Friday, June 3, 2016

Rudy Plays Hand Ball At The Garden of Allah

The famous villa complex that once sat at the corner of Crescent Heights and Sunset Blvd was legendary within the movie colony.  However before a 1928 renovation - when all the extra bungalows were added, there was a large tennis court where one could play a variety of games including the photo here of a gloved Rudolph Valentino playing handball.

When I first obtained this candid image of Rudy, I was trying to place where it was taken.  Why did that background fencing look so familiar to me?  I had recently read the wonderful book on Alla Nazimova by Gavin Lambert.  I went back to the book and there it was, a 1920 photo that showed the court next to the pool.  Bingo!  Now I knew it was taken at the famed location.

Alla Nazimova cast Valentino as her leading man in 1921 version the classic story of Camille. Natacha Rambova received her first screen credit on this film however they mis-spelled her name as "Natasha"  While Nazimova's acting may appear over the top by todays standards, I found her fascinating as an actress.  I highly recommend the book 'Nazimova' by Gavin Lambert.

Rudy playing hand ball at The Garden of Allah - Circa 1921  Photo taken by Paul Ivano

Same fencing in this 1920 photo from Gavin Lambert's bio on Nazimova
Alla Nazimova
Nazimova & Valentino in 'Camille'  Metro Studios 1921

1 comment:

  1. A delightful snapshot in time depicting a carefree and leisurely RV and one really has to thank Paul Ivano for capturing the person not the myth with his camera - rare moments/photographs indeed.