Rambova: First Blood

Two SON OF FRANKENSTEIN limericks — 1 and 2. With good titles!


Meanwhile, The Forgotten this week deals with a production designer & costume designer rather than the more usual auteurist figure of director. Natacha Rambova will assail your eyeballs with all manner of rousy gear — step this way.

13 Responses to “Rambova: First Blood”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    What a superb piece! Rambova was indeed the auteur of both films, if only for providing such a lustrous setting for her (alleged) girlfriend Nazimova to emote in. Sweet, also, of the gals to give their ineffectual husbands something to do.

  2. David Boxwell Says:

    Other production designers who frequently overshadowed credited directors: William Cameron Menzies, Gordon Wiles, VanNest Polglase, Anton Grot.

  3. Always thought Unkle Ken was too harsh about his Valentino — it doesn’t quite sustain the energy, but it has awfully good things in it. The fact that Mardik Martin was a writer on it always suggested to me that this was intended at some stage as a Scorsese film — it could have been The Aviator avant la lettre.

    And speaking of production designers, Dante Ferretti practically deserves co-auteur status on every recent Scorsese film.

  4. david wingrove Says:

    Sorry, but Valentino is way better than The Aviator. It least it gets the central casting right…a thing that tragically eludes Scorsese!

  5. Apart from fortuitously being called Rudolph, which must have made life simpler for him, Nureyev looks the part — not so much a facial resemblance, as an embodiment of the right spirit — but he’s unavoidably Russian, which does create a slight credibility gap. Then again, the film is unavoidably shot in Britain, so who cares?

  6. More important, Nureyev is a STAR. He lived a lot longer than Valentino and certainly never tried to closet himself the way Valentino did but he was utterly magnetic — so it was casting that made perfect sense.

    Mardick Martin also wrote the immortal Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.

  7. Not unless you have secret information — WD Richter is credited on that. Asides from Valentino, MM’s credits are ALL Scorsese films, which made me think Marty must have been tied to the project, but the other connection is producer Irwin Winkler, who also made Raging Bull.

  8. Now I really want to see de Niro as Valentino.

  9. I love both these films and I love Rambova’s work on them, but I think a strong case can be made that Nazimova is the auteur of them. They were her productions, and in the case of Salome she also wrote the scenario. Would love to see the other two films her production company made, Billions and A Doll’s House, both with art direction by Rambova, but I think Billions is lost.

  10. Richter wasn’t the only writer credited on TAOBBATED, there was also Earl Mac Rauch. and I was given to understand that both were involved in the script. The most generous scenario I can conjure is that perhaps Mardik Martin did some uncredited work. It was a bit of a messy production.

  11. Earl Mac Rauch was also a Scorsese collaborator with few other credits — maybe that’s been the source of confusion.

    DeNiro would need to work on his sexiness, but that’d be an interesting acting challenge for him. He did some good work in 30s settings, so the 20s would probably work.

  12. That IS the source of my confusion. Earl MacRauch co-scripted New York New York — a film every bit as bizarre as Buckaroo Banzai

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