March 6, 1921–The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Premieres in New York…

Can it already be 100 years since Rudolph Valentino lit up the screen in the film version of the best-selling novel of the same name? I’m taking a detour from working on my next post about the Valentino “connection” to mark this day.

Coincidentally, I have almost finished reading the powerful novel which was transformed into the film that would jumpstart Valentino’s career. The book was published in July 2018 and by February 1920, the book marked its 76th printing. Long out of print, the book may be downloaded from Archive.org. It is downloadable in many formats, including for the Kindle. If you prefer listening to an audio reading of the book, this is the link to the LibriVox files. Accessing the book itself is best done by searching for the full author’s name, but a direct link is provided below.

It was June Mathis who managed to create a workable script from Ibanez’s epic novel which had been thought to be unadaptable by most movie studios. It was also June Mathis who fought to have Rudolph Valentino cast as Julio after she saw him in Eyes of Youth (1919).

June Mathis ca. 1920

Of course, the “tango scene” was one of the key parts of the film that garnered attention for Valentino. In the novel, the tango is mentioned only briefly. In the film, the dance sequence was expanded because of Valentino’s prowess as a dancer.

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

(direct link to the download)

The film is readily available for viewing on Youtube, of course, but one of the best creators of videos about Rudolph, who is known as “mysilentboyfriend” has posted “Rudolph Valentino: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 100th Anniversary Tribute” which presents key scenes in a short retelling of the story. It’s beautifully done!

Valentino as Julio ready to tango, 100 years ago

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