Thursday, June 1, 2023

Garbo in 'The Temptress' (1926) on Saturday, 6/3 in Brandon, Vt.: one film, two different endings

Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno star in the steamy romantic thriller 'The Temptress' (1926).

Road trip! This weekend it's two shows in northern Vermont, both far enough away to prompt an overnight stay in beautiful downtown Rutland.

On Saturday, June 3, I'll accompany Greta Garbo in 'The Temptress' (1926), an intense MGM drama that's come down to us with two very different endings. We'll show them both in a screening scheduled to start at 7 p.m. 

Lots more info in the press release below.

The next day, it's Buster Keaton in 'Our Hospitality' (1923), which I'll accompany on Sunday, June 4 at 2 p.m. at The Residence at Otter Creek, 350 Lodge Road, Middlebury, Vt. 

It's free and open to the public, so hope to see you there!

And now a couple of words about last night's screening of 'Peter Pan (1924), shown at the Rex Theatre in downtown Manchester, N.H.

With live music, it sometimes it just happens. Everything falls together. You have the right stuff at the right time. Each scene flows smoothly into the next, and you catch all the moments where music can make a difference.

That's what happened last night with 'Peter Pan.' And it's a really good feeling.

I think it's not completely a matter of luck. 'Peter Pan' is one of those titles that I accompany often enough to have developed a suite of material that gives me a head start. 

So there's a theme for Peter Pan, and also for Captain Hook, and Tinkerbell. And there's "at home" music, which turns out to be made out of pieces of the familiar "No Place Like Home" melody, which is handy because that very tune shows up near the film's conclusion. 

So with that as a starting point, and more than an hour of warm-up time, plus adequate sleep, I was able to turn in what I felt was a polished and effective score. 

I don't know what it says about my musical abilities, but I guess you'd have to call it the "slot machine school of live performance." 

Just like the one-armed bandit, if you pull the lever enough times, you're bound to hit the jackpot once in a while!

See you in Vermont this weekend, or back in N.H. next week for a screening of the silent film version of '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.' More on that later...

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Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno star in the steamy romantic thriller 'The Temptress' (1926).

Contact: Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Greta Garbo stars in 'The Temptress' (1926), a film with two endings, on Saturday, June 3 in Brandon, Vt.

Both conclusions to be shown when steamy silent romantic drama is screened with live music at Brandon Town Hall and Community Center

BRANDON, Vt.—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.

See both endings when 'The Temptress' is screened with live music on Saturday, June 3 at 7 p.m. at the Brandon Town Hall and Community Center, Route 7, in Brandon, Vt.

All are welcome to this family-friendly event. Admission is free, with free will donations accepted in support of ongoing Town Hall renovations.

The screening, the latest in the venue's silent film series, will feature live accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based composer who specializes in creating music for silent films.

Live music for each silent film program will be provided by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based performer and composer who specializes in scoring and presenting silent films.

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, visits 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 in Brandon: 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.

The screening is sponsored by local residents Gary and Nancy Meffe.

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.

It's the 13th year of Brandon's popular silent film series, which gives residents and visitors a chance to see great movies from the pioneering days of cinema as they were meant to be shown—on the big screen, with an audience, and accompanied by live music.

Screenings are held once a month, generally on Saturday nights and running through November. Admission is free; donations are encouraged, with proceeds to benefit the Town Hall's ongoing restoration.

Over the years, silent film donations have helped support projects including handicapped access to the 19th century building; renovating the bathrooms; and restoring the structure's original slate roof.

Other films in this year's Brandon Town Hall silent film series include:

• Saturday, July 15, 7 p.m.: 'The General' (1926) starring Buster Keaton. Buster's Civil War-era masterpiece tells the story of a Confederate railroad engineer whose train is hijacked by Northern spies. One of the great movies of any era! Sponsored by Gary and Nancy Meffe; Ben and Claudette Lawton; Bertram D. Coolidge; Frank and Ettie Spezzano; Ronald, Carolyn and Rickly Hayes; and Hayes Pallets.

• Friday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m.: 'The Ten Commandments' (1923) directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Long before Charlton Heston played Moses in Technicolor, director Cecil B. DeMille filmed this silent blockbuster on a grand scale. Many say it surpasses the remake—see for yourself as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the film's original release. Sponsored by Bruce Ness and Nancy Spaulding-Ness

• Saturday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m.: 'The Freshman' (1925) starring Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston. We welcome football season with Harold Lloyd's blockbuster hit about a college boy who dreams of gridiron greatness. One of Lloyd's all-time best! Sponsored by Frank Mazza and Linda Zaragoza; Kathy and Wayne Rausenberger; Edward Loedding and Dorothy Leysath.

• Saturday, Oct. 7, 7 p.m.: 'My Best Girl' (1926) starring Mary Pickford, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers. In a big city department store, romance blossoms between a humble stockroom clerk and the store owner's son—who is already engaged! A sparkling “rich man, poor girl” romantic comedy from 1927 starring screen icon Mary Pickford and Charles 'Buddy Rogers,' her future real-life husband. Sponsored by Harold and Jean Somerset; Fyles Brothers, Inc.; and Jeanette Devino.

• Friday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m.: 'The Cat and the Canary' (1927). Can a group of distant relatives survive the night in a haunted house to learn the secret of a madman's will? Find out in the original Gothic thriller from silent film director Paul Leni. Just in time for Halloween, a movie filled with deep shadows, dark secrets, and a surprisingly timeless mix of humor and horror that will keep you guessing. Sponsored by Pam and Steve Douglass.

• Saturday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m.: 'The Big Parade' (1925) starring John Gilbert. We salute Veterans Day with this sweeping saga about U.S. doughboys signing up and shipping off to France in 1917, where they face experiences that will change their lives forever—if they return. MGM blockbuster directed by King Vidor; one of the biggest box office triumphs of the silent era. Sponsored by Donald and Dolores Furnari; Jeanette Devino; and Lorrie Byrom.

The romantic drama ‘The Temptress’ starring Greta Garbo will be shown with live music on Saturday, June 3 at 7 p.m. at the Brandon Town Hall and Community Center, Route 7, in Brandon, Vt. All are welcome to this family-friendly event.

Admission is free, with free will donations accepted in support of ongoing Town Hall renovations. For more info, visit

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