THE SILENT TREATMENT: Valentino in "Beyond The Rocks" (1922)

Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla — or Rudy Valentino, for short, has endured as one of cinema’s sexiest and suavest figures in the art form’s short 118-year history, with more charisma in his back pocket than most stars achieve in their whole person throughout an entire career. Beyond The Rocks, Valentino’s 1922 feature long thought completely lost, pairs him with a female lead of equal stature: Gloria Swanson, fashion icon and one of the most celebrated silent sirens ever. Based on a scandalous romantic novel by Elinor Glyn (an early twentieth-century equivalent to Jackie Collins), Valentino and Swanson torridly court each other over fanciful, aristocratic trappings — an opulent ride that never gets old. In her final years, Swanson professed a wish to see Beyond The Rocks one more time, but as all prints of the film had either gone missing for decades, or had been destroyed, it just wasn’t possible. Thanks to the eagle eye of the film restoration community, a lone nitrate print was discovered in the Netherlands in 2003, and Beyond The Rocks now (re-)exists for our present-day viewing pleasure.
Dir. Sam Wood, 1922, 35mm, 82 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Beyond The Rocks”!
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