On the evening of Wednesday, May 11, 2011 a celebration in commemoration of the birthday of silent film legend Rudolph Valentino was held at the Hollywood Heritage Museum in Hollywood, CA. The Museum was filled to capacity as silent film enthusiasts came to hear noted author and Valentino historian Donna Hill gave an entertaining presentation in connection to her book, "Rudolph Valentino, the Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs".
Ms. Hill delighted the audience by showcasing various rare photographs of Valentino which were not able to be included in her book. We enjoyed seeing some never-before-seen candid photos of the handsome silent star as well as beautiful scene stills and on-set publicity stills from his many films. Ms. Hill's presentation was augmented by a condensed presentation of "Blood and Sand" as well as several contemporary and older newsreels and documentaries on Rudolph Valentino.
The event was complimented by a truly amazing display of just a portion of noted Valentino collector (and author of "Valentino the Unforgotten"), Tracy Ryan Terhune. We were treated to view in person original movie posters from "Blood and Sand," "The Young Rajah," "The Eagle," " The Conquering Power" as well as a superb selection of original lobby cards from these films as well as some rare "pre-star" titles. Even more impressive was Mr. Terhune's beautifully arranged display of ultra-rare personal items that belonged to Valentino (including a pair of binoculars with the original case, a silk top hat and various decorative silver pieces) as well as equally rare trophies from a dance contest, an original poster from Valentino's famed "Mineralava" dance tour with his wife, Natacha Rambova, and numerous other amazing pieces.
Hollywood Heritage Board member Mary Mallory produced the event which was initially introduced by Hollywood Heritage's President, Richard Adkins. This was a very special and enjoyable evening that played to a sell-out crowd and is yet another sign of the enduring popularity of the silent cinema and one of it's greatest stars... Rudolph Valentino.