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A major silent film and Old Hollywood fan, André Soares is the author of Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro (St. Martin's Press; paperback: University Press of Mississippi), about the troubled gay Hollywood star (Ben-Hur, The Student Prince) who was brutally killed in 1968.


Author Archives: Andre Soares


Antihero Ricardo Cortez: Best Showcases + Oscar-Winning Cinematographer Brother

Antihero Ricardo Cortez in Symphony of Six Million, with Irene Dunne. Directed by Gregory La Cava, this 1932 family/romantic melodrama may have been one of Cortez's favorite among his own movies (see further below). Based on a morality tale by Back Street, Imitation of Life, and Humoresque author Fannie Hurst, Symphony of Six Million follows a young New Yorker (Cortez) who, after becoming a renowned – albeit more than a little untrustworthy – doctor, loses touch with his own family, including wife and foremost supporter Irene Dunne. During the talkie era, Cortez was usually seen as an antihero, such as the murder-solving gangster in The Phantom of Crestwood and the crooked gambler who partners up with justice system victim Kay […]


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Antihero Ricardo Cortez: Best Showcases + Oscar-Winning Cinematographer Brother



How to Be a Latin Lover: Ricardo Cortez & Leading Ladies + Marriage to Tragic Drug-Addicted Hollywood Star

How to be a Latin Lover: Ricardo Cortez, formerly known as Jacob Krantz from a working-class family of Austrian/Hungarian immigrants that had settled in New York City, succeeded in restyling himself as the next – even if, according to some, “second rank” – Rudolph Valentino. It's unclear whether or not the Italian-born Valentino, who died at age 31 in 1926, would have survived the coming of sound. Cortez, of course, did – but at a price. No longer getting the star buildup at Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount, in the early 1930s he became a contract player at the recently formed and relatively minor RKO, which featured him in series of mostly undistinguished programmers. A move to Warner Bros. in 1933 should have […]


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How to Be a Latin Lover: Ricardo Cortez & Leading Ladies + Marriage to Tragic Drug-Addicted Hollywood Star



'Latin Lover' - The 2nd Valentino & 1st (and Best) Sam Spade: Q&A with Ricardo Cortez Biographer Dan Van Neste

“Latin Lover” Ricardo Cortez, who went on to play a series of all-American scoundrels and criminals, in addition to similar unsavory types of other nationalities. Although never as big a star as fellow silent era screen heartthrobs Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, and John Gilbert – or fellow Pre-Code era antiheroes Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney – Cortez had a long and, to some extent, prestigious film career, appearing in nearly 100 movies between 1923 and 1950. Among his directors were “Father of American Cinema” D.W. Griffith and Paramount's star filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, in addition to eventual Oscar winners and nominees Frank Lloyd, Herbert Brenon, Gregory La Cava, William A. Wellman, Frank Capra, Walter Lang, Michael Curtiz, John Ford, […]


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'Latin Lover' - The 2nd Valentino & 1st (and Best) Sam Spade: Q&A with Ricardo Cortez Biographer Dan Van Neste