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Because Rudolph Valentino's death happened so long ago, it is almost forgotten what an icon he was.  His demise could be compared to the death of Elvis in 1977. This is NO exaggeration! 

 

 

Rudolph-Valentino.jpg

 

Although you can't really tell it from this shot apparently Valentino's face looked quite withered in his coffin from the torture that he went through with the pleuiritis, combined with peritonitis, which killed him.

 

Not long before his death he was attacked by an article in the press which labelled him a pink powder puff. Furious that his manhood had been assaulted Valentino showed him in the newsroom ready to challenge the article's author to a fight. The writer either wasn't there or ducked out a back door, I forget which.

 

Shortly afterward he was in the hospital battling for his life (though he was never told by the doctors he was dying at the end). Apparently he was in great pain at the time but he remained stoic. At one point he turned to a bedside visitor and said, "And now, am I a pink powder puff?"

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Although you can't really tell it from this shot apparently Valentino's face looked quite withered in his coffin from the torture that he went through with the pleuiritis, combined with peritonitis, which killed him.

 

Not long before his death he was attacked by an article in the press which labelled him a pink powder puff. Furious that his manhood had been assaulted Valentino showed him in the newsroom ready to challenge the article's author to a fight. The writer either wasn't there or ducked out a back door, I forget which.

 

Shortly afterward he was in the hospital battling for his life (though he was never told by the doctors he was dying at the end). Apparently he was in great pain at the time but he remained stoic. At one point he turned to a bedside visitor and said, "And now, am I a pink powder puff?"

The editorial attacking him was in the Chicago Tribune, written by an unnamed editor.  The writer was describing a new ball room, in which the men's lounge contained a slot machine which delivered pink powder puffs and powder. The writer then used it as an excuse to go off on Valentino. He did not label Valentino a powder puff, but did say "Why didn't someone quietly drown ... Valentino years ago?" Valentino then demanded satisfaction and went to Chicago, asking for either a boxing or wrestling match with the editor, but nothing happened. Ironically, while in Chicago, Valentino announced that the leading lady for his next film would be Estelle Taylor, wife of boxing champion Jack Dempsey.

 

Z5Zlw1D.png

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The editorial attacking him was in the Chicago Tribune, written by an unnamed editor.  The writer was describing a new ball room, in which the men's lounge contained a slot machine which delivered pink powder puffs and powder. The writer then used it as an excuse to go off on Valentino. He did not label Valentino a powder puff, but did say "Why didn't someone quietly drown ... Valentino years ago?" Valentino then demanded satisfaction and went to Chicago, asking for either a boxing or wrestling match with the editor, but nothing happened. Ironically, while in Chicago, Valentino announced that the leading lady for his next film would be Estelle Taylor, wife of boxing champion Jack Dempsey.

 

 

 

Thanks Rich. A lot of men sneered at Valentino on the screen, questioning his manhood. If the article didn't actually call him a powder puff that was certainly its implication.

 

Valentino worked out a lot, and was an avid horseback rider.

 

88d5db2063cf6e195afa0db3d905b2ce.jpg

3cba031cad8243310b2be75964794c80--rudolp

 

 

Unfortunately a film like 1924's Monsieur Beaucaire, with poses like this, didn't help his image much. These costumes were encouraged (even designed?) by his wife, Natasha Rambova, and many thought they hurt his image, and were hurting his career.

 

85b67cdd393d18e3ffa024d647b20fa6.jpg

 

This shot from the same film, though, shows that Valentino clearly had an imposing physique.

 

f0cc89d0835c73af3aff06b937d12aee--rodolf

 

His last two films, The Eagle and Son of the Sheik, would cast him in more robust action hero roles, where his athleticism (and flair for humour) would play more of a role. It was a vast improvement on his image, and he seemed a natural for those kinds of roles. Suddenly it was all over with his completely unexpected death, sending a good part of the movie going world into mourning in 1926.

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Unfortunately a film like 1924's Monsieur Beaucaire, with poses like this, didn't help his image much. These costumes were encouraged (even designed?) by his wife, Natasha Rambova, and many thought they hurt his image, and were hurting his career.

 

85b67cdd393d18e3ffa024d647b20fa6.jpg

 

And this is how I used to imagine silent films, as a kid ... either as silly costumers, slapstick comedies, or melodramatic pieces of boredom. Glad I've had a chance to learn more about the art form, with the help of books and videos. There are a lot of worthwhile silents out there, handling such important topics as suicide, racism, and drug addiction.

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Many years ago I introduced my mother to Rudolph Valentino by showing her an old video tape of The Eagle (his second last film with one of his very best performances). My mother had never seen Valentino before 

 

 

 

Nor have I. I certainly hope my library has a copy-I want to see it!

Thanks for the wonderful write-up! 

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Nor have I. I certainly hope my library has a copy-I want to see it!

Thanks for the wonderful write-up! 

 

I hope you find a copy of The Eagle, Tiki, with effective musical accompaniment.

 

It's a good romantic costume adventure, with a surprising amount of humour in it, with Valentino at his best, for my money. Vilma Banky is the very lovely leading lady.

 

If you're introducing yourself to Valentino and you can't find The Eagle, his last film, the often tongue-in-cheek Son of the Sheik (1926) is a fine showcase for him, as well. He had really grown as an actor since he had made The Sheik five years before.

 

dresser-rv.jpg

 

This scene in The Eagle has Rudy in an awkward position. The Russian Empress (Louise Dresser) has designs upon him and he's trying his best to try to figure a way to get out of this situation without getting shot for disobedience.

 

I know that many people don't like watching films this way but You Tube has copies of both The Eagle and Son of the Sheik (a beautiful print of this one) right now.

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Well yah, I mean, of course, that's a men's room standard. Right next to the prophylactic machines and cologne samples.

A few years after his death, those machines were probably distributing "Sheik you-know-whats" to cash in on Valentino.

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"Monte Carlo" (1930)--Starring Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Buchanan, and ZaSu Pitts.  Directed by Ernst Lubitsch.

 

Silly fluff excels during the musical numbers but drags during the talking scenes.

 

Bride Countess Helene Mara (MacDonald) leaves groom Prince Otto von Leibenheim (Claud Allister) at the altar for the third time.  This time, it's because it's raining on her wedding day.  She catches a train, and at the stewards' suggestion, goes to Monte Carlo.  She goes to the gaming tables, and meets Rudolph Falliere (Buchanan) who poses as a hairdresser to win her heart.

 

MacDonald again shows a PreCode sense of humor that she never showed in her MGM films with Nelson Eddy.  She has the best song, "Beyond the Blue Horizon".

 

Buchanan's thin, adenoidal tenor is just up to the demands of the score, but he is often drowned out by MacDonald.

 

Allister is a delight as the imbecilic bridegroom, who has been jilted three times and tries for a fourth.

 

Pitts is funny as the maid who makes passes at hairdresser Rudolph.

 

Uneven film is not a classic, but is enjoyable mainly for the musical numbers.  2.7/4

 

Source--archive.org.  Film is archived as "The Blue Coast 1930".

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My spouse and I watched Daughters Courageous ​(1939) last night, which was better than my expectations (I'm not a big Lane sisters fan).  He wasn't going to watch with me, but we got immersed in Claude Raines and John Garfield's performances.  The entire cast was outstanding, some finely nuanced underplaying by Donald Crisp.  Fay Bainter was so genuine in her last scene with Raines -- the love and the pain that he had caused really came through.  The movie was probably one of the best examples of Warners' ensemble casting.  The script was also especially well-written.  As a college English teacher, I was taken aback by Priscilla Lane noticing that John Garfield's character mispronounced "abhorrent," and his excuse was that he had completed only 2 years of high school.  I have college students who don't even know what that word means.  At least Garfield knew how to use it in context!  It makes one wonder whether the "less educated" audiences of yesteryear had better vocabularies than today's audiences.

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  As a college English teacher, I was taken aback by Priscilla Lane noticing that John Garfield's character mispronounced "abhorrent," and his excuse was that he had completed only 2 years of high school.  I have college students who don't even know what that word means.  At least Garfield knew how to use it in context!  It makes one wonder whether the "less educated" audiences of yesteryear had better vocabularies than today's audiences.

I don't wonder about it. I'm sure the people back then did have better vocabularies, which were constantly improved by reading newspapers, conversing with each other face-to-face, and composing letters.  How many people do that today?

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My spouse and I watched Daughters Courageous ​(1939) last night, which was better than my expectations (I'm not a big Lane sisters fan).  He wasn't going to watch with me, but we got immersed in Claude Raines and John Garfield's performances.  The entire cast was outstanding, some finely nuanced underplaying by Donald Crisp.  Fay Bainter was so genuine in her last scene with Raines -- the love and the pain that he had caused really came through.  The movie was probably one of the best examples of Warners' ensemble casting.  The script was also especially well-written.  As a college English teacher, I was taken aback by Priscilla Lane noticing that John Garfield's character mispronounced "abhorrent," and his excuse was that he had completed only 2 years of high school.  I have college students who don't even know what that word means.  At least Garfield knew how to use it in context!  It makes one wonder whether the "less educated" audiences of yesteryear had better vocabularies than today's audiences.

 

Daughters Courageous is a good example of where the studio-system was at its best.   I assume that almost everyone that worked on the film was a Warner Brothers employee (or if free lance highly associated with the studio like the Epstein brothers).   

 

Using the studio lot , the fine contract players and the WB studio-hands,  Michael Curtiz was able to elevate the film above a routine programmer. 

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I don't wonder about it. I'm sure the people back then did have better vocabularies, which were constantly improved by reading newspapers, conversing with each other face-to-face, and composing letters.  How many people do that today?

 

I know what you mean.  My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, read all the big novels of the day -- Anthony Adverse, Keys of the Kingdom, Gone with the Wind, etc.  My grandfather, a French-Canadian immigrant, read Crime and Punishment in English and French.  He was a millworker.

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My spouse and I watched Daughters Courageous ​(1939) last night, which was better than my expectations (I'm not a big Lane sisters fan).  He wasn't going to watch with me, but we got immersed in Claude Raines and John Garfield's performances.  The entire cast was outstanding, some finely nuanced underplaying by Donald Crisp.  Fay Bainter was so genuine in her last scene with Raines -- the love and the pain that he had caused really came through.  The movie was probably one of the best examples of Warners' ensemble casting.  The script was also especially well-written.  As a college English teacher, I was taken aback by Priscilla Lane noticing that John Garfield's character mispronounced "abhorrent," and his excuse was that he had completed only 2 years of high school.  I have college students who don't even know what that word means.  At least Garfield knew how to use it in context!  It makes one wonder whether the "less educated" audiences of yesteryear had better vocabularies than today's audiences.

 

Your prolly onto something hear, rosebette!

 

(...yeah, in fact, I'll bet their are prolly a lot less young people now days who no how to right good english then ever b-4!)

 

;)

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Your prolly onto something hear, rosebette!

 

(...yeah, in fact, I'll bet their are prolly a lot less young people now days who no how to right good english then ever b-4!)

 

;)

 

"Prolly" as a written word always drove the heck out of me--Thought it sounded like a British baby carriage.

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"Spaceballs" (1987)--Starring Mel Brooks, John Candy, and Rick Moranis.  Directed by Mel Brooks.

 

Amiable parody of 'Star Wars" (1977) provokes the occasional laugh or smile.   Film also takes shots at "Battlestar Galactica"(1979), "Alien" (1979), and "Star Trek" (1979), among others.

 

The plot follows the outlines of "Star Wars", down to the long prologue in the same font, and tweaks Battlestar Galactica, in the first look at the bad guys' spaceship. The planet Spaceballs is running out of air, and Dark Helmet (Moranis) plans to kidnap the princess of Druidia (Daphne Zuniga), then empty Druidia's atmosphere of air thus getting 10,000 years worth of air.

 

John Candy is wasted in an unfunny parody of Chewbacca.  Mel Brooks is always funny, even in a below-par film.  Moranis is amusing, and occasionally laugh out loud funny in his parody of Darth Vader.  Joan Rivers did the voiceover for Dot Matrix, the parody of C-3PO, has some good lines and gets laughs.

 

The two best lines Otto won't have a problem with:

 

Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga), while she and companions are hopelessly lost in the desert dunes; "Room service.  Room Service!"

 

President Skroob (Brooks) after learning his spaceship will destroy itself--"I'm the President!  I don't make decisions!!".

 

The humor is rude and lewd.  If you don't like that, skip this film.  I was amused by this film; it's not Brooks at his best, but there's enough funny material to make this worth a watch.  2.4/4.

 

Source--archive.org.

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"Spaceballs" (1987)--Starring Mel Brooks, John Candy, and Rick Moranis.  Directed by Mel Brooks.

 

The humor is rude and lewd.  If you don't like that, skip this film.  I was amused by this film; it's not Brooks at his best, but there's enough funny material to make this worth a watch.  

 

 

I always found it amazing that my mother, around 70-75 years old at the time LOVED this movie! The jokes were right up her alley, even though she was not familiar with some of the references (never seen Star Wars or Battlestar G) 

 

THAT to me, is a testament that it's a funny movie, despite being a parody.

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"Where Are My Children?" (1916)--Starring Tyrone Power Sr..  Directed by Lois Weber.

 

Effective melodrama has attorney Richard Walton (Power) and his childless wife (Helen Riaume) living a seemingly happy life.  Mrs. Walton treats her dogs as substitute kids , but her husband wants children.  He prosecutes a doctor who had distributed literature on birth control.  The doctor makes a strong case for birth control, but is convicted anyway.

 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Walton and her group of society friends have all been seeing a Dr. Malfit, who has performed abortions so their social life won't be disturbed by pregnancy.  Mr. Walton has no clue of the abortionist's existence.

 

Film makes the excellent point that birth control should be discussed and agreed upon by both partners in a marriage, and that not doing so can have disastrous consequences.  

 

The films' attitude toward abortion is clear; whether it was mandated by 1916 norms or censorship isn't clear.  Probably a case of both.  Intentionally or not, it makes a case for having clean, safe facilities to work in and knowledgeable doctors and nurses to perform the act.

 

Film was the 2000 restoration by The Library of Congress, with an very good piano score.

 

Film is very worth the watch.  3/4.

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"Where Are My Children?" (1916)--Starring Tyrone Power Sr..  Directed by Lois Weber.

 

Effective melodrama has attorney Richard Walton (Power) and his childless wife (Helen Riaume) living a seemingly happy life.  Mrs. Walton treats her dogs as substitute kids , but her husband wants children.  He prosecutes a doctor who had distributed literature on birth control.  The doctor makes a strong case for birth control, but is convicted anyway.

 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Walton and her group of society friends have all been seeing a Dr. Malfit, who has performed abortions so their social life won't be disturbed by pregnancy.  Mr. Walton has no clue of the abortionist's existence.

 

Film makes the excellent point that birth control should be discussed and agreed upon by both partners in a marriage, and that not doing so can have disastrous consequences.  

 

The films' attitude toward abortion is clear; whether it was mandated by 1916 norms or censorship isn't clear.  Probably a case of both.  Intentionally or not, it makes a case for having clean, safe facilities to work in and knowledgeable doctors and nurses to perform the act.

 

Film was the 2000 restoration by The Library of Congress, with an very good piano score.

 

Film is very worth the watch.  3/4.

I watched this on youtube yesterday and enjoyed it very much. It was the LOC restoration, but with an orchestral score, and tinted scenes.

 

Power is outstanding in this. He could have easily overplayed it and gone into histrionics, but I was impressed by the acting he did with his eyes. And he was really shooting daggers at his wife when he discovers she had been seeing the abortionist. The final scene, showing the two as they aged into what is now an empty marriage, and what their children may have looked like, is quite haunting.

 

This film, along with a flick called The Little Girl Next Door (a film about white slavery) initially were prohibited in Chicago in 1916, but were eventually shown. Both cleaned up at the box office.

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The Sex Killer (1967) Nut Job Noir

 

Another Grindhouse Sexploitation entry in what we should call the "Transitory Noir" canon when Classic Noir unshackled from the Motion Picture Production Code was unravelling and sans restraints was morphing into Neo Noir.  Blame Hitchcock, Psycho (1960), cracked the door open for some Noir to deviate into a psycho-sexual taboo direction, what before had been hinted at or cloaked in subtext was now openly becoming exploited. 

 

Unique gritty time capsules for the 1960's New York City's Mid Town Time Square/42nd Street area and lower Manhattan's Greenwich Village area. Just like Los Angeles' Bunker Hill and Downtown Broadway functioned in 1940s and 50s Classic Noir so does Times Square, Greenwich Village, and Harlem function in these New York City based, amorphous, Transitory Noirs.

 

The film "stars" and we use the term loosely, (info from IMDb) Bob Meyer as Tony (uncredited), Bob Oran as Tony's Boss (uncredited), Rita Bennett as Sunbather (uncredited), Helena Clayton (uncredited), Uta Erickson as Hooker (uncredited), and Sharon Kent as the Blonde on Couch (uncredited), from their performances all pretty much amateurs. The rest of the cast are probably just real people doing their everyday jobs.

 

The story holds both faint similarities to the works of Peckinpah, and Lynch and cinematic memories to Kubrick. Screencaps are from the Something Weird Video. Archivally interesting and culturally entertaining, an oddity of a time past. Remember though, it's still a grainy sexploitaion film with a depraved story at heart. There is T&A, but comparable to what passes in R-rated films today and no slasher/gore.  A 6  but a New Yorker + one for  7/10 and that is being sentimentally generous. For full review see Film Noir /Gangster, for review with more screencaps paste Noirsville the Film Noir, in your browser.

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