Ramon Novarro

Greater Mexico’s Ramón Novarro: Between Latin Lover and Aztec Prince

Juan Sebastian Ospina Leon

Resumen


This article explores the construction of Ramón Novarro—the first Mexican actor to reach Hollywood stardom—as a “matinee idol” for women within multiple and competing, cultural discourses in Mexico City and Los Angeles. Looking at trade journals, periodicals catering to American, Mexican-American, and Mexican readerships, as well as Novarro’s starring role in Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ (Fred Niblo, 1925), I trace the contradictory underpinnings shaping his star persona along class, ethnic, gendered, and sexed lines. Unlike that of Rudolph Valentino, Novarro’s star persona struck the right balance as an oddly de-eroticized Latin lover. This balance would allow for Novarro’s meteoric rise, within the growing nativist culture of mid-1920s Hollywood, against the backdrop of the Italian beau’s sudden fall.

Keywords: Latino Hollywood, Ramon Novarro, latin lover, illustrated periodicals, star studies.

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El Ramón Novarro de Greater México: Entre latin lover y príncipe azteca

Resumen: Este artículo explora la construcción de Ramón Novarro -el primer actor mexicano en alcanzar el estrellato en Hollywood- como matinee idol femenino en el marco discursos culturales antagónicos en las ciudades de México y Los Ángeles. A partir de periódicos dirigidos a públicos norteamericanos, mexicano-norteamericanos y mexicanos -y del estudio del rol del actor en Ben Hur (Fred Niblo, 1925)-, se identifican funciones contradictorias en la formación de la estrella en términos étnicos, de clase, de género y sexuales. A diferencia de Rudolph Valentino, Novarro encontró un punto medio como latin lover deserotizado que permitiría su ascenso dentro de la emergente cultura nativista del Hollywood de mediados de los años veinte, en contraste a la repentina caída del galán italiano.

Palabras clave: Hollywood Latino, Ramón Novarro, latin lover, periódicos ilustrados, estrellas de cine.

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Ramón Novarro, do Greater México: entre latin lover e príncipe asteca

Resumo: Este artigo explora a construção de Ramón Novarro -primeiro ator mexicano a chegar ao estrelato em Hollywood- como matinee idol para mulheres no contexto de discursos culturais antagônicos nas cidades do México e Los Angeles. Baseado em jornais voltados para o público americano, mexicano-americano e mexicano —além do papel do ator em Ben Hur (Fred Niblo, 1925)—, desenho as funções contraditórias da estrela em termos étnicos, de classe, de gênero e sexuais. Ao contrário de Rudolph Valentino, Novarro encontrou um ponto médio como um amante latino deserotizado que permitiria sua ascensão na emergente cultura nativista de Hollywood dos anos vinte, ao contrário da súbita queda do ator italiano.

Palavras-chave: Hollywood Latino, Ramón Novarro, latin lover, jornais ilustrados, estrelas de cinema.

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Fecha de recepción: 15 de agosto de 2019
Fecha de aceptación: 2 de diciembre de 2019


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