Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

September 2, 2020

Rudolph Valentino in “The Married Virgin” (1918)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:04 am
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Rodolfo Di Valentino, aka RUDOLPH VALENTINO, certainly paid his dues as an actor before stardom beckoned. In the late 1910’s and through early 1920, he appeared in supporting roles in nearly two dozen films, and by the late teens, he was recognizable as a character actor, often stereotyped as a seductive European or Latin American playboys or gigolos or operators of one kind or another taking advantage of women with money and/or position. As the roles got bigger, he truly smoldered on the screen and surely when he was cast in his star-making role in FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, released in 1921, these seductive supporting roles and their evidence of unique power he possessed as a film actor were what led to him getting that gig. The contemporary trade reviews of his supporting roles commented on how persuasive he was as a jaded European rake, on the make.

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In 2017 I wrote about another early Valentino film, STOLEN MOMENTS, and you can read that piece here:  https://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/stolen-moments-1920-starring-rudolph-valentino/

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Like Stolen Moments, THE MARRIED VIRGIN was a film re-issued once Valentino became a star, highlighting his supporting role….although in the case of THE MARRIED VIRGIN, the film may not have even had a proper release when it was made in 1918. You can Google the film and read more about this, but it seems the original version was 7 reels and was exhibited to reviewers/exhibitors in 1918, but not released. It was re-edited in 1920, cut to 6 reels, and released under the names THE MARRIED VIRGIN and FRIVOLOUS WIVES. The latter had a great tagline, “a drama of a body and heart divided.”

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Valentino plays Count Roberto di San Fraccini, a character one perceptive IMDB Valentino fan describes as a “cabaret parasite,” which pretty much says it all. Although he eventually got tired of these stereotypical roles, he always gave the producers their money’s worth, and he certainly does here. Savor the master, RUDOLPH VALENTINO, working his magic in a low-budget potboiler prior to his superstar period. The film is a typical melodrama of the day, but it moves quickly and is relatively entertaining overall, but add Valentino to the formula, and it’s suddenly something worth your time….and only 70 minutes long.

Settle back, pretend you are seeing this at your neighborhood theater in 1920 after a long work week, ready for some romantic fantasy entertainment….

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THE MARRIED VIRGIN

made in 1918, reissued in 1920

directed by Joseph Maxwell

with

Vera Sisson …. Mary McMillan
Rudolph Valentino …. Count Roberto di San Fraccini (as Rodolfo di Valentini)
Frank Newburg …. Douglas McKee
Kathleen Kirkham …. Mrs. McMillan
Edward Jobson …. John McMillan
Lillian Leighton …. Anne Mullins, the Maid

NOTE: This film will look better seen on a laptop as opposed to a TV screen.

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