This week’s mystery movie was the 1922 film Beyond the Rocks, with Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Edythe Chapman, Alec B. Francis, Robert Bolder, Gertrude Astor, June Elvidge, Mabel Van Buren (which I’ve been reading as “Martin Van Buren” all week, though the movie isn’t THAT old), Helen Dunbar, etc.
Directed by Sam Wood, written by Jack Cunningham from the 1906 novel by Elinor Glyn.
Monday was the anniversary of Rudolph Valentino’s death, so I wanted to do one of his films and decided on Beyond the Rocks because it was less familiar than his other movies and because it’s a great example of how a “lost film” was discovered.
The plot is nothing special; it’s rather silly, even for a silent movie: Beautiful girl marries unattractive old man to bail out broke father, then meets handsome young man. UOM arranges to get killed during expedition to ancient Egyptian ruins so BG can marry HYM. But there is Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino.
Time to see which New York Times critic hated it…..
Unsigned review, May 8, 1922:
Gloria Swanson can wear clothes. So can Rodolph Valentino. And the talents of each are given full play in the Elinor Glyn story Beyond the Rocks as it has been screened and brought to the Rivoli this week. Also there is something humanly appealing in the self-sacrifice of an unhealthy and physically unattractive man well passed middle age who realizes that his young wife is in love with a romantic youth and eliminates himself so that she may be happy.
…If you sit through the photoplay, however, you will be rewarded, for after it comes the latest Buster Keaton comedy, The Paleface. It is not as funny as The Boat, but it is funny enough. It restored to life one reviewer who had been reduced to a state of somniferous weariness by Sherlock Holmes and Beyond the Rocks.
For Monday, we have a mystery fellow.
Update: This is Robert Bolder.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Mabel Van Buren.
Brain Trust roll call: Harried Costumer (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest).
To everyone who fell into my little trap (you know who you are): Half-credit.
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mystery woman.
Update: This is Edythe Chapman.
We also have this mysterious woman.
Update: This is Gertrude Astor with Valentino out of focus in the background.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and mystery guests), and Jim Craig (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest).
Half-credit to everyone who fell into my little trap.
For “Aha Thursday,” we have one of the leading lady’s half sisters.
Update: This is Adele Watson.
And here’s the leading lady’s other half sister.
Update: This is Mary Foy.
And here’s the leading lady’s father, wearing a marvelous newsboy cap.
Update: This is Alec B. Francis.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery guests and portrait of mysterious leading man hidden in image) and Mike Hawks (mystery movie).
And for Friday, our mysterious leading lady and leading man.
Update: This is Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s dapper mystery gent) and Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s dapper mystery gent).