Friday, August 26, 2011

Emily Leider - Upcoming Myrna Loy Book Events

I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of Emily Leider's biography of Myrna Loy, Myrna Loy The Only Good Girl in Hollywood.  If you're in or around San Francisco, you have several opportunities to attend some grand events and screenings and to meet Emily and obtain an autographed copy of this much anticipated book.

Friday, October 7, 2011 at 6:00, Mechanics Institute Library, 57 Post St., San Francisco, 4th floor. Screening of the 1932 movie “The Animal Kingdom,” with Myrna Loy and Leslie Howard. Emily will introduce the film and will sign books after the movie. Doors open at 5:30 and sandwiches and drinks are available then. For a reservation call (415) 393-0114.

Friday, October 14, 2011 at 6:00, Mechanics Institute Library, 57 Post St., San Francisco, 4th floor. Screening of the 1933 movie “Penthouse,” in which Myrna Loy morphs from a call girl into a lady. Emily will sign books after the movie. Doors open at 5:30, as above, and a reservation is advised (415) 393-0114.

The Mechanics will screen two more Myrna Loy movies on the next two Friday nights, Oct. 21 and Oct. 28, at 6:00. These will “Manhattan Melodrama,” a 1934 film (which won an Academy Award for Best Story) starring Myrna Loy, Clark Gable and William Powell, and on 10/28 ‘Love Crazy,” a very silly 1941 comedy with William Powell. Emily will NOT be introducing or signing books at these last two screenings; the movies are great fun and you should go anyway.

Thursday, October 27, at 7:00, a talk and book signing at Bookshop at West Portal, 80 West Portal Ave., San Francisco.

Wednesday, December 14 at 7:30, a talk, clips show and screening of the 1936 comedy “Libeled Lady,” co-starring Myrna Loy, William Powell, Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy, at The Barn, Hollywood Heritage Museum, 2100 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles. Reservations necessary; call (323) 874-2276.  Hollywood Heritage website will have details and online tickets soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 7:30, “Nick and Nora’s San Francisco,” a talk with movie clips. Presented by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center, 3200 California Street, San Francisco.

I'm looking forward to attending at least two of the local events, the Nick and Nora's San Francisco event is particularly appealing. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Remembering Rudolph Valentino

It seems he has always been with us....just out of reach, traveling the world, having just stepped away. His films remind us of a distinct personality and physical presence whenever they are shown. This man came before us, and will remain long after us. 'Immortal' is too haughty: 'Transcendent' is my word choice for Rudy's lasting appeal.  - M. Pierce
I could not have said it better myself, hence the quotation above.  Today is the 85th anniversary of Valentino's untimely passing.  Many will have gathered at Hollywood Forever to mark his passing and celebrate his life and legacy.  Others will celebrate and observe a quiet moment or watch one of his films.

85 years later, why do so many still care and commemorate Valentino?  What is his lasting appeal?
It may be that intangible "star quality" or the lasting regret of his early demise, just as his career was back on the upswing.  Everyone I've spoken with has a different answer, each is as unique as it is valid.

Valentino the actor on screen represents a dream, a fantasy.  In this day in age, we all still need fantasy, even in what some feel is an antiquated format.  Unless you;ve seen a silent film as it should be presented, you cannot understand the incredible magnetism of stars of the era nor the engrossing way a silent film sucks you in and is all enveloping.  Valentino was a magnetic performer.  My favorite of his films is The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Valentino gives a performance that stands the test of time, not overplayed and the sly breaking through the fourth wall in the Tango Palace in Paris is one of many moments that make the film special to me.

Valentino the man is revealed in so many ways in simple photographs.   An animal lover, a car buff, a fitness buff, a friend, a simple man, a man in love.  In his 31 short years, Valentino lived his life to the fullest.  He was not always a wise man nor a nice man.  He was human, he made mistakes, some terrible, some poor choices in judgement.  But, in viewing him from the window of many photos, I see him as a man who endured terrible tragedy and still found joy in his life.  Again, he was a human as we all are.  People during his lifetime often forgot this.  His legend was so wrapped up in the fantasy of the characters he portrayed during his peak of popularity, Valentino the man was ignored.  Today this is very different, people are eager to learn who was this man named Rudolph Valentino. 

In a little pictorial tribute on this day of memory, here are a few favorite photos of  Rudolph Valentino.

Rudolph Valentino circa 1918 (Nelson Evans photographer)

 Valentino portrait circa 1920 (Maurice Goldberg photogtapher)

 Valentino circa 1923 (Russell Ball photographer)

 Louise Dresser and Valentino in the 1925 film The Eagle (Nealson Smith photographer)
 Valentino and Natacha Rambova pose for the Mineralava Tour in 1923 (James Abbe photographer)
Natacha Rambova and Rudolph Valentino at their Hollywood home "Whitley Heights" in 1922
(James Abbe photographer)

Valentino, it would seem, will never be forgotten.