Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Rudolph Valentino, born in Italy in 1895 as Alfonzo Raffaele Pierre Philibert Guglielmi, emigrated to the U.S. and became for a time the reigning male romantic lead of the silent-film era. He died in 1926, having led a short, troubled and tempestuous life which included several stints in prison. The crowds surrounding his coffin before and during his funeral were among the largest ever seen in the U.S. In this film, Ken Russell has used events from the famous actor's life as the basis for an extended meditation on the nature of stardom, and especially on what it means to be a sex idol. Beginning and ending with the funeral of Valentino (Rudolf Nureyev), the story chronicles his rise to Hollywood stardom from life as an Italian emigrant dishwasher and show-dancer. Often embroiled in controversies about his manliness (or perceived lack of ), in the film he dies as a result of internal injuries suffered in a boxing match he fought in to defend his honor.
actor, fame, funeral, prison, sex-symbol, boxing