Valentino (1951)

100,102-103 or 105 mins | Drama, Biography | April 1951

Director:

Lewis Allen

Writer:

George Bruce

Producer:

Edward Small

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling

Editor:

Daniel Mandell

Production Designer:

William Flannery

Production Company:

Edward Small Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

Working titles for the film were The Life of Rudolph Valentino and The Valentino Story. Although the onscreen title reads Valentino, print publicity for the film often listed the title as Valentino: The Loves and Times of Rudolph Valentino. Rudolph Valentino (1895--1926), born Rodolfo Gulielmi, left Italy in 1912 at the age of seventeen and arrived in America the following year. As in the film, Valentino earned a living doing various odd jobs, including dish-washing, but gained attention through his dancing. The film glosses over the darker periods of Valentino's early days in America which included brushes with the law for blackmail and petty theft. As portrayed in the film, after some brief stage appearances, Valentino went to Hollywood in 1917, where he appeared in bit screen roles. However, it was screenwriter June Mathis, not an actress, who gave Valentino his big break in 1921. Mathis insisted that he be cast in the lead of M-G-M's production of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which was directed by Rex Ingram, the "Bill King" character in the film. In Valentino the release dates of several of the actor's films are altered; Paramount's The Sheik, for example, was actually released in 1921. Valentino's striking good looks and bold film characterizations gained him enormous popularity both in the U.S. and abroad. Nevertheless, Valentino's endured a rocky period under the management of his wife, set designer Natasha Rambova, before he returned to acclaim in United Artists' production of The Eagle in 1925. Valentino's final film was United Artists' The Son ...

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Working titles for the film were The Life of Rudolph Valentino and The Valentino Story. Although the onscreen title reads Valentino, print publicity for the film often listed the title as Valentino: The Loves and Times of Rudolph Valentino. Rudolph Valentino (1895--1926), born Rodolfo Gulielmi, left Italy in 1912 at the age of seventeen and arrived in America the following year. As in the film, Valentino earned a living doing various odd jobs, including dish-washing, but gained attention through his dancing. The film glosses over the darker periods of Valentino's early days in America which included brushes with the law for blackmail and petty theft. As portrayed in the film, after some brief stage appearances, Valentino went to Hollywood in 1917, where he appeared in bit screen roles. However, it was screenwriter June Mathis, not an actress, who gave Valentino his big break in 1921. Mathis insisted that he be cast in the lead of M-G-M's production of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which was directed by Rex Ingram, the "Bill King" character in the film. In Valentino the release dates of several of the actor's films are altered; Paramount's The Sheik, for example, was actually released in 1921. Valentino's striking good looks and bold film characterizations gained him enormous popularity both in the U.S. and abroad. Nevertheless, Valentino's endured a rocky period under the management of his wife, set designer Natasha Rambova, before he returned to acclaim in United Artists' production of The Eagle in 1925. Valentino's final film was United Artists' The Son of the Sheik, released in 1926. Valentino died at the age of thirty-one of peritonitis brought on by a perforated ulcer and ruptured appendix. Unlike the film, there was no romantic scandal attached to Valentino's abrupt illness and death.
       Valentino marked the motion picture debut of actor Anthony Dexter. An HR Apr 1952 news item notes that Valentino's brother and sister filed a suit against producer Edward Small and Columbia Pictures, alleging that Valentino maligned the reputation, character and memory of their brother. The suit was settled in Oct 1952 for $500,000. In Jul 1951 actress Alice Terry, who had co-starred with Valentino in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Conquering Power, and upon whom the character of "Joan Carlisle" was very loosely based, filed suit against Small and Columbia for depicting her character as having carried on a "meretricious and illicit love affair" with Valentino, while married to director Ingram. The suit was settled in Jan 1953, awarding Terry $750,000. In Mar 1952, writer Charles Marion filed suit against producer Jan Grippo for abandoning his project on the life of Valentino, scripted by Marion. According to the suit, Grippo accepted payment and an associate producer credit from Small on Valentino in return for ceasing his production which would have interfered with the Columbia film. The outcome of that case has not been determined. In 1975 United Artists released Valentino, starring ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, directed by Ken Russell.

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PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Feb 1951
---
Box Office
24 Feb 1951
---
Daily Variety
15 Feb 1951
p. 3
Film Daily
19 Feb 1951
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 1950
p. 14
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 1950
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1950
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1950
p. 12
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 1951
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 1951
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 1952
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 1952
p. 2
Los Angeles Times
20 Jul 1951
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Oct 1952
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Jan 1953
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Feb 1951
p. 713
New York Times
19 Apr 1951
p. 39
New York Times
20 Apr 1951
p. 25
New York Times
18 Sep 1949
---
Variety
21 Feb 1951
p. 6
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Addl gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus supv
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
John Fulton
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Life of Rudolph Valentino
The Valentino Story
Valentino As I Knew Him
Valentino: The Loves and Times of Rudolph Valentino
Release Date:
April 1951
Premiere Information:
World premiere in San Francisco, CA: 15 Feb 1951; New York opening: 19 Apr 1951
Production Date:
early Jun--mid Jul 1950 at the Goldwyn Studios; addl scenes began late Jul and early Sep 1950
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp.
25 February 1951
LP748
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
100,102-103 or 105
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14881
SYNOPSIS

Shortly after the World War I, dancer Rudolph Valentino performs onboard a ship traveling from Naples, Italy to New York City. During the cruise, Rudy meets film actress Joan Carlisle, traveling under the name of Sarah Grey, and the two fall in love, although Joan never reveals her true identity. Jealous over Rudy's romance, Maria Torres, the head of his dance troupe, fires him. Upon arriving in New York, the penniless Rudy becomes a dishwasher and strikes up a friendship with waiter Luigi Verducci. When Rudy is fired for fighting, he borrows money from Luigi to purchase a tuxedo and soon is employed as a taxi dancer. Rudy gets Luigi a job in the danceclub as a waiter, then goes on to win the attentions of several matrons who are smitten by his sophisticated European style. One night film director Bill King comes to the club escorting Joan. While Rudy tangos elegantly with Joan, Bill wonders if the handsome young dancer would work in his new film. Rudy agrees to try and the next day at Metropolitan Studios in New Jersey, Rudy plays a bit role successfully with Lila Reyes, with whom he becomes immediate friends. After Lila reveals that Joan has casting approval for all her pictures, Rudy asks Joan out and takes her to a small Italian restaurant, where they renew their romance. The following day Bill asks Joan if she would approve Rudy for a small role in her next film, and when she learns that Rudy was aware of her cast approval, she accuses him of opportunism. Rudy sees nothing wrong with his behavior, but when Joan ...

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Shortly after the World War I, dancer Rudolph Valentino performs onboard a ship traveling from Naples, Italy to New York City. During the cruise, Rudy meets film actress Joan Carlisle, traveling under the name of Sarah Grey, and the two fall in love, although Joan never reveals her true identity. Jealous over Rudy's romance, Maria Torres, the head of his dance troupe, fires him. Upon arriving in New York, the penniless Rudy becomes a dishwasher and strikes up a friendship with waiter Luigi Verducci. When Rudy is fired for fighting, he borrows money from Luigi to purchase a tuxedo and soon is employed as a taxi dancer. Rudy gets Luigi a job in the danceclub as a waiter, then goes on to win the attentions of several matrons who are smitten by his sophisticated European style. One night film director Bill King comes to the club escorting Joan. While Rudy tangos elegantly with Joan, Bill wonders if the handsome young dancer would work in his new film. Rudy agrees to try and the next day at Metropolitan Studios in New Jersey, Rudy plays a bit role successfully with Lila Reyes, with whom he becomes immediate friends. After Lila reveals that Joan has casting approval for all her pictures, Rudy asks Joan out and takes her to a small Italian restaurant, where they renew their romance. The following day Bill asks Joan if she would approve Rudy for a small role in her next film, and when she learns that Rudy was aware of her cast approval, she accuses him of opportunism. Rudy sees nothing wrong with his behavior, but when Joan angrily offers him money, he storms off. Determined to make a go of it on his own, Rudy heads for Hollywood, where he plays several bit parts, then becomes enthused about the role of "Julio" in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse . Rudy performs a scintillating tango with Lila for Bill, hoping to win an audition for producer Mark Towers, but despite Bill's enthusiastic support, Mark refuses to consider an unknown. That evening, Rudy, in character as "Julio," crashes a party at Mark's and dances with Lila, impressing the producer and winning the role. The film is a hit and Rudy brings Luigi west to become his assistant. Rudy goes on to star in several films, gaining a large female following. Rudy continues asking Joan out, but she refuses, having begun dating Bill. Rudy persists, however, and follows Joan to a private beachside vacation spot, where they again take up their romance. However, when Rudy reveals he is not interested in marriage despite his love for her, Joan breaks off with him for good. Soon after, Bill telephones Rudy to ask him to be the best man at his wedding to Joan. Rudy's career success continues and he buys a mansion which he calls Falcon's Lair. Later, Mark tells Rudy he has purchased The Sheik for him, to be directed by Bill and co-star Joan. Both Rudy and Joan are nervous about playing love scenes together, and during filming require several takes before letting their guard down, as Bill and Star reporter Eddie Morgan watch. Later in private, Joan admits to Rudy her discomfort at working with him, and he angrily declares they will never make another picture together again. When The Sheik is a smash, however, Mark cannot understand Rudy's refusal to be re-teamed with Joan. Rudy takes a vacation with Luigi and reveals he has been suffering from acute pains in his side. Luigi forces Rudy to consult with a doctor, who diagnoses an inflamed appendix and advises rest and eventual surgery. Morgan visits Rudy to inquire about his relationship with Joan, but Rudy refuses to reveal anything. Angry at not getting a story, Morgan begins spying on both Rudy and Joan, certain the two are having a clandestine relationship. Mark then pressures Bill to get Rudy to agree to sign on for a new picture with Joan. Aware of his wife's feelings, Bill grows uneasy when Joan cannot decide about the new picture. Upset, Joan telephones Rudy and begs to see him. They arrange to meet at Rudy's Malibu cottage, and there, Joan declares she cannot remain with Bill any longer as she still loves Rudy. He agrees that they should be as honest and fair to Bill as possible. When leaving the cottage, however, the couple is photographed by Morgan's partner, who has followed Joan. Rudy hastily sends Joan away and gets into a fistfight with the photographer and Morgan, who threatens to ruin him and Joan. Although in pain from the fight, Rudy telephones Lila and pleads for help. He then returns to Falcon's Lair and arranges to meet Morgan and Joan there. When Joan arrives he tells her that because of the possible scandal, he cannot get involved with her, but Joan realizes he is lying to protect her. Morgan then arrives, and when Rudy announces his imminent marriage to Lila, who confirms his plans, Morgan agrees to kill his story. On the way to New York with Lila, Rudy is stricken and soon dies in the hospital. Upon reading the headline announcement about Rudy's death, Joan asks Bill if he knew about her feelings and he admits that he did. An enormous funeral is held for Rudy, and over the years on the anniversary of his death, a mysterious lady in black visits his tomb, keeping his legacy alive.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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