I agree with a lot of this review. However, I do believe Valentino could have easily played a young man in college. It certainly would have made Cobra much more interesting.
The reviewer does have a point: Valentino chose to do this film. "His life - although probably not an easy one - is in his own hands." We can only wonder why he agreed to such a huge script change. While it shows he was in charge of his career, and not a hapless puppet in the hands of unscrupulous handlers, it also tells us he was capable of making some unfortunate decisions.
I think if he had lived, he would have obviously made many more movies. Cobra would probably have slipped into a larger body of work he could have accomplished in the following years. Natacha and Rudy were producers at a very young age and had some lessons to learn and Joseph Henabery called them, "babes in the woods." I think it is fairly normal to be that in your twenties.
Good point, Evelyn. I think we tend to forget how young this couple really was. Cobra could have been a learning experience for them both.
I hate to say it, but it might be Natacha's doing. This was at the time when he was really listening to her. I find it hard to believe that he also didn't realize that Norma was having a hard time of it. He did understand women. He trusted Natacha. She wanted a costume film. She also got to design a beautiful nightclub scene. Something doesn't add up.
4:06 I completely agree. Many things do not add up and that is why it seemed intriguing to me. The rejection of that James Young script really did seem something Natacha would have initiated. I went over my thoughts on her possible motives in the podcast. Norma's daughter says her mother and Valentino had contact after Cobra and she spoke kindly about her friendship with him. She had a radio show exchange with him in 1925 which I included in the book. She did move on.
I believe Natacha felt Rudy looked better in period costumes and, of course, she was a superb designer of those costumes. The main problem with Cobra was the revised script. It's just dull and ponderous. It's the last 15 minutes of the film that most people remember: Naldi's seduction scene, her death, and Valentino's mournful farewell. But even these scenes are stretched out too long.
I loved the opening scene in Italy. Rudy toasting a beautiful woman who caught his eye. Rudy wearing a beret being comedic. Then it turns into a boring and unbelievable costume scene. "All the men in my family are irresistible to women." Scrimpy office sets with an unrealistic seduction scene that wasn't even hot. All made worse now that I know there could have been a Valentino shower scene!