Sidney Olcott, le premier oeil

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December 9, 2018





A sequence of Monsieur Beaucaire in the biopic Valentino (1951)

1951, Columbia distributes Valentino, a film directed by Lewis Allen. This is an old project by producer Edward Small dating back to 1939. The screenplay has been the subject of many versions. The two wives of Rudolph Valentino, Jean Acker and Natacha Rambova, refused to participate in the film. The production had to face also the threats of lawsuits of  production companies as well as of the family of the Latin lover whose brother Alberto. So the final scenario is highly fictional, the names of the wives are not mentioned.

Several names of actors circulated to take the title role: Louis Hayward, Cornel Wilde, the Frenchman Louis Jordan, John Derek ... It is finally Anthony Dexter, excellent dancer, under contract with Edward Small. He was chosen among 2,000 contenders because of his resemblance to Valentino.

Filming begins on June 2, 1950 at Columbia Ranch and Sam Goldwyn Studios. Director George Melford who directed Valentino in The Sheik (1921) makes an appearance. Many scenes of films have been recreated The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), The Sheik (1921), Bloody Arena (1922), The Red Hacienda (1924), The Black Eagle (1925) ... But also of Monsieur Beaucaire (1923) the film directed by Sidney Olcott for Paramount.

The sequence lasts a little less than a minute. To protect a lady, Beaucaire confronts three men with the sword. Anthony Dexter is more like Douglas Fairbanks than seducer Rudolph Valentino.

Lewis Allen's film was a public and critical flop. It's visible on YouTube.
Valentino is released in France under the title Rudolph Valentino, the great seducer, on September 8, 1965.

Sorry for my English

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©2009 Michel Derrien