Rudolph Valentino: A Wife's Memories of an Icon
In 1926 Silent Film Icon, Rudolph Valentino, died unexpectedly at the age of 31. That same year, he had finalized a bitter divorce from his wife of four years, Natacha Rambova. Valentino had been madly in love with the gorgeous and very talented designer, yet they had been unable to make their marriage work. Since their first marriage in 1922, the public had been critical of Rambova, blaming her for any mistakes in Valentino's career or life. As Valentino laid on his deathbed in New York, Rambova was in Paris. The two exchanged telegrams to the very end, with both sides believing they would soon reunite and a reconciliation had taken place. Upon hearing the news of his death, Rambova was so distraught she locked herself in her room for three days. With many estate issues to fulfill, Valentino's manager George Ullman took the reigns. To help keep Valentino's name in the spotlight, Ullman wrote a book detailing his time with the gifted actor. Ullman and Rambova had never gotten along, fighting for control of Valentino's career. Feeling she had been unfairly portrayed not only by Ullman, but also by the press, Rambova decided to write her own book. First published in the UK in 1927, "Rudy: An Intimate Portrait by His Wife," presented Rambova's side of the story, providing many amusing stories and anecdotes about her time with Valentino. Both Valentino and Rambova had been firm believers in the practice of Spiritualism. Rambova decided to utilize her beliefs for this book, adding a section titled "Revelations," consisting of things supposedly told to her by Valentino's soul, through seances. Rambova felt the need to publish these 'messages', believing these were things his soul wished to communicate with the world. However things soon got out of hand, with boisterous fans and attention seekers bombarding the legacy of Rudolph Valentino with their own claims. Rambova would remain firm in her beliefs, eventually becoming a renowned Egyptologist. After the publication of this book, she never spoke of her time with Valentino again. "Rudolph Valentino: An Intimate Portrait by his wife" is proudly reprinted by The Rudolph Valentino Society for the first time in over 80 years, under a new title, "Rudolph Valentino: A Wife's Memories of an Icon." In addition to the original text there is a new section containing biographies, filmographies, bibliographies, notes, and new forwards. This section also contains groundbreaking biographies on screenwriter and film executive June Mathis; as well as silent film vamp Nita Naldi. 70% of proceeds from this book benefit The Rudolph Valentino Society and Film Festival.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
A very interesting book. Part of this book was written by Valentino's wife, Natacha Rambova, in 1927. This is combined with sections written by Hala Pickford, of The Rudolph Valentino Society. The sections by Rambova, were excellent. She described events so vividly that you felt you were there with her. It really transports you back to that time. The sections by Hala Pickford added greatly to Rambova's text to provide background and biographical information on the people who were participants in Valentino's life. However, these sections would have been improved with a good proof reader since there were grammatical errors throughout; although not too many to distract the reader. There were 11 chapters by Rambova that purportedly provided information Valentino communicated from beyond the grave. These were very interesting and Pickford's explanation of the couple's interest in spiritualism and automatic writing and these movements at that time in history assisted in understanding this section. However, I would have liked to have known why only 11 chapters? Were there no other communications from Valentino, did Rambova stop communicating or simply chose not to discuss this anymore? I would have liked these questions answered. I particularly liked the chapters on Nita Naldi and June Mathis because it is so difficult to find information on these ladies. Overall, it is a great look at the life of Valentino and I would recommend it - you really learn about Valentino the man, not the myth.
All negative reviews on 1921 PVG Publishing releases are from David Bret (and on Amazon: Jaydon D. Paull aka Zachary Jaydon.) These loons have threatened the author with death threats (just google Hala Pickford and Evelyn Zumaya to see) and have made it their mission to destroy these books, mostly because Bret's own books are so shoddy and poorly researched.
You want a real review of this book look somewhere else than those two.