Friday, January 21, 2005

New Rudolph Valentino book

There is an interesting new book by Allan R. Ellenberger called The Valentino Mystique (McFarland). Ellenberger, who I have had the pleasure to meet some five years ago, is the author of an earlier book on Ramon Novarro, as well as a guide to the gravesites of celebrities in Los Angeless area cemeteries.

The Valentino Mystique looks at the death and afterlife of the silent film idol. According to the publisher, "The first part examines every moment of the last days of Rudolph Valentino, his illness and operation, the reactions of such intimates as Pola Negri, and all controversy such as riots, suicides, and fights over his funeral and estate. Part two gives tours of Valentino-related sites in New York, Hollywood and West Hollywood, downtown and suburban Los Angeles, and Beverly Hills, explaining each site's part in Valentino's history, giving quotes from the star and his associates about the place, and describing its present state. Part three consists of eleven appendices giving such information as the infamous "Pink Powder Puff" editorial and Valentino's responses, the medical diagnosis, operation on and treatment of the idol, tributes and eulogies, the list of mourners attending his funerals, his last will and testament, the summation of his estate, quotes about his death, references from newspapers, and a complete filmography."

Louise Brooks only appearance in this new book is in the list of mourners attending his New York City funeral. According to an article about the funeral mass in the August 31, 1926 issue of the New York Morning Telegraph, "Louise Brooks cried unashamed."

The Valentino Mystique, Ellenberger has done a good job in bringing together all kinds of information surrounding the death of Valentino, one of the great stars of the silent film era.

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