My longtime online friend Donna Hill has brought her thirty year labor of love, Rudolph Valentino: The Silent Idol, to fruition with the publication of her exquisitely made tribute to the great silent star, who still mesmerizes his many fans. As Donna explained to Thomas Gladysz at The Examiner.com, "Valentino captivated me the first time I saw him, in Blood and Sand. He had such charm and magnetism, and I sought to learn more about him. I read the books available at my library. After all these years, having seen all of Valentino’s extant films in some form or another, my opinion has not changed. On screen he was a magnetic personality, and the camera loved him. Like so many actors on the silent screen, he had a distinct talent for communicating thought and emotion in a way the audience could translate."
No less a film historian than Leonard Maltin on his Movie Crazy site has praised this meticulously prepared book as "beautiful" and "impressive" with "photographs [that] reveal much more, as we follow the trajectory of the Italian-born screen star's thirty-one years of life. We see his natural, friendly smile--an interesting contrast to the poses he would strike for Hollywood cameramen. We observe him at work, at play, with friends, family, pets, costars, and lovers. Hill's straightforward text places each picture into a time frame, and her book reminds us just how much a single photograph can convey, especially if we understand its context. This chronological gallery is akin to a visual biography, and it's clearly been assembled with love and care."
Congratulations to Donna on this achievement and--while she "rests on her laurels" for a moment or two, we hope to look forward to possible further explorations of silent era figures by her, as indicated by this teaser page at Ms. Hill's possible site devoted to one of Valentino's memorable co-stars, Nita Naldi.
If you are in the Los Angeles area on August 21st, stop by the Larry Edmunds Book Shop on Hollywood Boulevard at 7 PM. You will have the opportunity to meet Donna Hill, who will be signing copies of her beautiful book, discussing all things Valentino, and hosting a screening of some "Rudy Rarities!"
Copies of Rudolph Valentino: The Silent Idol may be purchased through Rudolph-Valentino.com or Amazon.