Torrent (1926 film)

Torrent (1926) is an American silent romantic drama film directed by an uncredited Monta Bell, based on a novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, and released on February 21, 1926.[1][3][4][5]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byMonta Bell (uncredited)
Produced byIrving Thalberg[1]
Written byVicente Blasco Ibáñez
Dorothy Farnum (adaptation)
StarringRicardo Cortez
Greta Garbo
Music byArthur Barrow
CinematographyWilliam H. Daniels
Edited byFrank Sullivan
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
February 21, 1926
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles

Torrent was the first American film starring Swedish actress Greta Garbo.[6] The film also starred Ricardo Cortez as the son of a domineering mother, played by Martha Mattox.

The title refers to a flood that occurs in the small town where most of the action takes place, which draws the two romantic leading characters closer together.


The wealthy matriarch Doña Bernarda Brull (Mattox) is irritated by her son Rafael's infatuation with the orange farmer's (Edward Connelly) daughter, Leonora (Garbo). She forbids him to see her, something that causes Leonora great heartache, to say nothing of her family's financial condition. Using the singing talent cultivated by her wannabe father Pedro, Leonora leaves her humble home to later become a sensation on the stages of Paris, as La Brunna, where noblemen and other rich gentlemen express their approval of her "talents".

Meanwhile, back in their small Spanish town of Alzira, Valencia where Leonora's father has died, Doña Bernarda Brull's domineering influence has brought Rafael to the brink of being elected to office. She's also arranged for her son to marry the wealthy Remedios Matías (Gertrude Olmstead), the daughter of a rich hog farmer (Mack Swain). However, just before both of these events are realized, La Brunna returns to her humble beginnings to visit her mother Pepa (Lucy Beaumont) and barber friend Cupido (Lucien Littlefield). Incognito, she gives Rafael the impression that she is still poor, and nearly destitute. When the proud soon-to-be-elected official visits Cupido, Leonora reveals that she is the famous La Brunna. Naturally, he is irresistibly drawn to her, which though it doesn't keep his inevitable election from happening, it does threaten his marriage to Remedios ... that is until his mother intervenes once again. Some time after the flood (the torrent), though not on that particular night, Leonora and Rafael spend a night of passion together amidst the orange groves, Doña Bernarda Brull visits Pepa to tell her of the shame which has been brought upon her home.

La Brunna returns to her life on the stage in Madrid while Rafael marries Remedios. Shortly afterwards however, Rafael follows his Leonara to declare his undying love for her once again, seemingly ready to throw away his life for her. She is thrilled and, with her maid (Lillian Leighton), packs her bags to await his return. Rafael's wise lawyer friend Don Andrés (Tully Marshall) intervenes on behalf of his mother and the community he serves to convince him to do otherwise, and Leonora is alone again.

Years pass and a much-older-looking Rafael visits La Brunna, who doesn't appear to have aged since last they met. This time he is ready to leave his wife and children for her, but she is unwilling to be the cause of it. He returns to his home looking over his sleeping little ones while La Brunna completes another performance with adoring fans. In the end La Brunna sits alone forlornly thinking of love lost as the credits roll.



MGM was uncertain about how to cast Garbo as she arrived in Hollywood. In her first American film she was cast as Leonora, the Spanish peasant girl, and MGM executives were pleased with the results.

After the film was released, Variety magazine described Garbo on her debut as " a girl with everything, looks, acting ability and personality". The film grossed $668,000 worldwide, netting a $126,000 profit for MGM. Louis B. Mayer's initial instinct about the actress's ability paid off, and the film was a success.[7] The Torrent was released on DVD in 2011 as part of the Warner Archive Collection.


  1. Fleming, E. J. (January 2009). Paul Bern: the life and famous death of the MGM director and husband of Harlow. McFarland. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-7864-3963-8. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  2. Alexander Walker; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (October 1980). Garbo: a portrait. Macmillan. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-02-622950-0. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  3. John Reid (April 2006). Films Famous, Fanciful, Frolicsome & Fantastic. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-4116-8915-2. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  4. Jacobs, Lea (2 April 2008). The decline of sentiment: American film in the 1920s. University of California Press. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-520-25457-2. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  5. American Film Institute (1971). The American Film Institute catalog of motion pictures produced in the United States. University of California Press. p. 823. ISBN 978-0-520-20969-5. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  6. Borrelli, Laird. "Greta Garbo". Retrieved 2010-07-17.
  7. "Greta Garbo – The Ultimate Star – The Torrent". Archived from the original on 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2010-07-17.
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