Saturday, June 25, 2022

Those Letters to Florey

For many years, David Bret claimed he was in possession of a secret diary written by Rudolph Valentino in which the star's secret homosexual life was divulged. I thought the location of this secret diary should be made public and I asked him about that. And so it began... as Bret pointed in one direction after another to claim a source for what so far has turned out to be no source at all other than his imagination.

At first he called it the “unpublished diary of Rudolph Valentino”, which he claimed was published by an Italian imprint, Edizioni Lindau. I discovered this was the Italian translation of My Private Diary, a book published in 2004, five years after Bret's book on Valentino. 

Then he pointed the way to Jeanne DeRecqueville and built the fantasy that she revealed Valentino and Andre Daven were lovers. We translated that book to see exactly what DeRecqueville wrote and in fact she revealed the opposite. She conducted some of the first, authoritative research proving Valentino was heterosexual. So Bret moved on.

Then he claimed it was revealed in Robert Florey's installments published in the French fan magazine, Cinemonde in 1956. His proof, he said, that Valentino was gay was right there in the letters Valentino wrote to Florey. 

So Renato then took considerable time to find a complete copy of all the installments and translated them into English. Those letters? In The Rudolph Valentino Case Files, pp. 113-114 you can read some of those letters which Florey includes. Here are a few extracts from Installment #7, which was published in Cinemonde on November 22, 1956:

(Letter dated December 29, 1922, extracts)

“I have happily just received your nice letter which is the first one I received since your sudden departure for the beautiful Hollywood as you call it. I wonder if it's true that you wrote to me or if it's just to make me believe you did...Thank you very much, old boy for the good publicity you give me and I will order Abbe to print for me a set of new photos which I will send to you as soon as they are ready. At the same time I'm going to send you two speeches I gave on a radio show, which almost a million radio fans heard; the first against the bad method of producing films adopted by trusts like Famous Players etc. and another where I explain the mission of the cinema in the future of the world."

"I would like you to translate those two speeches and send them to your overseas magazines. I believe this is good publicity. Tell those two brave boys, Limur and Caracciolo, to write me a note, and tell Jean not to forget to exercise my horses with Caracciolo if they want to. Send me their addresses. I have to stop now since I have to leave for Philadelphia for a radio interview.

Greetings to all my true friends and many wishes from me and my wife too. Yours always your friend, Rudolph. "

(Letter of May 20, extracts)

"I also want to tell you that while in New York the other day, I posed for new photos of which I chose twenty-eight different poses, and I ordered two hundred glossy reproductions of these and different ones, so you will have enough photos of me to begin with until I get to London and Paris to check in. I also decided that the tenth of July may be a little late for your departure and I changed your passage for the first of July... "

**I am not sure what Bret is claiming now as his source. Those “love letters” in French written from Rudy to Florey were just business directives and travel arrangements; all sent in the course of conducting business.

I still get comments from the team and I am sure Bret, pointedly scolding me for forgetting that Florey and Valentino were lovers. On that I would direct them to the “Nacissistic Gaslighters” memo in my previous post and the item titled, “Outright Denial of Facts”.

This has nothing to do with the subject of anyone's sexuality. It is all about intellectual honesty.