When M. Beaucaire, a handsome barber, catches the Duke of Winterset cheating at gambling, Beaucaire exacts Winterset's cooperation in sneaking Beaucaire into a great ball, disguised as the ... See full summary »
Love, duty, and the scent of narcissus. Theodora, a young and penniless aristocrat, marries a much older man, self-made millionaire grocer Josiah Brown, so that her father and spinster sisters can live comfortably. Soon after the wedding, she finds herself falling in love with Hector, the Tenth Earl of Bracondale, a playboy she encounters on the social circuit of the very rich -- in the Swiss Alps, Paris, London, and the English countryside. Hector is attracted to her as well. Theodora must choose between love and duty, and then Josiah and Hector must make choices of their own. Written by
Thrilling rescues of the heroine-first when she over turns in a boat in the ocean and later when she hangs by a half broken rope over a precipitous cliff in the icy Alps. (Print Ad- Elmira Star-Gazette ((Elmira, N.Y.)) 10 May 1922)
Finally saw this via TCM's world premiere; this is the most famous film discovery of the last few years, thought to be lost for 80 years! Very good romance film that sweeps from the English coast to the Alps and the to the African desert. Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino star as star-crossed lovers who wait years to get together.
They meet when she falls from a row boat into the sea and he dives from his yacht to save her. They area attracted but she must marry a self-made millionaire to save her poor family. Later in the Alps on her honeymoon she slips from a snowy ledge and is rescued to guess who? They continue to tun into each other (because he's chasing her) until finally they all come together in the desert.
A little slow but Swanson and Valentino are two of the most charismatic stars of the 20s and they are great together.
Oh I didn't care much for the new musical score. It was boring New Age droning and didn't fit the era. Milestone made the same error with it's restoration of Piccadilly. Here the music drones along, except for a Scott Joplin number, with shards of sound effects.
Based on a novel by Elinor Glyn, the topic of "love outside marriage" was a hot one in the early 1920s. Glyn's plots are always clichés but the real magic here is the beautiful Swanson and beautiful Valentino and how they finally get to be "beyond the rocks." Parts of the film are missing but nothing major. Some parts are distressingly deteriorated but nothing to ruin the overall film. Other parts of the film are so clear you can see grain of the fabrics.
Read up on this film in Swanson's autobiography. She was friends (only) with Valentino and allowed him to be co-starred with her (she got first billing despite the new Dutch restoration that gave Valentino top billing in the closing credits) on condition she get a 3-month vacation in Europe.
Later she corrected someone who said SHE had worked with HIM. HE had worked with HER (because it was her film). Wow semantics, but in the original Swanson got billing alone above the title.
Swanson also talks about the famous tango she did with him--alas lost! I assume it was during the house party where they were readying a "pageant" and she's wearing a famous dress (they talked about it for a year, says Swanson) of white lace and shimmering gold beads. The lobby card I have from this film is a scene of Valentino and Swanson doing the tango. What a pity, but maybe the scene will be found.
At the very end of her terrific book she says people never stopped asking her if she knew where a copy of BEYOND THE ROCKS was... or MADAME SANS-GENE or the final reel from SADIE THOMPSON. You can sense her great feeling of loss.
But it's ironic that in several of her "recovered" films there are still scenes missing: the tango scene in BEYOND THE ROCKS, her Chaplin impersonation in MANHANDLED, and the final piece of SADIE THOMPSON.
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