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The famed silent screen star is torn between love and his career.
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.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||World premiere in San Francisco, CA: 15 Feb 1951; New York opening: 19 Apr 1951|
|Release Date:||1951||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Edward Small Productions, Inc.|
|Duration(mins):||100,102-103 or 105||Country:||United States|
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l k 2013-12-10
Where can I get a dvd of the movie Valentino (1951)? I've looked at all the different movie dvd stores and on-line video shops and no one has a copy...
Valentino (1951) -Walter Craig aka. Anthony Dexter
Loved the movie and would like to purchase the first DVD of it's release. Outstanding casting personnel and all other personnel involved in the...
Not Historically Accurate But Worth Viewing
This film got several things right and several wrong. To begin with, the story is not accurate. Valentino came to the US as an unknown 18 year old on the...