Posted in 1920s, Movies, Rudy Valentino, Silent film

A lost and found flop with steamy costumes

The Young Rajah, released 12 November 1922 and based on John Ames Mitchell’s 1895 novel Amos Judd, is a sobering lesson on the importance of film preservation. For decades, it was considered a lost film (one of the few lost films from Rudy’s stardom years). Then a near-complete print was discovered in a chicken coop in Italy in the 1960s.

The silent film community immediately began raising funds to transfer the original, delicate nitrate to safety stock and enlist the film preservation services of Leslie Flint, head of London’s Valentino Memorial Guild. Alas, by the time the money was ready, about two-thirds had deteriorated beyond repair. Only a 26-minute fragment was left.

In the early 21st century, efforts to restore what remained of the film were undertaken again. The Library of Moving Images in Los Angeles won the surviving footage from a London auction, and intense preservation began. To fill in the many tragic gaps, the missing intertitles were recreated and other intertitles were inserted to explain missing events. Every effort was made to copy the look of other 1920s Paramount intertitles.

Film stills and two promotional trailers from 1922 were used in place of absent footage, with abovementioned explanatory intertitles. To figure out what went where, storyboards were laid out. When this laborious process was completed, film scholars at UCLA and the Academy Film Archives in L.A. reviewed it and made suggestions for improvements and additions.

After the final restoration and recreation was finished and given official approval, Jon Mirsalis was tasked with writing a new musical score. Many people who haven’t watched a lot of silents, or any, may not understand just how important the right music is for setting the proper mood, drawing the audience in, evoking certain emotions at the right moments, giving the action smooth flow. A generic piano or organ on a loop does a film no favors, and watching without any music at all is even worse.

The restoration made its network début on TCM in May 2006, along with several other of Rudy’s newly-restored films. In 2007, Flicker Alley released a two-disc set with The Young Rajah (now 52 minutes), A Society Sensation, Moran of the Lady Letty, and Stolen Moments.

When the film was originally released, it was a huge flop with both critics and regular moviegoers, and was one of the many reasons Rudy went on strike from acting for almost two years. Prior to its reconstruction, the most memorable thing about it was the costume design from Rudy’s second wife, Natacha Rambova. Some of Rudy’s costumes leave almost nothing to the imagination!

Joshua Judd (Charles Ogle) is the leading citizen of Daleford, Connecticut. Fifteen years ago, he and his wife Sarah (Fanny Midgley) adopted a son, Amos (Rudy Valentino), with mysterious origins.

One night, a letter is delivered to Joshua from his brother Morton in Calcutta, with papers enclosed to establish Amos’s identity. Joshua is instructed to not reveal anything to Amos. We learn Amos has an uncanny ability to forecast future events, which runs in the family, and a peculiar birthmark on the forehead.

This letter prompts Joshua to explain how Amos was brought from India to their family’s farm when he was a little boy, along with a package of rubies worth several hundred thousand dollars. Those rubies rightfully belong to Amos.

We then flash back to the night Amos came to live with Joshua and Sarah. The two Indian men who accompanied him explained the throne of Amos’s father, Maharajah Sirdir Singh, was seized by usurper Ali Kahn (Bertram Grassby). General Gadi (George Periolat) rescued Amos after the Maharajah was mortally wounded in a palace coup.

Amos insists he’s happy with the Judds and considers them his real family, regardless of his birth.

Back in India, Gen. Gadi consults with mystic Narada (Josef Swickard). He knows Amos is about to leave his home for Harvard, and wants advice on how and when to bring Amos back to his people. Because there’s currently peace in the kingdom, it’s decided that it’s best to leave the boy where he is for the moment.

Four years later, Amos is competing in a Harvard–Yale boat race. Naturally, Harvard wins, and there’s a big party to celebrate.

Three guys who aren’t part of the rowing team are at the party. They refuse to drink a toast to athletic hero Amos, convinced he bought his way into the team instead of fairly qualifying. Amos insists they’re liars, and Austin Slade (Jack Giddings) throws wine in his face. It turns out Slade was beaten by Amos when they tried out for the team.

A big fight with chair-throwing erupts, and when Amos dodges Slade, Slade falls through a window to his death.

We then shift to a summer party with a reincarnation theme on Long Island. Guests wear costumes of the people they believe they were in prior lifetimes. Here we meet Molly Cabot (Wanda Hawley). She’s dating Horace Bennett (Robert Ober), one of the guys who started the huge row. Horace wants an answer to his marriage proposal, but Molly insists on waiting till the end of summer.

When Horace sees Amos, he begins trashing him to Molly. Though Amos has never met Molly before in person, he’s seen her in his dreams, and feels they’re destined to be very good friends.

Molly’s dad, Judge Cabot (Edward Jobson), suggests a summer trip to Daleford, which he’s heard is delightful.

Amos is very happy to go home for the summer, and even more delighted to discover Molly is staying nearby. He’s determined to prove he’s not the evil guy Horace painted him as.

Horace sends Molly a letter, furious to learn she’s so chummy with Amos, and says he’s returning for her answer in August regardless. Meanwhile, Molly goes on a trip to Boston with her aunt. Amos correctly foresees her early, unexpected return, and Judge Cabot asks him to predict what will happen tomorrow.

Things happen exactly as Amos foretold, despite Judge Cabot trying to change his plans. Now Judge Cabot knows Amos has a true gift.

We then see the Indian court, where Ali Khan and his prime minister Ahmad Beg (J. Farrell MacDonald) learn about the existence of Amos and plot to have him and all of his supporters killed. To try to prevent this bloodshed, Narada returns to the world.

Horace sends Molly a telegram, alerting her to his imminent arrival. Though she likes Amos much more than Horace now, she feels she has to marry another white man instead of someone with Indian ancestry. (In the film, Amos has an Italian mother, though he’s 100% Indian in the novel.)

Amos and Horace have a fight which culminates in Horace trying to murder Amos. Molly cradles Amos’s bloody head in her arms and dumps Horace. While Amos is recovering, they set a wedding date.

Amos has a terrifying premonition of being murdered the day before their wedding, and is afraid nothing can be done to prevent it. Judge Cabot suggests Amos hide in a friend’s sanitarium under heavy guard.

This plan goes awry when Ahmad Beg and his thugs kidnap Amos. Will Amos’s horrific vision of the future indeed come to pass, and what will happen to his rightful throne?

Posted in 1920s, Movies, Rudy Valentino, Silent film

From San Francisco playboy to sunburnt sailor

Released 22 February 1922, Moran of the Lady Letty was based on Frank Norris’s 1898 novel of the same name. In an attempt to woo more of a male audience, Rudy Valentino was cast in a stereotypical man’s man role. Though the film includes a romantic subplot, it’s not the main focus of the story, and it’s definitely not a traditional film romance by any stretch. At one point, tomboyish leading lady Dorothy Dalton declares she wasn’t made for any man, nor for any woman.

In 2007, Moran was released on DVD with The Young Rajah, Stolen Moments, and A Society Sensation, in a beautifully-restored print. The difference between the clean-up and the VHS version I first watched in 2005 is like night and day! That earlier print was borderline unwatchable, since it was so blurry, faded, and deteriorated. When I saw the new and improved print for the first time on TCM, it was almost like watching the film for the first time all over again.

A girl who comes from a long line of sailors is born and raised on the high seas, while a boy is born with a diamond-encrusted silver spoon in his mouth, “heir to the aimless life of a rich man’s son.”

Many years later, in Norway, the trading vessel Fru Letty (Lady Letty) is preparing to sail for the North Pacific. Her captain, Eilert Sternerson (Charles Brinley), is devoted most of all in this world to the ship and his motherless daughter. Said daughter (Dorothy Dalton), an only child, was raised like a hardy seaman and is known in every port as Moran of the Lady Letty.

Months later, in Nob Hill, San Francisco, idle playboy Ramon Laredo (Rudy Valentino) is at a house party. He complains to his girlfriend, Josephine Herrick (Maude Wayne), that he’s so tired of this lifestyle, and wishes he could just escape it all already.

Also in San Francisco is Lady Letty, who needs to get additional freight. The ship came from British Columbia with coal for Valparaiso.

Ramon meets Moran and her father while he’s on his way to a yacht party, just after the Herricks set sail out of impatience at waiting for him. Apparently he has a habit of always being late. Moran thinks Ramon is a softy in minstrel clothes, and that he’ll be really reckless and sail around the harbor.

Ramon is told his friends left a few minutes ago, and he gets to talking with an old sailor by the docks. They decide to go for a drink.

The sailor asks the bartender to drug Ramon’s grape juice, and Ramon passes out cold. He comes to himself on The Heart of China, a notorious ship of pirates captained by Slippery Kitchell (Walter Long). Kitchell is none too pleased with the pathetic new recruit, and Ramon likewise wants out of this situation.

Cook and steward Charlie (George Kuwa) takes Ramon below decks and gets appropriate sailing clothes for him after Kitchell punches Ramon for talking back and trying to disobey orders.

Two weeks later, Ramon’s absence has made the newspaper, but the search goes cold by the waterfront. Josephine remembers how he spoke of running away from everything, and wonders if he didn’t leave on purpose instead of being kidnapped.

Despite his rough early beginnings, Ramon takes to life on the ship and comes to impress Kitchell with his surprisingly excellent work ethic and manliness.

Things aren’t going so good on Lady Letty, where a coal and gas fire has broken out. Captain Sternerson gives orders to flood the hold, but Moran insists the introduction of air will blow everyone to bits. The other efforts to put out the blazes aren’t a success, and orders are given to abandon ship. Moran is the only one who stays, disgusted at the cowardice of the men.

At dawn, Kitchell and Ramon see Lady Letty with distress flags raised. This seems like a perfect chance for looting, so they sail out and go aboard, where they discover evidence of the fire and assume everyone was killed. Everyone, that is, except Moran, whom Ramon is shocked to see is a woman.

Ramon brings Moran back to his ship while Kitchell and other sailors collect loot. Since the fire is still going, the pirating expedition is necessarily, unhappily cut short. All they bring back is rum. However, they’re gone just long enough for Ramon to hide Moran.

Moran emerges, very confused and shocked, to the equal surprise of Kitchell. Because of her reputation as Captain Sternerson’s daughter and a fine sailor in her own right, she’s recognised and respected by the other sailors. Ramon also recognises her, and reminds her of their brief meeting.

Kitchell has lecherous designs on Moran, but the rest of his sailors refuse to let that happen. They’re all equal shareholders on this vessel, and they don’t want their arrangement ruined because their captain couldn’t keep his pants buttoned up.  Ramon is assigned to guard Moran.

Kitchell sails to Mexico, where he has seedy dealings. After he goes ashore to conduct business, Moran and Ramon decide to go ashore too and explore the beach. When they’re alone, Ramon declares he’s happier than he’s ever been, after being bored to death only a month ago.

Ramon also declares romantic feelings for Moran, but she says she’s not that type of woman or made for that kind of life. Her entire life is the sea, and she’s a proud tomboy.

Then trouble starts brewing with Kitchell and his thugs, and a fierce battle between crew and captain is launched. Will the evil captain be defeated, and will Ramon decide to return to his old life in San Francisco or remain at sea?

Posted in 1920s, Movies, Rudy Valentino, Silent film

A lost and found treasure with a dynamic pairing

Released 7 May 1922, Beyond the Rocks was considered a lost film for decades. In her final years, leading lady Gloria Swanson longed for the chance to see it one more time and screen it for a modern audience, esp. since there was a renewed interest in leading man Rudy Valentino after his 50th death anniversary in 1976. Sadly, she passed away in 1983 without getting her wish. Only a one-minute snippet was known to survive.

Miraculously, a complete print turned up at the Nederlands Filmmuseum between 2000 and 2004. At first, in 2000, only two reels surfaced among the over 2,000 rusty cans of film donated by collector Joop van Liempd. Over the next few years, museum archivists painstakingly located the entire film among the generous inventory and pieced it together.

An international search was launched to find the original English-language intertitles and the 32-page continuity script, which included details of every scene. They were located in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences archive in Beverly Hills.

With this important material in hand, Filmmuseum archivists and Hagheflim Conservation conservators began restoring, cleaning, repairing, and duplicating the film. They saved the restoration and duplication of the most deteriorated elements till 2003.

Had the film been recovered just a few years later, it likely all would’ve been deteriorated beyond repair, like a large portion of one of Rudy’s other formerly lost films, The Young Rajah.

Beyond the Rocks was screened on TCM and at various film festivals in May 2005. It was such an exciting moment to see the network broadcast première of a miraculously rediscovered lost film! Particularly because it stars my beautiful Rudy Valentino. The film was released on DVD in 2006, with lots of bonus features. Of course, I immediately bought it.

The source material was Elinor Glyn’s 1906 novel of the same name. In 1922, the book was reissued with photos from the film.

Theodora Fitzgerald (Gloria Swanson) is the beautiful, spirited youngest daughter of kindly old Captain Dominic Fitzgerald (Alec Francis), a retired guardsman living on a meagre pension. Though she’s adored by her doting father, Theodora’s much-older spinster halfsisters Sarah and Clementine see her only as a means for restoring the family’s fortunes. They want her to marry a millionaire, even if she doesn’t love him.

One day while rowing near their house on the Dorset coast, Theodora is pitched overboard and rescued by Hector, tenth Earl of Brancondale (Rudy Valentino), who’s on a nearby yacht. After Theodora is safely returned to her worried father onshore, she gives Hector a narcissus flower for his lapel.

Times passes, and Theodora unhappily marries a much-older, short, stout man, Josiah Brown (Robert Bolder), who rose from a grocer’s assistant to a multimillionaire. Before the wedding, her father says she doesn’t have to go through with this marriage if she doesn’t want to (which infuriates Sarah and Clementine), but Theodora feels she has to keep her word to Josiah and pull her dear papa out of poverty.

Sorry about the obnoxious watermark on a PUBLIC DOMAIN image!

Theodora and Josiah’s honeymoon begins in the Alps. This isn’t the romantic honeymoon Theodora always dreamt of, but her mood turns around when she meets Hector at her inn. Also with Hector are his mother, Countess Bracondale (Edythe Chapman), and Morella Winmarleigh (Gertrude Astor), an heiress his mother hopes he’ll marry.

Theodora and Hector’s first meeting is recalled when a waiter gives Hector a handkerchief doused with narcissus perfume that fell on the floor, assuming it belongs to his mother or Morella. Hector sees it being returned to Theodora at the next table, with her back to him, but doesn’t immediately realize their past connection.

Theodora’s new friend, rich young widow Jane McBride (Mable Van Buren), proposes a mountaineering expedition for the next day. Josiah needs the exercise to build up his weak constitution. However, Josiah begs off because he can barely catch his breath sitting still.

While climbing the Alps, Theodora trips backwards while trying to take a photograph, falls over the ledge, and dangles precariously by her safety rope. Hector, climbing nearby on a lower section, comes to her rescue and stays with her until she can be lifted back up to her friends. During their time alone, Theodora reminds him of their prior acquaintance, and they start falling in love.

Josiah insists they leave the Alps and go to Paris. This is no exciting, romantic getaway for Theodora either, since she’s not only in an unhappy marriage, but Josiah constantly begs off going out and doing anything with her.

Theodora’s mood dramatically improves when her father visits their hotel and invites them to dine tonight. Josiah typically insists on staying in, but Captain Fitzgerald insists Theodora come. Also at dinner that night are the Bracondales and Jane.

Theodora and Hector’s love blossoms from there, and increases when they all go to Versailles (where again Josiah insists on staying in all the time). But out of duty to Josiah, Theodora refuses to abandon her marriage and start a new life with Hector. She says they must be stronger than their love and never see one another again.

Back in England, Hector confides his troubles to his sister, Lady Anna Anningford (June Elvidge). He knows a relationship with a married woman is impossible, so he begs Anna to become Theodora’s friend.

Anna invites Theodora and Josiah to a Whitsuntide party at her home, where there’s going to be a lavish historical pageant on the lawn. Theodora is undone by love when she sees Hector, and begs to leave with Josiah, who has to finalize the purchase of a townhouse. Josiah says she can’t leave, since she’s in the pageant.

At this party, Josiah agrees to finance his friend Sir Lionel Grey’s expedition to North Africa and accompany him. Both Hector and Theodora think going there is madness, since the journey is difficult and the desert tribes are dangerous. Josiah takes Hector’s advice and decides to stay in England, though he’ll still finance the trip.

Hector locks a friend in a closet when he discovers this guy is going to play Theodora’s lover. He takes off his planned costume, puts on his friend’s costume, and races to Theodora’s side in the pageant. Hector begs her to run away with him, but Theodora again insists she must keep her word to Josiah.

Theodora writes to Hector and Josiah, informing each of her final decision, but Morella finds the letters and absconds with them. She steams the envelopes open, switches the letters, and sends them to the wrong recipients. For a long time, she’s been suspicious about Hector’s true feelings for Theodora.

Can scandal be averted before something terrible happens, and will Theodora and Hector ever be able to live happily ever after and get beyond the rocks?

Posted in 1920s, Movies, Rudy Valentino, Silent film

Happy 100th birthday, Blood and Sand! (The film that made me fall in love with Rudy)

I am so excited to finally celebrate the first Rudy Valentino film I ever saw, on 17 November 2004. This is the film that made me fall in love with Rudy from the very first time I saw him in motion. My heart literally skipped a beat! I just knew, even before I knew, that he’d become my favourite male actor. There was something so very, very, very special about him that moved my heart, mind, and soul.

Blood and Sand, released 22 August 1922, was the second film adaptation of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez’s 1908 novel Sangre y Arena. Five of Señor Ibáñez’s novels were made into Hollywood films in the silent era, and Blood and Sand was remade in 1941 (with sexy Tyrone Power, one of my favourite male actors of the sound era) and in 1989 (with Sharon Stone as the femme fatale). The first film version was made in 1916 and filmed by Sr. Ibáñez himself.

There was also a 1922 parody by Stan Laurel as a solo comedian, Mud and Sand. Stan’s character is named Rhubarb Vaselino. In 1924, Will Rogers parodied Rudy’s film in the short Big Moments from Little Pictures.

The film’s popularity gave rise to a Prohibition era cocktail called Blood and Sand, made with blood orange juice, sweet vermouth, cherry heering liqueur, and scotch, and garnished with a slice of blood orange. It’s usually served in a champagne coupe glass.

The screenplay was written by June Mathis, one of the most powerful women in silent Hollywood, who had given Rudy his big break the prior year in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. She insisted he be cast in the lead role, advocated for him when no one else believed in his great dramatic potential, and mentored him every step of the way.

Rudy never forgot what she did for him, and apart from a brief period of estrangement (which happily ended before his death), was close to her for the rest of his life. June was like a surrogate mother to him, and continued advocating for him and making sure he always got the best possible roles.

Dorothy Arzner was the film editor and also directed some of the bullfighting scenes uncredited. Her work on both fronts saved Famous Players–Lasky (later Paramount) thousands of dollars, particularly since she intercut the close-ups with stock footage of bullfights. This job became a doorway into a high-profile career as Hollywood’s only female director besides Lois Weber from 1927–1943.

In addition to the novel, the film was also based on a 1921 play by Thomas Cushing. The lead role was played by Otis Skinner, who was in his early sixties and derided as far too old. That problem was solved when Rudy played the lead in the film!

The film opens with a statement about how since the dawn of time, humans have been drawn to the spectacle of man fighting beast. Particularly in Spain, love of the brutal bullfight seems inborn.

We then meet Widow Gallardo (Rosa Rosanova) of Seville, who’s at her wits’ end by her constantly missing son Juan. Though he’s apprenticed to a shoemaker (his father’s trade), he spends more time playing at bullfighting and chasing bulls at the butcher’s.

Also endlessly annoyed by Juan’s pet hobby and MIA act are his saddler brother-in-law Antonio (Leo White) and sister Encarnación (Rosita Marstini).

Juan and two of his buddies fight bulls in front of a small local crowd, and things go terribly wrong when his friend Chiripa is gored to death. Full of rage and heartache, Juan finishes the bull off, while infamous bandit Plumitas (Walter Long) watches nearby.

Five days later, Juan returns home to a very worried, angry family. When he explains why he was gone so long, his mother is heartbroken and begs him to stop playing at bullfighting. Next time, it might be him instead.

Juan insists this is his passion, and that eventually he’ll become the greatest matador in Spain, with money for all the finest things in life.

Juan’s dreams come true when he has a very successful bullfight and returns home a conquering hero, to the amazement of his entire family. Antonio does a quick about-face and begins pretending he and Encarnación always had high hopes for the boy and knew he’d become the greatest bullfighter ever.

One of the people in the happy homecoming crowd is Juan’s childhood friend Carmen (Lila Lee), who just returned from convent school. They’re immediately drawn to one another, and before long are courting.

Juan goes from strength to strength, and before long is successful enough to merit a manager. He’s also gathered together a group of important high-ranking associates to help with his career.

Carmen loves Juan, but is worried by talk of his drinking and bad companions, both male and female. Juan explains he only drinks to return friends’ courtesies and that no toreador can live like a monk. He also swears by the figure of faith on the Giralda tower than he loves only her.

Juan and Carmen are soon happily married. Though they’re not blessed with kids, and Juan has to spend a lot of time away from home on account of his career, that doesn’t change his devotion to Carmen.

Their domestic bliss is threatened when Sol de Guevara (Nita Naldi), the widow of an ambassador and niece of Spain’s greatest bull-breeder, sees Juan at a bullfight and throws him a perfumed handkerchief with an ancient snake ring enclosed. It belonged to Cleopatra, who gave it to a Roman conquerer for his bravery.

Despite an intense mutual attraction and proding from his manager, Juan refuses to visit Doña Sol when he returns to Seville after the season ends. His manager finally accompanies him to her home, insisting on the importance of good patronage.

Juan feels trapped when Doña Sol insists he stay to dinner and his manager leaves, but by the end of the night, Doña Sol’s seduction is a success, and Juan gives in to temptation and starts a passionate affair.

Juan is torn by his pure love for Carmen and his animalistic love for Doña Sol.

Juan decides to go to his new estate Rinconada for a few days to clear his head, but a major kink appears in this plan when Doña Sol shows up too, saying her car broke down when she was on her way to her uncle’s estate next door.

Even more trouble appears when Plumitas shows up the next morning. Carmen and Widow Gallardo are also on their way to confront Juan.

Will Juan find a way out of this impossible situation and get back on track with his marriage and career before it’s too late?

Posted in 1920s, Movies, Rudy Valentino, Silent film

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at 100, Part III (Reception and legacy)

The Four Horsemen was premièred to great acclaim in New York on 6 March 1921, and became one of the very first films to earn over a million dollars. During its long initial run, it earned $4,500,000 in the U.S. alone. So very successful and popular was it, the film was rereleased on 2 October 1926.

Its Canadian première came in April 1921, and it was released in Japan, Australia, and throughout Europe during 1922 and 1923. Adjusted for inflation, this is the highest-grossing film of the silent era, with a grand total of $9,183,673 ($142,602,432 in 2021).

However, there was one corner of the international market which wasn’t exactly enthusiastic—Germany. The von Hartrotts are depicted in a rather stereotypical way, and the German soldiers who occupy Marcelo’s castle in Villeblanche are absolute beasts who help themselves to anything they want and rough up anyone standing in their way. In this immediate period after World War I, when anti-German sentiments and memories still ran high, they were consistently depicted in a negative light in films.

Gone were the days when German was America’s unofficial second language and people proudly bore German surnames. Many street names and business names were changed as well, and people of German descent were viewed with hostility and suspicion.

Some U.S. censorship boards also demanded ridiculous changes, as described in an October 1922 issue of Photoplay. Pennsylvania censors removed the references to Julio’s birth and the intertitle “It’s a boy!” Also altered was the nature of Julio and Marguerite’s relationship. The entire dynamic of their forbidden love was radically changed, with Marguerite and Étienne Laurier being merely engaged instead of in an arranged marriage where only one person (Laurier) has feelings of love.

“Foolish Censors” is a really good article. The author totally calls out modern-day Puritans who believe “every American is a half-wit” and needs constant protecting from the tiniest little hint of anything that’s not rainbows, flowers, puppies, and kittens. Among other ridiculous examples he cites, a Chicago censorship board wouldn’t let a husband pull the curtains down in his own home, an Ohio censor thought Treasure Island taught piracy to children, and Pennsylvania censors found the word “ornery” offensive.

But overall, rave reviews poured in all across the board. Picture-Play called the film an artistic triumph, and praised the actors. So acclaimed was the film, screenwriter June Mathis became one of the most powerful and respected women in Hollywood, second only to Mary Pickford. Many modern people don’t realize how many powerful women there were in Hollywood during the silent era, both behind and in front of the camera.

June was so in demand thanks to this success, she wrote films for Famous Players-Lasky and Goldwyn Pictures as well as Metro. These included several of Rudy’s future films. June always made sure he got the best roles and was taken care of very well.

The Four Horsemen made Rudy an overnight superstar, but Metro sadly refused to raise his piddly $350 a week salary.  Even extras and bit players on their lot made more money than that. Metro also didn’t use Rudy’s talents to the best possible extent, and immediately cast him in the B-picture Uncharted Seas (his only lost stardom-era film).

Rudy wisely moved to Famous Players-Lasky after that, where he got much better work.

Director Rex Ingram (on the left) also became a huge star because of the film’s success, but he egotistically felt that was all down to his own work behind the camera and had nothing to do with Rudy’s brilliant acting. He soon grew to resent Rudy’s new superstar status, and only made one more film with him, The Conquering Power.

Most of the rest of his films starred his wife Alice Terry as the leading lady, and newfound star Ramón Novarro as the leading man. Rex heavily promoted Ramón as the new Rudy, though they were both equally awesome.

It just so happens that Ramón appeared as an extra in The Four Horsemen.

There was a garbage remake in 1962, directed by Vincente Minelli and starring Glenn Ford as Julio, Ingrid Thulin as Marguerite, Charles Boyer as Marcelo, Paul Henreid as Étienne Laurier, and Yvette Mimieux as Chichí. The setting was changed to WWII, which completely alters the story. Not only that, the circumstances of patriarch Madariaga’s death are different, and Julio joins the French Resistance and smuggles messages in magazines instead of becoming a soldier to prove his bravery and maturity. Chichí is also arrested and tortured, when she’s never in any danger in either the book or original film.

And did I mention how ridiculous it is for a 46-year-old and 36-year-old to play a couple in their twenties?

I can’t say enough wonderful things about the original screen adaptation of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez’s fine novel, and highly urge everyone to both see the film and read the book.