Only known print of silent classic found in Holland

A copy of Rudolph Valentino’s silent film “Beyond the Rocks” has been found in the Netherlands, becoming the only known existing print of the 1922 classic, the Amsterdam Film Museum said Saturday.

The film is “basically complete and basically undamaged,” said Film Museum historian Jan van den Brink.

“Beyond the Rocks,” directed by Sam Wood, was the only film in which Valentino starred opposite another silent era legend, Gloria Swanson.

Van den Brink said the film was found in the estate of a film collector from the city of Haarlem. The collection came into the museum’s possession four years ago.

“Because (the collector) was worried they would be stolen, he took the different reels and hid them in different warehouses,” the historian told Dutch television.

“We literally had to root through 2,000 canisters to find out what exactly was in them,” he said.

“Beyond the Rocks” was the 24th of Valentino’s 32 films, and no negatives or prints were known to exist until now. The Italian-born movie idol died in 1926 at age 31.

The melodrama is about a woman forced to marry an older man. The woman then falls in love with Valentino’s character, Lord Bracondale, on her honeymoon. In the end, the husband dies and the young lovers are united.

Scenes from the film shown on Dutch television had Valentino swimming to rescue a drowning Swanson.

Around two minutes of the film are partially damaged at the edges, but the images shown on Dutch TV were in good condition.

The 81-minute film is being restored and will be shown for the first time in 2005. The narrative text of the print is in Dutch.

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