Rudolph Valentino 'Blood and Sand' Screening + Elizabeth Taylor Westboro Protest Goes Bust

Rudolph Valentino Movies: 'Blood and Sand,' starring Hollywood's foremost Latin Lover, at the Hollywood Heritage Museum

The Hollywood Heritage Museum will celebrate the birthday of silent movie icon and Latin Lover emeritus Rudolph Valentino on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. The event will include screenings of the abridged version of Blood and Sand (1922) and the short Rudolph Valentino and His 88 American Beauties. Additionally, rare photographs and artifacts will be on display in the lobby of the Hollywood Heritage Museum, and Donna Hill, author of Rudolph Valentino, The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs, will be in attendance (more details below).

Directed by Fred Niblo (best known for the 1925 epic Ben-Hur), Blood and Sand stars Rudolph Valentino as a doomed toreador torn between good girl Martha Mansfield and vamp Nita Naldi. (Tyrone Power had the Valentino role in Rouben Mamoulian's 1941 Technicolor remake co-starring Linda Darnell and Rita Hayworth.)

Rudolph Valentino movies

Besides Blood and Sand, Rudolph Valentino starred in a number of major productions of the 1920s, among them Rex Ingram's epoch-making The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), opposite Alice Terry; Ingram's The Conquering Power (1921), once again opposite Alice Terry; George Melford's The Sheik (1921), with Agnes Ayres; Ray C. Smallwood's Camille (1921), starring Alla Nazimova; and Sam Wood's Beyond the Rocks (1922), with Gloria Swanson.

Also: Sidney Olcott's Monsieur Beaucaire (1924), with Doris Kenyon, Bebe Daniels, and Lois Wilson; Clarence Brown's The Eagle (1925), with Vilma Banky and Louise Dresser; and George Fitzmaurice's Son of the Sheik (1926), Valentino's last film, in which he was once again paired with Vilma Banky.

Born on May 6, 1895, in Castelanetta, Italy, Valentino died following a hospital infection and other complications at the age of 31 on August 23, 1926.

'Rudolph Valentino, The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs'

According to the Hollywood Heritage Museum's press release, in Rudolph Valentino, The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs author Donna Hill “retells the story of Valentino's life using a treasure trove or rare photographs. Hill will present a slide show of rare images from the book, including photographs excluded due to space requirements. Most of the images employed have not been seen since the 1920s; many have never been released publicly until now.”

The Hollywood Heritage Museum is located in the Lasky-DeMille Barn, at 2100 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood, across from the Hollywood Bowl. There's free parking. For more information, call 323-874-2276 or visit http://www.hollywoodheritage.org.

Rudolph Valentino Blood and Sand 1922 movie photo: Courtesy of Donna Hill.

Oscar Winner Eva Marie Saint, Nominee Don Murray: 'A Hatful of Rain' Discussion

Don Murray (Oscar nominee for Bus Stop) and Eva Marie Saint (Oscar winner for On the Waterfront) are scheduled to be present for a discussion at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica this evening following a screening of Fred Zinnemann's 1957 drama A Hatful of Rain, which stars Murray, Saint, Best Actor Oscar nominee Anthony Franciosa, and Lloyd Nolan.

Based on a play by Michael V. Gazzo (perhaps best-known for his Oscar-nominated performance in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather: Part II), A Hatful of Rain is a portrayal of a dysfunctional all-American family. Family members include a Korean War veteran-turned-junkie (Murray), his wife (Saint), his “no-good” brother (Franciosa), and the brothers' self-centered father (Nolan).

Elizabeth Taylor: James Dean Sexually Molested by Minister - Fact or BS?

Elizabeth Taylor died two days ago, her remains were laid to rest yesterday, and a revelation about Taylor's past was made public today. Well, in all truth, the revelation is actually about James Dean's past. Taylor is the alleged vehicle for a story published in The Daily Beast by actor-writer Kevin Sessums, among whose credits are an autobiographical book named Mississippi Sissy and, as an actor, the television miniseries Tales of the City.

Sessums says he learned the following from Taylor during an interview at her Bel Air home in 1997:

“I loved Jimmy. I'm going to tell you something, but it's off the record until I die. OK? When Jimmy was 11 and his mother passed away, he began to be molested by his minister. I think that haunted him the rest of his life. In fact, I know it did. We talked about it a lot. During Giant we'd stay up nights and talk and talk, and that was one of the things he confessed to me.”

Of course, all the Taylor stories found in The Daily Beast may be true. They've certainly made the rounds online as if they're absolute, indisputable fact. But in the case of James Dean, has anyone else said anything about this matter before? If not, I'd have to wonder why Taylor would have been the only person in the last 55 years to have known about the sexual molestation issue.

Sessums says he has recordings of the Taylor interview, including the off-the-record “outtake” about Dean. Shouldn't those recordings be made public as well so the outtake can be verified as factual?

While doing research on Ramon Novarro for my book Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro, one thing that I learned rather quickly is that unless you have some kind of evidence or strong corroboration for a story, the story in question should never be bandied about as fact. I had to be extra careful, as Novarro himself had been a victim of absurd tall tales following his “scandalous” death in 1968.

Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, George Cukor, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson and others have had books written about them featuring “conversations” and “interviews” that never actually took place. But since they were dead, there was nothing that could be done about it.

Recordings or no recordings, expect more Elizabeth Taylor “revelations” to be announced in the future.

Elizabeth Taylor Funeral Held; Christian Anti-Gay Picketers Absent

Elizabeth Taylor's funeral was held – without the presence of Westboro Baptist Church anti-gay picketers – at around 2 p.m. on Thursday at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial-Park. In accordance with her religion, Taylor, who had converted to Judaism in the late '50s, was buried within 24 hours of her death at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Taylor's remains were placed near those of Michael Jackson.

Among the other show business celebrities whose remains were laid to rest at Glendale's Forest Lawn (not to be confused with the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn) are Oscar winners Marie Dressler, William Cameron Menzies, Norma Shearer, William Wyler, Warner Baxter, Wallace Beery, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Frank Borzage, Walt Disney, Edith Head, James Stewart, and Spencer Tracy.

Other celebrities at Forest Lawn Glendale range from silent film director Rex Ingram to entertainer Sammy Davis Jr, from silent film siren Theda Bara to singer-actress Ethel Waters, from MGM star Jean Harlow to legendary MGM producer Irving G. Thalberg.

Elizabeth Taylor Funeral: Westboro Baptist Church 'Picket Threat'

I've always wondered if people would hate Kansas' Westboro Baptist Church members as much as they do if the Westborons only picketed the funerals of, say, gay men who died of AIDS. Anyhow, apparently Westboro's Christian haters want more visibility than what they get by picketing the funerals of little-known US military servicemen. They're now going after a mega-Hollywood star.

Margie Phelps, daughter of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, tweeted Wednesday that their group may picket Elizabeth Taylor's funeral, in all probability because of her work against AIDS.

One of Phelps' tweets about Elizabeth Taylor's death was “RIP Elizabeth Taylor is in hell as sure as you're reading this & getting mad as a wet hen. She should've obeyed God. Too late!” She was also thrilled that various websites have been spreading the word that the Westboro Christian Church “will picket funeral of serial-adulterous fag hag RIP Elizabeth Taylor Yay!” Phelps added that Taylor has “joined Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger in hell.”

Elizabeth Taylor became an AIDS activist at a time when Ronald Reagan's White House pretended the – for many – “gay disease” didn't exist. That was in late 1984, or about ten months before the death of Taylor's friend Rock Hudson from complications of the disease in October 1985.

“Well, I kept seeing all these news reports on this new disease,” Taylor would remark about her decision to become involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, “and kept asking myself why no one was doing anything. And then I realized I was just like them. I wasn't doing anything to help.” She helped to found the charitable AIDS research organization amfAr in 1985.

According to its website, in the last 25 years amfAr “has invested nearly $325 million in its mission and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.”

Photo: via amfAr

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5 Comments to Rudolph Valentino 'Blood and Sand' Screening + Elizabeth Taylor Westboro Protest Goes Bust

  1. Mary

    I'm here to help celebrate 116 birthday anniversary of Rudolph Valentino's.He will never be forgotten.
    I'm also watching only Valentino related video's today.I was lucky enough to finally find(yt) “Cobra”,and just finished it. It was a first time viewing for me. I had tried renting it 3 times through Blockbuster,only to be sent a Cobra with Stallone all three times.
    I'm now going to watch “Four horsemen of the Apocalypse” which I've seen before,but enjoyed very much. The tango scene is so wonderful,especially once Valentino gets rid of that idiot guy who jumps around like a bunny rabbit.He needed to be taught how to take a woman in his arms and take control,and now Valentino will show him how it's suppose to be done!

  2. Rxphan

    The Westboro Baptist Church thought that they were going to get a lot of free publicity by picketing her funeral. They missed it because of three things; (1) They didn't do their homework on her. She'd converted to Judaism in 1959 and Jewish custom dictates that the dead be buried ASAP-usually within 24-48 hrs of death. (2) They forgot that because of who she was, she had a great deal of influence. The family could make a couple of phone calls and things would happen fast-faster than the church members could mobilize. And (3), she had money-lots of it. Money can buy a lot of protection and privacy. My guess is that their failure is a result of all of that inbreeding.

  3. Danny

    Maybe we should all pray that God will save the Westboro Baptists from their evil actions and heal their sick souls.

  4. Nathan Donarum

    One wonders what this even accomplishes aside from simply spreading hatred. I honestly can't fathom it.

  5. Brandt

    What are Fred Phelps and the WBC afraid of? Rainbows? Unicorns? A flaming pink queer apocalypse? I attempted to address this with a portrait of the good reverend on my artist's blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/03/fred-phelps-and-westboro-baptist-church.html Drop in and let me know what you think!