Rudolph Valentino Beautebox, c. 1925
This beautebox depicts Rudolph Valentino in his role in the 1921 silent film The Sheik. Rudolph’s dark eyes and hair and “exotic” foreign heritage first typecast Valentino into villain roles. Later, after finding widespread success with his roles in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Sheik, he became known as the “Latin Lover,” a persona constructed in part by the Hollywood studio system.
As one of the premier sex symbols of the 1920s, his refined good looks and elegant, dandy appearance caused mass mysteria in women and jealousy in men who were threated by his status, with critics questioning his masculinity and speculating about his sexual orientation.