Sunday, July 24, 2022

A single film, but two very different endings: Greta Garbo in 'The Temptress' (1926) on Wednesday, July 27 in Ogunquit, Maine

Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno in 'The Temptress' (1926).

It's a film with one great star—but with two different endings!

The star: Greta Garbo. The endings: one is happy, the other sad.

It's 'The Temptress' (1926), one of Garbo's first pictures after coming to Hollywood from her native Sweden at the height of the silent era.

The film, with live music by me, will be shown on Wednesday, July 27 at 7 p.m. at the Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit, Maine.

Which ending work better? Decide for yourself, as we plan to show them both.

Details in the press release below. See you at the Leavitt on Wednesday night.

Whether you're in the mood for happy or sad, hey—we've got you covered.

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Greta Garbo stars in 'The Temptress' (1926).

Contact Jeff Rapsis at (603) 236-9237 • e-mail

Greta Garbo stars in 'The Temptress' (1926), a film with two endings, on Wednesday, July 27 at Leavitt Theatre

Both conclusions to be shown when steamy silent romantic drama is screened with live musical accompaniment

OGUNQUIT, Me. — It's a film with two completely different endings: one sad and tragic, and the other uplifting and positive.

It's 'The Temptress' (1926), an MGM romantic drama starring Greta Garbo, then just starting a legendary Hollywood career.

Studio boss Louis B. Mayer found the original ending to 'The Temptress' so depressing, he ordered a second—and much happier—conclusion.

Theaters were then allowed to choose which ending to show to audiences.

See both conclusions when 'The Temptress' is screened with live music on Wednesday, July 27 at 7 p.m. at the historic Leavitt Theatre, 259 Main St, Route 1 in Ogunquit, Maine.

Admission is $12 per person. Live music will be provided by accompanist Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based performer who specializes in creating music for silent film presentations.

In 'The Temptress,' Garbo plays Elena, the wife of Monsieur Canterac (Lionel Barrymore) and the mistress of rich Parisian banker Monsieur Fontenoy (Marc MacDermott).

When the banker's friend Robledo (Antonio Moreno), a dynamic young engineer building a massive dam in Argentina, pays a visit to Paris, the fickle Elena immediately falls in love with him.

Elena follows Robledo to Argentina, where her presence leads to a whip duel between Robledo and his rival, Manos Duros (Roy D'Arcy).

She then indirectly causes the collapse of Robledo's dam, which is where the two versions of the film diverge.

In the original version, Elena returns to Paris and the movie concludes tragically.

The revised version sees the film end in Argentina on a much happier note.

Both endings will be screened at the Leavitt Theatre: first the original "tragic" conclusion, then the more optimistic ending.

Garbo, who first won notice in her native Sweden, came to Hollywood at age 19. 'The Temptress,' her second film for MGM, helped establish her as a major star.

Initially, the director of 'The Temptress' was Garbo's mentor-lover, the brilliant Mauritz Stiller. But he was replaced halfway through by Fred Niblo, giving 'The Temptress' two different styles.

Silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis will improvise a musical score to 'The Temptress' in real time as the movie is screened.

In creating music for 'The Temptress' and other vintage classics, Rapsis tries to bridge the gap between silent film and modern audiences.

"Live music adds an element of energy to a silent film screening that's really crucial to the experience," Rapsis said.

The Leavitt Theatre's silent film screenings provide local audiences the opportunity to experience silent film as it was intended to be shown: on the big screen, in restored prints, with live music, and with an audience.

“These films are still exciting experiences if you can watch them as they were designed to be shown,” said Rapsis, accompanist for the screenings.

“There’s a reason people first fell in love with the movies, and we hope to recreate that spirit. At their best, silent films were communal experiences in which the presence of a large audience intensifies everyone’s reactions.”

The Leavitt, a summer-only moviehouse, opened in 1923 at the height of the silent film era, and has been showing movies to summertime visitors for nearly a century.

The silent film series honors the theater's long service as a moviehouse that has entertained generations of Seacoast residents and visitors, in good times and in bad.

Following 'The Temptress' on Wednesday, July 27 at 7 p.m., other programs in this year's Leavitt silent film series include:

• Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m.: Clara Bow stars in 'Mantrap' (1926). Battle-of-the-sexes comedy; city boy Richard Dix tries to win his girlfriend by taking up the rugged cowboy life, only to find it not so rugged. Rarely screened comedic gem from the height of the silent era.

• Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.: 'Blood and Sand' (1922). Rudolph Valentino in his first starring role, as a sexy bullfighter in this romantic thriller. Will Rudy choose the pure love of Carmen, or the sinister charms of the exotic Doña Sol? And will he survive the choice?

• Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.: Rare race drama: 'The Flying Ace' (1926). All-Black motion picture added to the National Film Registry last year. Rare example of 'race' cinema, produced for audiences in Black-only theaters commonly found in segregated parts of the nation.

• Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.: F.W. Murnau's 'The Last Laugh' (1924). Towering performance by Emil Jannings as aging doorman at posh city hotel whose unexpected change of jobs robs him of self-respect and identity. Directed by Murnau as a purely visual tale, no dialogue intertitles.

• Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.: 'Der Golem' (1920). Prepare for Halloween with one very weird flick! In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates a giant creature from clay, called the Golem. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

The romantic drama ‘The Temptress’ starring Greta Garbo will be shown with live music on Wednesday, July 27 at 7 p.m. at the historic Leavitt Theatre, 259 Main St, Route 1 in Ogunquit, Maine.

Admission is $12 per person, general seating. For more info, call (207) 646-3123 or visit

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