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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 April, 2004, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
'Lost' Valentino film discovered
Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino was a heart-throb of the 1920s
A 1922 Rudolph Valentino silent movie classic has been found after being considered lost for almost 75 years.

The Dutch national film archive discovered the copy of melodrama Beyond the Rocks in a private collection left to the Filmmuseum.

The movie, also starring Gloria Swanson, is in good condition apart from about two damaged minutes.

Historian Jan van den Brink said:"We are feeling rather excited because it is a wonderful rediscovery."

Beyond the Rocks is the only film in which Valentino and Swanson starred together, added Mr van den Brink.

The museum was given the collection of more than 2,000 film canisters in 2000 after the death of a collector in the town of Haarlem.

Archivists had taken such a long time to find the Valentino movie because the deceased collector had organised the films in an unusual way.

Festival unveiling

Beyond the Rocks is an 81-minute romantic melodrama about a woman pushed into a marriage with an older man but who then falls for Valentino's nobleman character on her honeymoon.

Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson only made one movie with Valentino

"It is a complete feature film in six acts with a beautiful story in which Valentino plays a rather decent character," said Mr van den Brink.

The Filmmuseum will restore the film, repairing scratches and other minor damage.

It has also asked Dutch composers to write a new score to be performed live when it shows the silent movie at its festival in Amsterdam next year.

Mr Van den Brink said the Filmmuseum expected interest in the film from archives around the world as well as the film's producers, Paramount, and planned to produce a copy for international distribution.

Rudolph Valentino was born in 1895 to a middle-class Italian family.

He moved to New York in 1913 and became a huge star in the early 1920s for his steamy romantic performances. He died in 1926 following complications from a perforated ulcer.

Gloria Swanson, best known for her portrayal of Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder's 1950 Sunset Boulevard, was one of the most popular and influential female stars of the 1920s.

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