The Temptress (1926) is a romantic drama produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), directed by Fred Niblo and adapted to film by Dorothy Farnum. The movie is based on the homonymous novel written by the Valencia writer Vicente Blasco Ibáñez and is located in Paris and Argentina. The music in this version of the film is not part of the original soundtrack, but it is a composition of Michael Picton.
The movie premiered in the Capitol Theatre of New York in 1926. The actress starring was the Swede Greta Garbo in the role of Elena. She was accompanied in the cast by the actor from Madrid Antonio Moreno, who played Manuel Robledo; Armand Kaliz, as the Marquis de Torre Blanca; Marc McDermott playing Marquis de Fontenoy; Roy D'Arcy as Manos Duras; and Lionel Barrymore in the role of Canterac.
The main actors
The Temptress is the second U.S. movie of Greta Garbo. She also filmed in Hollywood Flesh and the Devil (1927), the first film we have watched in this series. Four years after the premiere of The Temptress, Greta Garbo was one of the best paid actress in America.
Antonio Moreno was born in Madrid and emigrated to the United States of America when he was 14 years old. He became a very succesful actor, although with the arrival of sound films, his career began to decline due to his strong Spanish accent.
The plot of the movie begins in a night during spring in Paris, in a masked ball in which Elena, an enigmatic woman, rejects the Marquis de Fontenoy. Following this event, she meets a stranger, Manuel Robledo, with whom she spends the night in the garden while never showing her real identity. Since the beginning of the movie, ambiguity will be the trademark of Greta Garbo's interpretation, who appears to the audience as a "victim" irresistibly attractive to men. Román Gubern when presenting this film series already referred to the stylized erotism of Greta.
The first director of the film was not Fred Niblo, but Mauritz Stiller, the discoverer of Greta Garbo, and in addition, her friend and confident. There are several versions about the real reasons for which Stiller was "invited" to leave the direction of the film, although he had already filmed a significant amount of sequences. Sequences, which apparently -although the opinions of experts do not fully agree- were removed from the final version of the movie. Regarding the reasons for his dismissal, there are different theories: his communication difficulties due to a faulty English, his discrepancies with MGM, and some even mention his intention of having Antonio Moreno shave his moustache. But leaving anecdotes to a side, and although the motivations could have been several, the only truth is that Stiller was definitely fired, and although he shot other films, his career never quite recovered from this blow, and ended up retuning to Sweden.