HL Mencken describes a dinner with Rudolph Valentino a few days before the actor dies. He has come to seek Mencken's advice: he's been criticized in the Chicago Tribune for causing the effeminizing of the American male. Valentino is outraged and asks Mencken to write the truth. Mencken looks for a sub-text and finds in the actor the agony of a civilized man thrown into situations of intolerable vulgarity; Valentino finds his own life grotesquely futile. Mencken concludes that man must remain alone and lonely even with crowds surging about him. We watch their encounter. The evening ends, the men part; Mencken concludes that death did Valentino a favor. Written by
A great man is not only great, but also a man.
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