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Beyond the Rocks

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(Jul 11, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

BEYOND THE ROCKS stars film legends Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino at the height of their careers and sexual appeal. This outstanding silent romance was long considered one of the great "lost" films from the Hollywood golden age. Its amazing rediscovery by the Nederlands Filmmuseum made headlines around the world.

Sam Wood (GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, PRIDE OF THE YANKEES) directs this delirious Elinor Glyn melodrama/roller-coaster ride through the English countryside, the Swiss Alps, Paris, London and the Sahara Desert! Brilliantly restored with a wonderful new orchestral score, BEYOND THE ROCKS is ready for its close-up.


The rediscovery and restoration of any film long believed lost is good news. Beyond the Rocks inspired still more excitement at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival because it was the only movie ever to costar two of the silent era's highest-wattage luminaries: Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino.

Cultural cliché holds that Swanson's acting was as garish as her makeup, and the legend of Valentino is awash in camp. Yet in this picture--however preposterously plotted by Elinor (It) Glyn--both deliver very natural performances of behavioral subtlety and discretion. Swanson, as the loving daughter of a retired officer (Alec B. Francis), is willing to do anything to ensure that Papa's twilight years be comfortable. That includes marrying a much older, vulgar businessman (Robert Bolder) as wealthy as he is unappealing. It's inconvenient that she's just fallen for a dashing nobleman (Valentino) who's saved her from (1) drowning and (2) falling off an Alp. Both these beautiful people struggle to behave honorably, right up through a final reel in which the unsympathetic husband takes them--and the audience--by surprise.

Now, we mustn't make overmuch of a good thing: Beyond the Rocks, ably but unexcitingly directed by Sam Wood, isn't a lost Murnau or the uncut Greed. But it's a very respectable movie, free of the excesses (except Swanson's increasingly florid costumes!) carelessly attributed to silent films in general; and as a long-delayed footnote to two legendary careers, its historical importance is considerable. The Nederlands Filmmuseum restoration is gloriously sharp (apart from a few spasms of almost impenetrable nitrate deterioration), and the new score by Henny Vrienten sounds more like Mark Isham than the organ-and-calliope accompaniment too many silents have suffered from. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

  • Introduction by Martin Scorsese
  • The Delicious Little Devil (1919, 54 minutes, with Rudolph Valention and Mae Murray)
  • Extensive Stills Gallery from Gloria Swanson's personal collection
  • 85-minute wire recording of Gloria Swanson from 1955 - Never Before Heard!
  • Interviews, Articles, and Videos detailing the restoration process
  • Orchestra Score by Henny Vrienten
  • Alternative 5.1 Orchestral Score by Vrienten with Sound Effects

Product Details

  • Actors: Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Edythe Chapman, Alec B. Francis, Robert Bolder
  • Directors: Sam Wood
  • Format: Silent, Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC, Restored, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch, English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories/Milestone Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FSME5Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,109 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Beyond the Rocks" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There has been a lot of excitement and anticipation about the release of this 1922 silent film which was believed lost, and Milestone has done a marvellous job of meeting our high expectations by presenting a second film and various fascinating bonus features on this DVD. "Beyond the Rocks" not only features the only pairing of two legendary silent screen stars, Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino, but the story itself was written by another big name of the 1920s, namely Elinor Glyn, who also wrote the story for "It" - another famous silent film starring Clara Bow. Putting all these big names and talents together, it's no surprise that "Beyond the Rocks" was a much sought-after silent film for decades, hence the fuss over its unexpected discovery in the Netherlands in 2003. As one might expect from an Elinor Glyn story and the established screen roles of Valentino and Swanson, "Beyond the Rocks" is a nice, old-fashioned love story with style and sophistication. Swanson and Valentino play the lovers, but she is married to an older, wealthy man chosen by her family and she feels a duty to honour this `bargain'. Although the end may be predictable, the steps leading to it are not so clear, and there are a few little twists as the film reaches its climax, making it a good and entertaining story even apart from the star appeal of Valentino and Swanson. Needless to say, both exude their usual on-screen charms and sweep the audience away on their romantic adventure; starting from a quaint English village, to the Alps, Versailles and finally the Sahara Desert.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Considering the huge percentage of silent films that are lost forever due to neglect and decomposition in the years since sound revolutionised movie making practices it is a miracle when some long lost and long coveted title from the silent era is discovered seemingly rising like a pheonix from the ashes in near pristine condition. Paramount's 1924 melodrama "Beyond the Rocks", has always been a much sought after film title and was believed to be long lost except for one surviving fragment of film a few minutes long. Despite having been officially "lost", for almost 80 years "Beyond the Rocks", has always stirred the imagination of silent film enthusiasts not so much for its dramatic qualities but because of its historic only teaming on screen of film legends Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino. When this film was rediscovered by accident in Holland a few years back there was universal celebrations throughout the film world due to the films miraculous survival after all these years. Thanks to a very careful restoration process it is now a total joy and priviledge to be able to enjoy this memorable film on DVD which until recently would have been thought of as an impossible dream. The discovery of "Beyond the Rocks", is of course also significant for film buffs in that it literally brings back to life another part of the extraordinary body of work of screen legends Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino and allows audiences for the first time in nearly 80 years to witness their legendary talents together for the only time on screen.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After much fanfare in Europe and an arthouse release in America, BEYOND THE ROCKS has finally arrived on DVD. Had it featured no-name or forgotten silent era stars it wouldn't have made much noise and would have disappeared very quickly but with Valentino and Swanson on board you can clearly see the difference that a pair of Hollywood legends makes. Valentino in particular shows what a delicate and refined actor he could be when called on to do so. He does wonders with a character who is not given that much to do. Swanson gives it her best shot but her role differs little from her previous Cecil B. DeMille pictures and director Sam Wood doesn't have the DeMille touch with actresses. The film is good but not great but it's nice to have around especially in this restoration from the Netherlands Film Museum. There are a few rough spots and the tints are sometimes a little too intense but the overall result is very impressive. You get your choice of new background scores too. The 1919 Mae Murray vehicle THE DELICIOUS LITTLE DEVIL which is also included doesn't do much for Valentino but it shows Murray off to good advantage especially in some very revealing costumes that are quite racy for the time. The real reason to buy this disc is Gloria Swanson's 1955 recording about her life in the movies. Absolutely fascinating with sharp, witty and astute observations from someone who was actually there. Lots of other extras too.
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Format: DVD
It isn't everyday that a silent movie with two wildly popular stars is found. What is even more exciting is that the movie is actually good, and that its DVD release is excellent.

Beyond the Rocks is a moody melodrama about a poor girl named Theodora (Gloria Swanson) who marries for money and position but truly loves another man (Rudolph Valentino). The two eventually reunite and carry on a love affair that seems destined for trouble. The story is trite and typical of writer Elinor Glyn, but the actors carry it well and there are enough exciting locations and small incidents to captivate an audience. The soundtrack is not perfect, and since the one with many sound effects annoyed many people, there is an option to see the film without them. However, the music provides a distinctive mood for the film. It is almost haunting, an appropriate score for a movie that has basically come back from the dead. The picture quality is rather good apart from a few sections which do not detract from the movie. Unfortunately, there is some footage missing including a pageant scene, which one can only imagine was quite steamy. Overall, though, we can watch Beyond the Rocks in delight not only for its existence but also for its quality.

The extra features include a segment about the discovery of the film and a bit about the man who owned it. We get to see film preservationists at work and hear about a real-life eccentric collector. There is also a still gallery, some Valentino film trailers, and a second feature film. A Delicious Little Devil stars Mae Murray as an innocent girl out of work who gets a job in a nightclub impersonating a high-class woman involved in a scandal overseas. Valentino stars as her love interest; he is quite handsome despite all of his makeup.
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