In 1926 the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female moviegoers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ...
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In 1926 the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female moviegoers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. Ballroom dancer Valentino manipulated his good looks and animal-like grace into a Hollywood career. His smouldering love making, tinged with a touch of masterful cruelty, expressed a sexuality which was at once both shocking and sensual. Written by
Director Ken Russell later admitted the film played better without the film's most controversial scene. The Spinning Image website states: "The most infamous sequence has [Rudolph] Valentino jailed overnight for bigamy, where he is assaulted by a furiously masturbating Dudley Sutton and made to piss himself by savage prison guard Bill McKinney . . .". Rudolf Nureyev said of the notorious sequence: "Well, it was pretty gruesome. But I believed it could actually have happened and so I overcame my misgivings about doing the scene. What happens is that Valentino is the object of scorn by his cell-mates and the gaolers. His so-called sexual prowess is put to the test. They want to see the real thing. The gaoler takes away my bathroom privileges, and I'm forced to urinate in my pants, while all sorts of depraved things take place around me. It's a sadistic scene, but there is some possible truth in it. Anyway, I did it, and I think it works for the film". See more »
First saw it on HBO (many times) about 1980. Just love the Ken Russell 'exaggerated' feel and look. Made me look into the life of Valentino, where I was disappointed to find that Ken Russell had really 'exaggerated' Rudy's life. I didn't see it again until 1998 on a trip to Canada, in a somewhat edited version. I just watched it on the True Stories channel, I fell in love with it again. Ken Russell's version of the cause of Rudy's death is much more interesting than the actual cause of Valentino's death. I taped it and expect to watch it a few more times.
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