Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest

Blood Boobs Carnage Blogfest

Ninja Captain Alex and Heather Gardner are hosting the Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest, wherein participants discuss books, films, and TV shows fitting one or more of the abovementioned categories. I naturally thought of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Blood and Sand, written by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Spain’s great national novelist. Both were adapted to the silver screen, in 1921 and 1922, respectively, and later remade.

Juan Gallardo (Rudy Valentino) is a poor boy who dreams of becoming a great bullfighter. Of course, he realises his dream, and rises to become one of Spain’s greatest matadors. Along the way, he marries Carmen (Lila Lee), a sweet, pious girl he knew growing up. Sadly, their marriage doesn’t yield any children. When Juan is at the top of his game, he’s seduced by Doña Sol (Nita Naldi), a notorious man-eater and Vamp. There’s a subplot about an outlaw named Plumitas (Walter Long), whose life path is a sobering parallel to Juan’s life.

There’s plenty of blood and carnage in the arena, though the actual shots of bullfighting are pasted in from real arenas, not done for the film. Nita Naldi was one of the best Vamps of the silent era, after the great Theda Bara. She and Rudy co-starred in several films, and had incredible chemistry. She was also built like a real woman, with voluptuous curves, instead of being a size 6. Nita wasn’t afraid to show off her assets with sexy clothing.

In the silent era, a Vampyre, shortened to Vamp, did not refer to a paranormal creature, but rather to a sexually aggressive, man-eating, rule-breaking, assertive woman.

Rudy_and_Nita_in_Blood_and_Sand

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is one the most powerful anti-war novels ever. It became a U.S. bestseller in 1919, and the 1921 film adaptation was one of the greatest blockbusters in film history (even though most of those constant “best ever” lists ignore or barely mention the silent era). This film was what gave Rudy Valentino his big break and made him a star. This is one of those book-to-screen adaptations which was done marvellously right, instead of taking a great novel and throwing it into the toilet (à la Exodus).

Marcelo Desnoyers moves to Argentina from France in 1870. His family moves back to France before the outbreak of the First World War. During this idyllic, wealthy existence, Marcelo’s son Julio lives the life of Riley, living only for the moment and never developing any serious, mature interests. There’s a notoriously famous, sexy tango scene during Julio’s playboy days, as well as a scene where he sketches a nude model. Meanwhile, Marcelo’s sister-in-law has married a German, Karl Hartrott, and that branch of the family moves back to Germany.

Julio is finally compelled into growing up, and enlists in the French Army. Not only do we see/read the accounts of his wartime service, but we also see/read the horrific account of the carnage and pillage at Marcelo’s mansion. The book is even more graphic, haunting, and bloody than the film. I could picture the scenes in the book even more strongly because I’d already seen the film so many times, and when I next saw the film after reading the book, it was an even more intense experience.

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Ignore the 1962 “remake.” It has almost nothing in common with either the novel or 1921 film, and makes a complete mockery of both.

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14 comments on “Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest

  1. I must admit I haven’t watched too many silent films, except Charlie Chaplin and the old slapstick ones…

    Don’t you agree that the original is always the best version?

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  2. Arlee Bird says:

    Have not seen either of these but I am familiar with them. I remember seeing the Tyrone Power version of Blood and Sand when I was very young–about 5 or so–and being enthralled by it. The film at that time was among my favorites, but I haven’t seen it since.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin’ with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

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  3. chrysfey says:

    I feel ashamed to say I’ve never watched a silent film. Ever. *hangs head* But I’ve wanted to. I’m the kind of person who would like them. And one with blood, boobs, and carnage? Count me in! 🙂

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  4. That’s a serious explosion for an old film. I will skip the one that came out in the 60’s.
    Thanks for participating in our blogfest!

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  5. I didn’t know vamp, referring to that type of woman, was an abbreviation for vampyre. How interesting!

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  6. That’s so cool! I didn’t know about either of these. Got to love the definition of Vamps, a sexually aggressive, man-eating, rule-breaking, assertive woman. Damn right!

    THANK YOU for joining Alex and me in this EPIC blogfest!
    Heather M. Gardner

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  7. I remember this one! Great choice for the B,B&C Blogfest!

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  8. I’ve heard of the film but never watched. Those old, old movies are mostly forgotten. What a challenge to make movies in that era.

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  9. dolorah says:

    The clip is almost sweetly romantic. Interesting. Don’t you just love how different the word Vamp was then.

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  10. M.R.R. says:

    I haven’t seen many movies made earlier than the 1930’s.

    Juan looks awfully shocked in that picture.

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  11. Eden says:

    There’s an incredible amount of awesome cinematography in that clip, the way they cut in the sections of the real bullfights. There were a lot of hurdles to get around in the silent era that we don’t have now (a friend of mine made a silent film with some friends of hers a few years back and said it was a lot harder than she’d imagined).

    Now I have to find the whole film… Keeping me busy here! 😉

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    • Carrie-Anne says:

      I got mine from Amazon, bought together with a DVD of The Sheik and The Son of the Sheik. It’s really one of Rudy’s best movies, and one of the ideal ones to start out with. As a huge Valentino fan of over 10 years now, I definitely urge people NOT to see The Sheik first, since it’s so unrepresentative of his talents and what he was all about!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. greyzoned/angelsbark says:

    Ooh, good picks! I’ve never seen either but want to now! I’ve never sat and watched a silent movie all the way through but I need to. I think it’s amazing to see how they did filmmaking back in those days.
    Just stopping by from the BB&C…
    Michele at Angels Bark

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