Despite a starring career that lasted only five years, Rudolph Valentino has remained one of Hollywood’s most intriguing icons, ever since his death in 1926 at age 31. Admired by his fans as a moody dark-skinned lover but reviled by editorial writers for his androgynous sexuality, Valentino exhibited “a depth of feeling, a capacity for suffering, an artistry, and a princely bearing that belonged to him alone,” as Emily W. Leider writes in her new biography, Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003). This retrospective features the rarely revived The Wonderful Chance (1920), Monsieur Beaucaire (1924), and Cobra (1925), as well as the New York premiere of Edoardo Ballerini’s Good Night Valentino (2002; filmmaker present) and a presentation and book signing by Ms. Leider. All films except Good Night Valentino are silent with piano accompaniment by Stuart Oderman or Ben Model.
Organized by Ronald S. Magliozzi, Assistant Curator, Research and Collections, Department of Film and Media.