Opening Statement by Martin Scorsese

It's always cause for celebration whenever a lost film has been found. Every film found restores another piece of our collective memory, our sense of our past, and our history. For 75 years, nothing survived of Beyond the Rocks except a one-minute fragment. Now, thanks to the efforts of the Nederlands Film Museum, we have the entire film. It's a precious gift.

It was rare for two silent stars of the magnitude of Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson to appear in a film together - the idea of pairing stars became more of a common practice with the coming of sound. That alone makes the discovery of Beyond the Rocks a noteworthy event. But the film you are about to see, directed by Sam Wood and based on a novel by the once enormously popular Elinor Glyn, is also a testament to the extraordinary artistry of silent cinema. The greatest actors of the silent era had a rare intensity - emotional, physical, almost spiritual. They had to seize us right from the start, with their own inner power and luminosity. As you will see, that's exactly what Valentino and Swanson, both at the peak of their powers, do in Beyond the Rocks. The film is carefully built around that power and luminosity.

Once again, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Nederlands Film Museum for all the work they did in the conservation and restoration of this film. And, in North America, to Milestone Films, who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to the distribution of silent cinema.

Return to the "Beyond the Rocks" page