telling a young woman that she ought to go to Hollywood, while Natacha was holding court, surrounded by a horde of young men?

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    4. Yes, this is the New Year’s Eve incident. Again, very odd that it was recounted by Valentino’s mother in law and that she seemed so pleased and amused by it. Rambova’s mother seems to have been quirky and strange, and not in a pleasant way.

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    5. Skye Masterson, I agree with you. This is pure speculation, of course, but I have always sensed a bit of tension between mother and daughter. Mrs. Hudnut always seemed to be cultivating her relationship with Valentino, more than that with Natacha. I wonder if it was a shock to her when she learned Aunt Teresa was named a beneficiary in his will.

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    6. George Ullman believed Valentino named Aunt Teresa in the will knowing if there was ever a dime left she would see it was given to Natacha. I am not so sure I agree with that because in the court records it was revealed that at the time of his death Valentino was paying the mortgage on Aunt Teresa's home in Los Angeles. I think he wanted to ensure she would never lose her home. Muzzie on the other hand was extremely wealthy.

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    7. I agree with comment 2:50, tension indeed. I think Natacha was always resentful that her mother abandoned her in a boarding school in a foreign country for her entire childhood.

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    8. Skye Masterson - I agree with you, Mrs. Rambova does seem to have been a very unpleasant person. And then the daughter Winifred turned out even worse.

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    9. Mrs. Rambova?

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    10. Comment at 4:29. A very typical Terhune punching down of Natacha.

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    11. Not sure Terhune would know who Nathan Detroit is, but the misogyny is spot on. It's either him or his stooge, DB.

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    12. Typical ! Seeing how Terhune hates Natasha.

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    13. Or Simon Constable.

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  3. Only Valentino could give special meaning to the old line, "You ought to be in pictures."

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    1. Undoubtedly even the most jaded of women would find herself a believer if those words came to her from Valentino.

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    2. Maybe these are some of the women Baltasar Cue referred to, that the public never knew about.

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    3. I'm sure there were lots of women the public never knew about. It amazes me that 100 years later, there are so-called experts who think they know everything Valentino did in private.

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    4. They never read The Floris books to learn anything new, imo they just make assumptions.

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  4. But frankly I am not interested in the " others " , I will just enjoy the wonderful books of the Floris.

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  5. I wonder whatever happened to Ruth Waddell.

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  6. Thank you indeed to the sharp reader for the Waddell cover! It is beautiful. With regard to Rambova and her mother; Winifred Sr. may have been one of those parents who wants nothing to do with the rearing of infants/young children, but is perfectly delighted to have the company and attachment of an adult child. It cannot be denied that the senior Winifred was unstinting in her loyalty and provision of emotional and financial support to the adult Rambova, as well as being very present in Rambova’s life (one might argue, too present). Someone once pointed out that Rambova only lived 10 or so additional years after her mother died. This suggests a deep attachment between the two, and that, whatever her ambivalences, Rambova’s bond with her mother was the most essential of her life.

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  7. How I wish Waddell had offered up her recollections of her one hour plus “consultation” with Valentino!

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    1. Absolutely! Also, it appears Miss Waddell, like Norma Niblock, considered Mary Pickford more of an influence than a flapper like Clara Bow.

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