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Emily W. Leider: Dark Lover

Emily W. Leider: Dark Lover

The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino. USA 2004, 514 pp., brochure,  29.95
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In the 5 years between his meteoric rise to fame in the silent epic »The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse« and his untimely death at age 31, Rudolph Valentino managed to leave an indelible imprint on our ideas of romance and sexuality that resonates to this day. In this thoughtful retelling of Valentino's short and tragic life the author looks at the Great Lover's life and legacy, and explores the events and issues that made him emblematic of the Jazz Age. From his early work as a taxi dancer in New York City to his near apotheosis as the ultimate Hollywood heartthrob, Valentino (often to his distress) occupied a space squarely at the center of controversy. Called by turns a tango pirate, gigolo, powder puff, and Adonis, Valentino's androgynous sexuality was a lightning rod for fiery and contradictory impulses that ran the gamut from swooning adoration to lashing resentment. He was reviled in the press for being too feminine for a man: yet he also brought to the screen the alluring, savage lover who embodied women's forbidden sexual fantasies.
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