Rob Edelman: Ivana Trump’s Movie

Jun 11, 2018

Literally thousands of older films waste away in the dustbins of history. They barely were noticed when they were new and, for good reason, they have not improved with age. But for reasons that are obvious, one such film is worth citing. It dates from 1996, and its complete title is IVANA TRUMP’S FOR LOVE ALONE. Here is her brief biography, courtesy of the Internet Movie Database: “Ivana Trump was born on February 20, 1949 in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia as Ivana Marie Zelnícková. She is an actress, known for THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (released in 1996), IVANA YOUNG MAN (from 2006), and PAN TAU (from 1970). She was previously married to Rossano Rubicondi, Riccardo Mazzucchelli, Donald Trump, and Alfred Winklmayr.” Curiously, IVANA TRUMP’S FOR LOVE ALONE is not cited on this IMDB list, even though she makes a cameo appearance playing a character named “Ivana.” But the bottom line here is: How much does any of this really matter?

Anyway, because of its novelty, I had a look at IVANA TRUMP’S FOR LOVE ALONE courtesy of Netflix. I can report that it features a name director, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, as well as a few recognizable actors. They include Stephen Collins, Trevor Eve and, most intriguingly, the late great Madeline Kahn, in one of her final screen roles. If you are a Madeline Kahn fan-- back in the 1970’s, she graced such Mel Brooks classics as BLAZING SADDLES, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and HIGH ANXIETY-- you might be curious to check her out at this point in her career. Her character is little more than a walk-on, and she plays a bitchy gossip columnist. Also, for the record, Michael Feinstein appears in one sequence, set at a party, in which he sits at a piano and performs a forgettable ditty.

Anyway, IVANA TRUMP’S FOR LOVE ALONE, which is based on a novel by Ivana Trump, is a saga of the life and loves of a pretty Czech-born skier and model. At the center of the story, as well as the most revealing aspect of the film, is her relationship with and marriage to a super-wealthy American. We are told that he is a budding hotel magnate who also builds ships and runs a movie studio. Both characters are shown to be polar opposites in their world views. At one juncture, our heroine declares: “I love him desperately.” At another, he pronounces, “It’s amazing what money can buy.” And of course, you can count the minutes before he cheats on her. According to a number of sources, IVANA TRUMP’S FOR LOVE ALONE is, at its core, autobiographical. And, well, who is one to argue?

Rob Edelman teaches film history courses at the University at Albany. He has contributed to many arts and baseball-related publications; his latest book, which he co-edited, is From Spring Training To Screen Test: Baseball Players Turned Actors. His frequent collaborator is his wife, fellow WAMC film commentator Audrey Kupferberg.

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