Gloria Swanson & Rudolph Valentino: Found ‘Lost’ film ‘Beyond the Rocks’ screening
Starring Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino, the long thought lost 1922 movie Beyond the Rocks will be the second presentation in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Lost and Found” film series. This romantic melodrama directed by future Academy Award nominee Sam Wood (Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Pride of the Yankees) was recently found in the estate of a Dutch film collector. (Image: Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino in Beyond the Rocks.)
Following restoration by the Nederlands Filmmuseum, Beyond the Rocks was screened in Amsterdam, Cannes, and New York. The Los Angeles premiere will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29, 2005, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Based on a novel by the then (mildly) risqué Elinor Glyn, a sort of Danielle Steel of the ’20s, Beyond the Rocks was one of the myriad run-of-the-mill star vehicles made during the silent era. Toplining Gloria Swanson, one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the period, the film revolves around her character – a woman who marries a wealthy older man (Robert Bolder), only to fall in love with a wealthy young man who also happens to be an English Lord (Rudolph Valentino).
Valentino’s Lord Hector Bracondale is a subordinate role, even though by the time Beyond the Rocks was released he had become a star in his own right following the phenomenal success of two 1921 releases: Rex Ingram’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and George Melford’s The Sheik. Rudolph Valentino’s stardom, however, wouldn’t last very long; he would die at age 31 in 1926.
Gloria Swanson, for her part, would continue working in movies, on stage, and on television all the way into the ’70s. During the course of her film career, Swanson received three Best Actress Academy Award nominations: Sadie Thompson (for the period 1927-28); The Trespasser (1929-30); and Sunset Blvd. (1950). Gloria Swanson died at age 84 in 1983.
Academy’s ‘Lost and Found’ series
According to the Academy’s press release, the “Lost and Found” movie series will serve not only as an opportunity for rare access to a ‘lost’ film, but also will call attention to some of film preservations more notable success stories.”
The “Lost and Found” series officially began earlier this year with a screening of the 1927 father-son drama Sorrell and Son, directed by Herbert Brenon, and starring H.B. Warner, Nils Asther, Anna Q. Nilsson, Alice Joyce, and Carmel Myers. Sorrell and Son received a nomination in the Best Director (Drama) category at the first Academy Awards.
Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson in 1920s “lost film” Beyond the Rocks photo: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Lost ‘Hollywood’ to be found one day?
A decade later, in the same year Rupert Hughes’ Souls for Sale came out, Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount released James Cruze’s now-lost Hollywood, also about a small-town young woman in the movie capital – except that in Hollywood the girl (is the only one who) fails to reach the top.
Life imitated art in this particular instance, as the film’s leading lady, the unfortunately named Hope Drown, failed to enjoy a Hollywood career as well. Hollywood, in fact, seems to have remained her sole movie credit, though she was seen in a handful of Broadway plays of the period (e.g., The Joker, Nice Women).
In case the IMDb info is accurate, Hollywood star cameos included:
Thomas Meighan. Owen Moore. Pola Negri. Nita Naldi. Eileen Percy. Jack Pickford. Mary Pickford. Will Rogers. George Stewart. Estelle Taylor.
Bryant Washburn. Lois Wilson. Ben Turpin. William C. de Mille. Cecil B. DeMille. Alfred E. Green. George Fawcett. Lillian Leighton. Ford Sterling.
Baby Peggy. Noah Beery. Jeanie Macpherson. Bull Montana. Jack Holt (with baby son and future The Magnificent Ambersons star Tim Holt).
Could someone please find this movie?
For the record, another Hollywood-set 1923 release featuring numerous star cameos (Barbara La Marr, Herbert Rawlinson, Carmel Myers, etc.) was John McDermott’s Mary of the Movies, with Marion Mack in the title role. A minor actress with few credits, Mack is remembered as Buster Keaton’s leading lady in the 1927 comedy The General.
Lastly, Fred Caldwell’s Night Life in Hollywood – with cameos by Wallace Reid, Sessue Hayakawa, Tsuru Aoki, J. Warren Kerrigan, and several others – came out in 1922. As per the IMDb, Jack Pratt co-directed the comedy-drama, which features lesser-known names like J. Frank Glendon, Josephine Hill, and Gale Henry as the leads.
Richard Widmark to receive Los Angeles Film Critics’ career award
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association will give its Career Achievement Award to actor Richard Widmark, 90, at the group’s awards ceremonies in January. Widmark worked with top directors during his 45-year film career, including Henry Hathaway in Kiss of Death (1947), Down to the Sea in Ships (1949), O. Henrys Full House (1952), and Garden of Evil (1954); Elia Kazan in Panic in the Streets (1950); Samuel Fuller in Pickup on South Street (1953); Vincente Minnelli in The Cobweb (1955); Stanley Kramer in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961); and John Ford in Two Rode Together (1961) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). He was nominated once for an Academy Award – as best supporting actor for his performance as a smirking psychopathic murderer in Kiss of Death.
Theda Bara movies at LACMA
Tomorrow evening, (Friday, at 7:30 pm), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will screen the premiere of Theda Bara: The Woman with Hungry Eyes, a documentary directed by Hugh Neely.
Theda Bara was one of the biggest stars of the 1910s, a heavily made-up, slightly pudgy – and totally artificial – representation of the dark side of womanhood as seen through a Victorian prism. Baras anti-heroines were women who possessed a voracious sexual appetite, which, of course, led to death and mayhem to all around her. (Appropriately, her name was an anagram for Arab Death.)
There had been film vamps before Theda Bara (née Theodosia Goodman, in Cincinnati, Ohio), but none before or after managed to capture the filmgoing public’s imagination the way Bara did.
Following the documentary and a chat with director Hugh Neely, LACMA will show the perfectly acceptable 1955 historical melodrama Land of the Pharaohs, directed by Howard Hawks (from a screenplay co-credited to William Faulkner), and starring Jack Hawkins, Joan Collins, and James Robertson Justice.