David Bret's first biography of Rudolph Valentino was published in 1998 and became a worldwide success. In this much-extended edition of "Dream of Desire" which also includes Bret's stage play based on his book, the author tells of the real Valentino,
a man sexually attracted only towards other men, and whose relationships with women-particularly his two lesbian wives-brought him only heartache and despair. Moralists attacked him, the studio chiefs treated him like dirt. His manager was interested only
in gaining control of his estate. When he lay dying in hospital, these people deliberated between saving him and letting him die while working out which was the most financially viable-Valentino alive, or dead, and what would happen if the truth emerged about
his private life. Valentino was less ashamed of his sexuality than he was of being trapped within the image of his public persona as "The World's Greatest Lover". In 1920s Hollywood, gay men were all too often stereotyped as feeble degenerates. Not so Valentino,
a powerfully-built man who excelled at most sports, and at boxing in particular. It was his persistent, totally unnecessary need to "prove" his manhood which ultimately contributed towards his untimely death.