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Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926)

  1. Pola Negri, The Spanish Dancer, 1922.      One of the earliest examples of a woman taking a guy’s role…   La Negri’s Maritana - more fortune teller than dancer - was originally penned as a man. Valentino passed. Negri grabbed. And made a better (silent) movie than Mary Pickford’s competing version, Rosita.
  2.  Ramon Novarro, Ben-Hur, 1924.      MGM considered all possible leads - from Jackie Coogan to George Walsh (who actually started filming). Valentino (who was Novarro's lover)  simply refused the script  even though it was by June Mathis, scripter of his breakthroughs,  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 1921, and Blood and Sand 1922.  "I can take any good-looking  extra and make  a star of him," said director Rex Ingram, "just  like I did with Valentino."  Which meant, according to Paramount chief Adolph  Zukor,  an acting style "largely confined to protruding his  large,  almost  occult  eyes  until  the vast amounts of white were visible, drawing back the lips of his wide, sensuous  mouth  to  bare  his  gleaming  teeth  and  flaring his nostrils."


 





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