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. There are only two segments lasting a few seconds where the film has irreparable damage; otherwise the picture quality is beautiful, and watching some of the bonus features which document the discovery and restoration work of this film, we can be thankful that it has come to us in this near-perfect condition.
I was also very pleased with the second film on this DVD, namely "The Delicious Little Devil" from 1919 in which Valentino stars opposite Mae Murray; another popular star of the silent era. While Valentino plays the usual appealing role of the lover, it is Mae Murray, in my opinion, who steals the show in this surprisingly entertaining film with her vibrant, energetic and expressive manner. The musical accompaniment chosen for each film is of a very high standard, and among the special bonus features, perhaps the most fascinating is an extensive recording of Gloria Swanson talking about her life; it plays instead of music to "Beyond the Rocks". All these things together make this Milestone release well worth the long wait for both silent film enthusiasts and anyone just curious to see these two screen legends together.