Wednesday, June 22, 2022

"Somewhat Hidden in his Tiny Office..."

In The True Rudolph Valentino by Baltasar Cue, he includes an article titled, “My Last Visit with Rudolph Valentino” which I excerpt.

“It was on the eve of Valentino's last trip from Los Angeles to New York, when I surprised him, somewhat hidden, in his tiny office attached to the rich library of his brand new mansion, Falcon Lair; perched high above the populated city of Beverly Hills. He was writing a love letter by hand and I could not help noticing it began with the eternal words, "My love," in English. It was not inscribed to his beloved Pola Negri. Was, then, the 'Sheik', in the disposition which most characterized him, in life as well as on screen?”

...on p. 149, Cue writes:

“Pola Negri entered her boyfriend's office that day and saw on his desk the letter which began with the eternal words "My love," as it was addressed to another woman. She did not pluck a single hair from the Italian actor's head! She remained as calm as if the epistle was something required as a prop for some movie. 

Did she know it had a different significance, that it was destined for a real person and that Valentino was not working for any movie at the time? Probably, Pola could not conceive that Rudolph could love another woman and this was the reason for her unheardof trust.

Once, when she visited the studio where the movie The Son of the Sheik was being completed, she arrived just at the time when Valentino and Vilma Banky were engaged in an enviously tight and long-lasting kiss. Those around Pola at the time watched to see her reaction to such a situation. Very calmly and with a broad smile showing her confident happiness, the Polish actress told them, "He kisses Vilma, but he thinks of me.”

I guess the love letter could have been written to a number of women, but it makes me wonder who. Did the reconciliation with Natacha begin sooner, was this a secret lover who was never known publicly? Who was the lady and did she receive her love letter. And more to the point, where is that letter today?

The events in Falcon Lair before Valentino left for New York on his final trip east, as witnessed by Baltasar Cue make his account unique. Baltasar Cue's reputation as a respected journalist opened some doors for him as far as interviews and in the case of Valentino; an autobiography. Cue was not a gossip columnist, not a reporter rushing about trying to get some scoop. He was distinguished, hard working, sought after and talented. The "team's" efforts to demean the man by referring to him as a fan magazine hack is only because our names our on the translation of the book. He was a well-known journalist his entire life. Here a front page feature article he wrote about Marie Dressler in 1934.



39 comments:

  1. Three cheers for Baltasar Cue.

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  2. His book " The True Rudolph Valentino " is a reliable source of information about Rudy in his last days. One of my favourites among the Floris books.

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  3. Since we are assured that Terhune monitors this blog within an inch of his life (no doubt wearing a diaper to avoid the need to rise from his station in front of his monitor), it is an immense pleasure to know that his flesh is crawling in response to this vignette from Cue.

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    1. 8:15: It is a fabulous vignette isn't it? Rudy tucked into the side office penning a love letter. Despite Cue repeating a few old myths and being brutal on Natacha, the book is entertaining and so exceptional imo because of all his first-hand material.

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  4. Clare Booth LooseJune 22, 2022 at 9:39 PM

    It is interesting to speculate to whom Valentino was writing a love letter. I'm sure it was not Negri, since she was in hollering distance. My first guess would be Natacha, although Valentino was in contact with other women discussed on this blog in the past; Anabel Henderson and Lady Loughborough, to name two. By the way, Cue was always considered a significant source by the forum rats until the Floris translation was published. Hypocrisy, thy name is VSC.

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    1. 9:39: Maybe he was writing to someone he just met, telling them he was off to New York and when he returned he would give her his devoted attention, etc. etc. etc. I guess it did not have to be someone particularly significant. I like to think it was Natacha. And I always thought Pola said nothing about it and did not react because if she did, Rudy probably would have dumped her. It is interesting what a huge role Pola played in the Cue narrative. She and Alberto were both involved in the book and I think Pola somewhat seduced Cue into all the press he gave her.

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    2. Cue did seem to favor Pola!

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  5. I am immensely grateful to Renato Floris for translating Cue beautifully. When I ready the Villalobos dissertation more than a decade ago, I was tantalized by her numerous references to Cue. I was also annoyed that I could not readily obtain a copy of his work for myself. All that changed with the Floris translation. I adore this extract because it shows us Valentino the sleek wolf discreetly practicing his art. I don’t think the letter was intended for Rambova because I think he would have addressed it to “Babykins” rather than “My Love.” This was a very heady time for Valentino, however unhealthy he was becoming. As Clare Booth Loose notes, he was pursuing Loughborough and Henderson, and likely others, during his relationship with Negri. And I could not agree more that if she reacted histrionically to the letter Valentino was writing, he would have dumped her. I believe Negri was hanging by a thread during the entirety of the affair because Valentino knew she was an exhausting, lousy fit for him.

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    1. Beautifully stated, Rabbit Run. You are on the mark about Natacha. He would have addressed it differently to her. Exhausting is the perfect description for Negri. She seems much too high strung for Valentino and I am certain his upcoming trip to New York was a welcome getaway from her. I think the staggeringly gorgeous Marion Benda suited him much better.

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    2. Rabbit Run, YES! Kudos to Renato Floris for translating Cue so that we all could have the chance to read this important work concerning Valentino.

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    3. Double Kudos to Renato for translating Cue' s book about Valentino.

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    4. 2:15: Perfectly said. Apart from Pola being an "exhausting and lousy fit", Rudy was just not in love with her imo. There was that.

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    5. One of the things I love about the Zumaya/Floris booklist is that its governing philosophy is the antithesis of the scarcity model which drives everyone else claiming status relative to Valentino (Hill, Terhune, “the family,” Self, etc.). Zumaya and Floris believe in sharing information and holding nothing back. All other players hoard their wares, emerging occasionally to taunt the unwashed masses with a minor photograph or an insignificant line from a letter. They only do this because they believe that if they are generous with their photos and ephemera they will no longer be kowtowed to by the forum hens. Or that they will have blown their opportunity to make a killing with a blockbuster book or miniseries (dream on suckers).

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    6. 3:44: Thank you for acknowledging that. There is no other way to be than transparent. We have nothing to hide and when you tell the truth you can be open with your sources.

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  6. PREACH ๐Ÿ‘†

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    1. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

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    2. Its rewarding to have the Baltazar Cue book appreciated. I think some great discussions could be had here about other stellar moments in the book. There are so many. It is shocking the people who call themselves a "studies community" have not enjoyed discussing the Cue book on their forums (which are closed to us because we dare to defend ourselves). Look what they and their members are missing by censoring and defaming Cue. A lot.

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    3. I agree. There are some really engrossing events and delightful stories in the Cue book. It's a banquet for discussion.

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    4. Reading that by Evelyn at 4:30 AM leaves kind of sad. It must be difficult after all of these years to realize that your efforts have come to naught. It seems the parade has passed the Floris by and they are left with thoughts of what could have been. I feel kind of sorry for Evelyn and Renato.

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    5. 5:05: No need to feel sad about us. We are thrilled with the success of our podcasts and books and living a wonderful, full life while you, apparently have nothing better to do than troll a blog you clearly hate... and all day long. But, ah I guess that is the life of a hater. Or better said, the "no life". As far as all coming to naught for us, well the opposite has happened! You are the abject sad sacks watching the tail end of the parade pass by.

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    6. 5:05 can only watch the parade through a keyhole. Again, please list one book you have written or one podcast you have created. We will wait.

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    7. 5:05: If we were such sad failures, then why would you be glued to this blog, desperately fearful that more truth might be told. Your sad actions speak much louder than your words.

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    8. THIS ๐Ÿ‘† 5:05 apparently doesn't know just how pathetic their words make them appear. If they weren't such despicable people, one could almost feel sorry for them.

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    9. 5:05 demonstrates a frightening level of callous thought. They know that for the past 12 years and counting they and their "leader" have done little else but try and ruin us as fast and as hard as they can with lies, defamation and heavy bullying. Somehow 5:05 perceives the Valentino world as just them. Hardly. They are basically four or five awful, warped individuals with zero integrity and zero empathy. I am happy to say that their efforts failed and in many ways generated the opposite to happen. That is exactly why they troll this blog in desperation and fear.

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  7. Im thinking that maybe that letter was intended for Blanca as we know from Cues book that Rudy tried to contact her a few times in the last months of his life... Its something I see him writing to her .
    Also, regarding Pola, I am sorry that most people put the blame on her for wanting a relationship and marriage with Valentino. Lets not forget that he willingly participated in this, slept with her and profited from the publicity resulted from their relationship.
    Pola had every right to want marriage and a serious relationship from Rudy as they were sleeping and attending events together. If he did not love her, he could have said so at any time and end the relationship. I think there were interests and hidden stuff on both sides.
    As I said before , I feel rather sympathetic towards Pola after reading her memoirs because it seems to me that almost no men in her life actually loved , they rather used her. That is sad .
    You might not like her either because she was not as beautiful as Natacha or other women or because she was ศš controlling, but she didnt have an easy life either

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    1. What a thoughtful and insightful defense of Ms. Negri, Casandra. I agree she had a tragic childhood which explained some of the things that happened to her in later life.

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    2. Read somewhere that Pola's father was taken away and she never saw him again. I do not think there was help in those days for childhood trauma.It must have attached her deeply.

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    3. Affected her deeply , I mean.

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    4. Excellent insight, Casandra. No one can blame Negri for wanting her relationship with Valentino to result in marriage. I do think Valentino enjoyed being with her very much, but we can deduce from much of his activity in that last year that he was not contemplating making that final step with her. He entertained Sheila Chisholm (Lady Loughborough) at his home without inviting Negri. He was writing love letters to other women (De Saulles is definitely a possibility). He was as carefree as a man could be in New York in the last weeks of his life. He also blatantly stated in a short interview on a train that he was not going to marry Pola Negri. That's about as blunt as one can get. I think with all of this evidence right in her face, Negri had to know that marriage with Valentino was not an option. That could be the reason why people have no sympathy for her melodramatic behavior after he died. This may be harsh, but to me, her grief is not convincing.

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    5. Didn't Pola keep a scrapbook of Valentino or was that something that she said just for her biography? I agree I do not think that her grief for Rudy was genuine, they parted on bad terms. She was two timing Rudy behind his back as well from one podcast I heard.

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    6. Rudy was two-timing Negri, but it wasn't behind her back.

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    7. Never thought of it that way. You are right.

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  8. Pola was like Natacha before her. Rudy was seen as a 'catch' whose purpose for them was to (hopefully) boost their careers. Poor Rudy was oblivious to the designs of these women. I wish Rudy had been unencumbered by their grasping at him.

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    1. 6:35: Neither Pola nor Natacha needed to "boost" their careers by dating/and or marrying Rudolph Valentino. If you will remember when Rudy met Natacha she was the far bigger star and Pola was without a doubt on the top of her game in Hollywood. I really reject the concept of the "poor Rudy" victimized by predatory women. That is heavy misogynistic thinking. Maybe check your calendar. It is not 1822 but 2022. Rudy was not some hapless victim and he courted and bedded these beautiful women on his own free will. They were anything but "grasping" and both women were independent thinkers and artists and both very wealthy. How was Rudy "encumbered" by them? If you seriously believe that, imo you need to distance yourself from Tracy Terhune's propaganda and have more respect for Rudolph Valentino than to think him a poor, hapless victim, encumbered by women. This is precisely Terhune's tired, old doctrine designed to fit his long-standing personal fantasy. As a woman, I am offended by the "grasping" women image. It takes two to tango.

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    2. Definitely a mygonist 6:36 clearly shows twisted fantasies about Valentino. Or jealousy because Evelyn clearly showed Rudy was not gay and loved Natasha.Valentino enjoyed the company of beautiful women.So get over your fantasies and face the truth no matter how painful it is.

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    3. 6:35 (aka the misogynist ) is working off a tired old script they've used many times before. Actually surprised 6:35 can see to type their comments since their head is so far up Terhune's you-know-what.

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    4. Yes indeed, Sing A Song. And 6:35's head has been up that sagging thing for ages.

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  9. In other words get out of the Dark Ages and open yourself to new information about things.

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