Valentino: The Land Of Opportunity

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The United States lived up to its reputation as being the “Land of Opportunity” for a talented Italian teenager in 1913. Rudolph Valentino, and Italian boy, had a desire to venture outside of Italy because he felt the country constricted him too much, he wanted to be free. Valentino’s aspirations led him to the United States where he became a household name through the film industry. His handsome appearance combined with his natural ability to dance and act was the driving force in his rise to fame in the United States. Valentino came to the United States at the perfect time, the film industry, like other industries during the 1920s, was booming. The demand for new films was the fuel to Valentino’s success in America. Valentino’s film career…show more content…
This meant always being well dressed, he would rather go hungry than be poorly dressed. Fashion in the United States at the turn of the decade was not up to date, men still wore suits and long coats that were primarily gray and black. In the article, “Valentino’s Rise to Stardom,” by Currier Bell, the author mentions fashion in Italy was different at the time, “At the time, style traveled rather slowly, and the flamboyant dress of southern Italy was far from mainstream in America. Valentino’s tastes never adjusted to American sensibilities, and his dedication to his own style is both commendable and eventually it became integral to his fame” (Bell 2). Valentino’s attire was very different compared to the other men in America. Valentino’s effeminate style and love for jewelry raised questions about his masculinity. Valentino was making a bold fashion statement, women adored it and men loathed it. As Valentino became more popular through his films, his influence on culture increased; men started imitating his slicked-back hairstyle and wearing colorful clothing became the new fad for men’s fashion. Valentino’s strength to not conform to current American fashion even after being constantly ridiculed about his manliness eventually led to the spread of colorful, flamboyant outfits of the…show more content…
Valentino died on August 23, 1926 when his appendix ruptured and he developed inflammation in his lung. Valentino battled criticism his whole career about his personal tastes and sexuality, but the months leading up to Valentino’s death were perhaps Valentino’s most unhappy days. An editorial, “Pink Powder Puffs,” was published anonymously and it blamed Valentino for the widespread installation of powder puff stations in men's bathrooms. More importantly, the purpose of the article was to poke fun at Valentino’s masculinity. Valentino was pushed over his limit and began boxing to prove his manliness, eventually translating into a fight with a writer who admit that Valentino definitely packed a punch. In the article, “The “Latin Lover” and his Enemies,” by Gilbert King, King explains how Valentino’s fame did not correlate into happiness. “Here was a young man who was living daily the dream of millions of other young men. Here was one who was catnip to women. Here was one who had wealth and fame. And here was one who was very unhappy” (King 23). It was a shame that an iconic Hollywood star would pass at such a low point in his life, but there was no doubt that his influence was monumental, when one hundred thousand people lined the streets outside the Frank Campbell Funeral Home for
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