OFFBEAT: Lost Valentino and Gloria Swanson silent film showing Saturday

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-06-07T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Lost Valentino and Gloria Swanson silent film showing SaturdayBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Legendary original screen matinee idol Rudolph Valentino was only 31-years-old when he died Aug. 23, 1926.

But he'd already made 37 silent motion pictures.

When Valentino married his second wife, actress Natacha Rambova, in our Crown Point Courthouse on March 14, 1923, it was shortly after the release of his 1922 film "Beyond the Rocks," starring opposite Gloria Swanson. By the time of this long-awaited Hollywood his and her team-up, Valentino already had 30 films to his credit.

This 80-minute movie treasure, showcasing lavish sets and extravagant costumes, was long considered one of the great "lost" films from the Hollywood Golden Age, since only a one-minute fragment was known to exist. In 1922, it was discovered among the archives by film catalogers at the Nederlands Filmmuseum and was puzzle-pieced together after finding the first two nitrate reels in a film collection of other nitrate prints. The staff searched for months until they located and identified all the lost reels of the film and the restoration premiered in 2005 at the Cannes Film Festival.

This weekend, we have a chance in Chicago to see this film great as it was intended.

Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., near Wrigley Field in Chicago is showing it at noon Saturday with their monthly Silent Cinema Series. This rare opportunity to see this silent romance on the big screen includes follow-along live music presented with organ accompaniment by "master of magic notes" Dennis Scott.

"Beyond the Rocks" anticipates a heartrending series of coincidences as a poor aristocrat, played by Swanson, marries a multimillionaire in order to restore her family’s fortune, but then falls for a handsome playboy played by Valentino. It's directed by Sam Wood and based on the romance novel by Elinor Glyn.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors at the Music Box Theatre box office. FYI:

The Music Box Theatre, which seats 800, opened Aug. 22, 1929, and showcases an elaborate interior design featuring painted murals and decor intended to portray an Italian courtyard, something Valentino would surely have loved.

Write on

This weekend, Valparaiso author Kate Collins will be part of the big Printers Row Lit Fest in the South Loop area of downtown Chicago.

She'll be at the Mystery Writers of America booth at the tent located at Randolph and Polk intersection, from noon to 1:45 p.m. signing copies of her latest books. All of the details, including information about wine tastings and food demonstrations, can be found at

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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