Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

The Temptress
This week’s mystery movie was the 1926 MGM film of Vicente Blasco Ibanez’s “The Temptress,” with Greta Garbo, Antonio Moreno, Marc MacDermott/McDermott, Lionel Barrymore, Armand Kaliz, Roy D’Arcy, Robert Andersen, Francis McDonald, Hector V. Sarno and Virginia Brown Faire.

Scenario by Dorothy Farnum.

Titles by Marian Ainslee, settings by Cedric Gibbons and James Basevi, wardrobe by Andre-Ani, photographed by Gaetano Gaudio and William Daniels. Edited by Lloyd Nosler. Assistant director H. Bruce Humberstone.

Personally directed by Fred Niblo.

A Cosmopolitan Production.

“The Temptress” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

“The Temptress” was supposed to be the American debut of director Mauritz Stiller, who directed Garbo in “The Saga of Gosta Berling” (1924). He arrived with her by train at the Pasadena station and was rumored (per Variety) as being her fiance. Stiller was replaced by Fred Niblo; the official reason, according to Picture-Play Magazine (August 1926), was Stiller’s difficulty in communicating with the cast in English.  Supposedly, instead of yelling “Cut,” he cried “Hello, hello, hello!” Another time when he wanted extras to applaud, he yelled “Explode!”

Garbo said (Photoplay Magazine, June 1928):

Mr. Stiller is an artist. He does not understand about the American factories. He has always made his own pictures in Europe, where he is the master. In our country it is always the small studio. He does not understand the American business. He could speak no English. So he was taken off the picture. It was given to Mr. Niblo.

How I was broken to pieces, nobody knows. I was so unhappy I did not think I could go on. I could not understand the English directions. Week in, week out from seven until six. Six months on the story. More than twenty costumes to try on over and over. That is why I do not care about clothes. There are so many clothes in every picture. I cannot think of them when I am away from a picture.

I never missed a day. I was never late to work. It is not true that I have refused to work and have said “I will go home” as the papers have said about me.

When I had finished “The Temptress,” they gave me the script for “The Flesh and the Devil” to read. I did not like the story. I did not want to be a silly temptress. I cannot see any sense in getting dressed up and doing nothing but tempting men in pictures.

Trivia note: A plot point in “The Temptress” is construction of a dam that is dynamited by a villain. The film used footage of the construction of St. Francis dam, which collapsed in 1928, causing a devastating flood that left nearly 200 dead and about 170 missing, according an early story in the Los Angeles Times. Later stories in The Times put the death toll at 450.

I picked “The Temptress” as a small tribute to Mrs. Emmons, our Friday mystery guest. She appeared in many early films and turned in a memorable performance in the Little Rascals’ “Mush and Milk” (1933). Brain Trust members Mike Hawks and Jenny Lerew had a long-running campaign to identify her and Mike eventually found her name on the back of a still photo. Once Mrs. Emmons was identified, Jenny found out when she died and tracked down her unmarked grave at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and thanks to Mike and Jenny she now has a marker.

A behind the scenes photo from Motion Picture Magazine (November 1926) showing the overhead camera position in “The Temptress.” This shot doesn’t appear in the film as far as I can tell.

Writing in Motion Picture Magazine (January 1927), E.G. said:

It must be admitted that “The Temptress” is a bore. It would seem to be the story of a woman whom all men love and whose curious fate it is to destroy all men who love her — not thru her own will, but as an inevitable consequence of her fatal lure. This she refers to as “God’s legacy.” She at length atones by destroying herself to save the one man she really loves. This theme is somewhat obscured in a typically movie-esque treatment which emphasizes a Paris revel — two Paris revels to be exact — an Argentine revel, the breaking of a dam, and similar scenes in which all the extras and studio contrivances can be used. Greta Garbo as the unhappy Temptress has a role which requires of her precisely nothing. Antonio Moreno’s role calls for a little more.

Writing in the New York Times (Oct. 11, 1926) Mordaunt Hall said:

Greta Garbo, the accomplished Swedish actress, who graced the pictorial translation of Blasco Ibanez’s “Torrent,” wins new honors at the Capitol in the screen version of another story by the Spanish author. This current offering is titled “The Temptress,” and it is concerned with the beguiling beauty of a selfish siren, a sinuous creature whose conscience knows no guilt. In many respects this picture is a distinguished piece of work, wherein Fred Niblo, the director, keeps the audience on the qui vive. It is a photodrama in which the producers do not pander to popular appeal by portraying a happy ending. The backgrounds of Paris and the Argentine plains are unusually fine, carrying with them that sterling asset, atmosphere accuracy.

Aug. 10, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery woman and mystery child. She does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Inez Gomez.

Aug. 11, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Tuesday, we have a mystery gent offering a toast. He does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Marc MacDermott/McDermott.

Aug. 11, 2020, Mystery Photo

And we also have this mystery gent.

Update: This is Roy D’Arcy.

Aug. 12, 2020, Mystery Photo

Here’s a better image of Tuesday’s second mystery gent.

Update: Another shot of Roy D’Arcy. He is a silent-movie villain. Can you tell?

Aug. 12, 2020, Mystery Photo
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have a mystery structure, which is a first.

Update: This is construction of the St. Francis dam.

Aug. 12, 2020, Mystery Photo
Here’s another photo of concrete being poured in our mystery structure.

Aug. 12, 2020, Mystery Photo

And here is a third photo of our mystery structure under construction.

Aug. 12, 2020, Mystery Photo

And here’s mystery gent No. 1.

Update: This is Hector V. Sarno.

Aug. 12, 2020, Mystery Photo

Mystery gent No. 2.

Update: This is Francis McDonald.

Aug. 12, 2020, Mystery Photo

And mystery gent No. 3.

Update: This is Robert Anderson.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, all mystery guests and waiting for You Know Who), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, all mystery guests and waiting for You Know Who), Anne Papineau (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Sheila (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Patrick (Tuesday’s mystery gent No. 1), Dan Nather (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery gent No. 2 and mystery cast), Sylvia E. (mystery movie, all mystery guests and waiting for You Know Who).

Aug. 13, 2020, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mystery gent.

Update: This is Armand Kaliz.

Aug. 13, 2020, Mystery Photo

And also this non-mysterious chap.

Update: This is Lionel Barrymore.

Where is You Know Who? She’s coming Friday.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Floyd Thursby (mystery movie and Tuesday’s villain), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guest No. 1 and mystery dam), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery guest No. 2), Diane Ely (Wednesday’s mystery dam), Dan Nather (Tuesday’s mystery villain, Wednesday’s mystery guest Nos. 2 and 3) and Sylvia E. (Wednesday’s mystery guests and mystery dam).

For Friday, we have an experiment that may or may not work. Let me know if you approve of such goings-on.

And finally: Antonio Moreno and Greta Garbo react as Marc MacDermott/McDermott face-plants, followed by Mrs. Emmons selling papers. Also Louis Mercier as a newspaper vendor.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery dam and Thursday’s mystery guests), Patrick (mystery movie and mystery leading lady), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Dan Nather (mystery dam and Thursday’s mystery guests), Roget-L.A. (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guest No. 2), Blackwing Jenny (Thursday’s mystery guest No. 2), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery guests), L.C. (mystery movie, mystery cast and mystery dam) and Allie Francis (mystery movie).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1926, 1928, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    It looks like MGM. I’m guessing “Tide of Empire” (1929)


  2. aryedirect says:

    He could be a McFarland boy. From Texas, which is a far land.


  3. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    THE TRAIL OF ’98 (1928).


  4. Bruce says:

    Lon Chaney Sr., in his most remarkable disguise. I have no idea who’s playing the mother.


  5. Mary Mallory says:

    THE TEMPTRESS. Marc McDermott and Roy D’Arcy today. Will Mrs. Emmons make an appearance soon?


  6. Mary Mallory says:

    Inez Gomez Monday.


  7. Anne Papineau says:

    Marc McDermott and Roy D’Arcy in “The Temptress”


  8. Gary says:

    Julius Tannen


  9. Sheila says:

    Marc McDermott and Roy D’Arcy for Tuesday, in ‘The Temptress’.


  10. mike hawks says:

    Marc McDermott and Roy D’Arcy in THE TEMPTRESS.


  11. Patrick says:

    Marc McDermott offering a toast on Tuesday.


  12. Dan Nather says:

    Have not seen this one in a while, but I’m pretty sure this is THE TEMPTRESS, Greta Garbo’s second American film — also with Antonio Moreno, Lionel Barrymore, and Roy D’Arcy.


  13. Sylvia E. says:

    Another one of those strange “bump into the picture” moments

    I think the movie is “The Temptress” 1926 and the Monday woman is Inez Gomez. Haven’t determined the baby yet.

    What a cast! And we get Louise Emmons later! Woo-hoo!

    Back to the hunt for Tuesday’s guys and the Monday baby.


  14. Sylvia E. says:

    Tuesday – image 1 Marc MacDermott and image 2 is Roy D’Arcy (I think)


  15. Mary Mallory says:

    Hector Sarno, Francis McDonald, and Robert Anderson.


  16. Floyd Thursby says:

    Roy D’Arcy On Tuesday. The movie is “The Temptress.”


  17. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    The St. Francis Dam.
    Hector V. Sarno; Antonio Moreno; Louis Mercier.


  18. Benito says:

    For Tuesday’s second mystery gent: Vladek Sheybal’s daddy?


  19. mike hawks says:

    #2 mystery fellow is Francis McDonald.


  20. Gary says:

    Ill be dammed…its Hoover.


  21. Diane Ely says:

    For the mystery structure, I think that might be footage of construction of the St. Francis Dam north of Saugus (which failed in 1928).


  22. Dan Nather says:

    Tuesday’s gents: H. B. Warner and Roy D’Arcy

    Today’s threesome:
    #1: Marc MacDermott
    #2: Francis McDonald
    #3: Robert Anderson
    (guessing ’cause I haven’t rewatched the DVD yet)


  23. Sylvia E. says:

    The St. Francis Dam (Saugus) being built (a ‘stunt’ dam for the film one that’s set in Argentina)

    Not sure about Weds. guys. Francis McDonald (I think is guy #2,) I think they may also include Armand Kaliz, Robert Anderson, Hector V. Sarno – per IMDb, but I’m not sure.


  24. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Armand Kaliz; Lionel Barrymore.


  25. Mary Mallory says:

    Armand Kalisz and Lionel Barrymore. The St. Francis Dam under construction. It and the Hollywood Reservoir are twins, but the St. Francis was built on fault lines they didn’t know about. It’s somewhat haunting to go walking around the area where the dam was.


  26. Patrick says:

    Waiting for Garbo; The Temptress from 1926


  27. mike hawks says:

    Armand Kaliz and Lionel Barrymore.


  28. Earl Boebert says:

    I haven’t a clue as to the movie or the people, but this week definitely sets the record for teeth.


  29. Dan Nather says:

    Wow, I guess you were serious about the dam! That is the St. Francis Dam in Los Angeles county, according to the IMDb.

    Today, I’m guessing Armand Kaliz, and definitely Lionel Barrymore. Man, Barrymore looks so good in his MGM movies from the late silent era!


  30. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Lionel Barrymore in The Temptress (1926)


  31. If it’s Lionel Barrymore-and it is-it must be “The Temptress”!


  32. Sylvia E. says:

    Thurs. – Armand Kaliz and Lionel Barrymore


  33. LC says:

    The Temptress (1926) w/Greta Garbo, Antonio Moreno, Lionel Barrymore, Marc McDermott…the St. Francis Dam, built 1926 collapsed 1928.


  34. Allie Francis says:

    The Temptress?


  35. Mary Mallory says:

    Marc McDermott keels over and dies in front of Antonio Moreno and Greta Garbo, and then the piece de resistance, Mrs. Emmons selling newspapers!


  36. Sylvia E. says:

    Friday finally brings us ‘you know who’, Ms. Louise Emmons selling her newspapers!!!! Her fellow newspaper vendor, Louis Mercier also frantically hawks his wares. Do the headlines tell us about the stricken Mr. McDermott from earlier in the clip??!! I should not joke. It’s a difficult situation for the lovely Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno as they sadly gaze down at the brokenhearted Mr. McDermott (sigh.)

    Looking forward to Saturday’s breakdown.


  37. Sue Slutzky says:

    The Temptress. Love the clip with Mrs. Emmons hawking newspapers. I’m sure this made Mike Hawks’ day!


  38. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Antonio Moreno, Greta Garbo.


  39. mike hawks says:

    Antonio Moreno, Greta Garbo and Mrs. Louise (lovely to look at) Emmons.


  40. McDee says:

    On Thurs I thought I had it and then on Fri I saw I was totally wrong. As far as clips replacing stills…I do not approve of such goings on.


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