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Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo) is a beautiful but jaded courtesan living in mid-nineteenth century Paris. Marguerite's decadent lifestyle leads her to seek the company of rich men, often against her better judgment. Her choices leave her purse full, but her heart empty. One night, however, she meets Armand Duval (Robert Taylor), who is handsome, charming and utterly bewitched by her. Unfortunately, Armand's meager fortune can't compare to her other suitors and she doesn't take him seriously. Gradually, however, Armand's sincerity wins her over and she decides to give up everything for true love. With her health quickly declining due to tuberculosis, Marguerite and Armand escape to the idyllic countryside for one beautiful summer together. However, interference from Armand's father (Lionel Barrymore) and Marguerite's bitter ex-lover (Henry Daniell) threatens to tear them apart.
Director: George Cukor
Writers: Zoe Akins, Frances Marion, James Hilton
Based on the Novel La Dame aux Camelias By: Alexandre Dumas, fils
Producer: David Lewis
Cinematography: William Daniels, Karl Freund
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Editing: Margaret Booth
Music Composer: Herbert Stothart
Sound: Douglas Shearer
Cast: Greta Garbo (Marguerite Gautier), Robert Taylor (Armand Duval), Lionel Barrymore (Monsieur Duval), Elizabeth Allan (Nichette), Jessie Ralph (Nanine), Henry Daniell (Baron de Varville), Lenore Ulric (Olympe), Laura Hope Crews (Prudence), Rex O'Malley (Gaston), Russell Hardie (Gustave).
BW-108m. Closed Captioning. Descriptive Video.
Why CAMILLE is Essential
More than 75 years after its release in 1936, Camille is still considered one of the great on-screen love stories of all time. With its beautiful and tragic story of romance between star-crossed lovers, Camille has endured through the generations, remaining timeless in its universal appeal.
The role of the doomed Marguerite in Camille is one of screen legend Greta Garbo's signature roles and it earned her an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. The film showcases Garbo at the pinnacle of her career and beauty, and many believe it is the actress' best performance.
There have been numerous film versions of Alexandre Dumas, fils.' famed novel La Dame aux Camelias, but MGM's sumptuous 1936 production of Camille is considered the definitive and classic version of the story.
According to the New York Times in 1937, Camille, the original story and play from Alexandre Dumas, fils., is "less a play than an institution. Just as Hamlet is the measure of the great actor, so has the Dumas fils' classic become the ultimate test of the dramatic actress." Director George Cukor believed that Garbo met that acting challenge of playing Marguerite spot-on. "You have conquered every difficulty in re-creating this role," Cukor reportedly told Garbo. "No actress will ever surpass you."
Camille marked the first time that Greta Garbo and director George Cukor--two giants of the classic Hollywood cinema-- ever worked together. The film brought together two monumental talents, and the resulting classic that was born of that collaboration speaks for itself. Garbo and Cukor worked just one more time together on 1941's Two-Faced Woman, which was also Garbo's last film before she retired from making movies.
by Andrea Passafiume
In addition to numerous productions around the world, the stage play of Camille (aka La Dame aux Camelias) has had sixteen different productions on Broadway over the years. It first appeared on Broadway in 1853, and its most recent production was in1935. Actresses that have played Marguerite on Broadway include Sarah Bernhardt and Lillian Gish.
The story of Camille has been filmed at least twenty times throughout numerous countries. The role of Marguerite has been played on screen by actresses including Sarah Bernhardt, Clara Kimball Young, Theda Bara, Norma Talmadge and Alla Nazimova in addition to Greta Garbo.
In 1981 a film called Lady of the Camelias told the real-life tale behind the story of Camille in which actress Isabelle Huppert portrays Marie Plessis, Alexandre Dumas, fils.' inspiration for Marguerite.
In director John Huston's big budget 1982 film version of the musical Annie, Daddy Warbucks takes Annie to Radio City Music Hall for a screening of Camille where scenes from the film are featured prominently.
In the 1921 silent film version of Camille legendary actor Rudolph Valentino portrays Marguerite's lover, Armand Duval.
Charles Ludlam, an actor and director who founded the Ridiculous Theatrical Company in New York in 1967, presented a loose adaptation of Camille in 1973 which was later revived in 1990 by his partner and successor Everett Quinton, who played the title character.
In 1984 Greta Scacchi and Colin Firth played doomed lovers Marguerite and Armand in a Hallmark Hall of Fame television production of Camille.
At least three ballets have been created from the story of Camille. La Dame aux Camelias premiered in 1978 featuring music by Frederic Chopin. Marguerite and Armand premiered in 1963, created for famed dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn. In 1990 a version called Camille was created by Veronica Paeper.
Giuseppe Verdi's famous opera La Traviata was based on Camille's original source material La Dame aux Camelias. Its first performance took place in Venice in 1853.
Baz Luhrmann's 2001 film musical Moulin Rouge! is at least partly based on the original story of La Dame aux Camelias, which inspired the opera La Traviata that influenced Luhrmann's colorful and inventive film.
by Andrea Passafiume
Greta Garbo received her third Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for her fine work in Camille and was named Best Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle.
The role of villainous Baron de Varville, played by Henry Daniell, was originally intended for actor John Barrymore.
Before filming began on Camille Greta Garbo publicly called co-star Robert Taylor "a fine actor -- and handsome, too." Fifty years later she described him as "so beautiful -- and so dumb."
Famed fashion designer Adrian's costumes for Camille were reportedly inspired by Constantin Guys' drawings of Marie Duplessis, the real-life inspiration for the character of Marguerite.
According to Robert Taylor, Greta Garbo often wore an old pair of bedroom slippers under her expensive costumes while shooting in order to be more comfortable.
Garbo's elaborate costumes were so heavy and burdensome that the star was often close to fainting under the hot studio lights. To help, a special ice box wind machine was built in order to keep her cool.
Actor Lionel Barrymore, who played Armand's father, had a difficult time filming his role due to acute arthritis. "If there was ever anyone who made us suffer vicariously it was [Barrymore]," recalled screenwriter Frances Marion, "for every time we saw him hunched over in his wheelchair we felt his pain. Arthritis raced through his entire body in tormenting rivulets of fire."
According to Frances Marion, there was an audible gasp in the audience at the Academy Awards when Greta Garbo lost the Best Actress award to Luise Rainer (for The Good Earth, 1937) since everyone expected Garbo to win.
Memorable Quotes from CAMILLE
"Of course, I order too many flowers, hats and too many everything. But I want them."
-- Marguerite (Greta Garbo)
"Well, you know Prudence. She's a woman full of secrets. Even changing her corset is a great mystery."
--Marguerite, to Olympe (Lenore Ulric)
"The Baron de Varville is on his way to this box and I'm going to stay and meet him."
"But he's coming to meet me."
-- Olympe and Marguerite
"Unfortunately, I like him, too."
"Because his eyes have made love to me all evening."
"That's a lie. He barely glanced at you. I never took my glasses from his face except for an instant to let him see mine."
"Perhaps that was the instant he smiled at me."
--Marguerite and Olympe
"I'll tell you something else. If you don't stop being so easygoing with your money, you'll land in the gutter before you're through or back on the farm where you came from milking cows and cleaning out henhouses."
"Cows and chickens make better friends than I've ever met in Paris."
--Olympe and Marguerite
"I'm not always sincere. One can't be in this world, you know."
-- Marguerite, to Armand (Robert Taylor)
"It's a great mistake for any woman to have a heart bigger than her purse."
--Prudence (Laura Hope Crews)
"I always look well when I'm near death."
"Would you care to come to a party I'm giving tomorrow night? It's my birthday."
"Aren't you afraid you're not strong enough yet? To give parties?"
"Oh, I'm afraid of nothing except being bored."
--Marguerite and Armand
"What a child you are."
"Your hand is so hot."
"Is that why you put tears in it? To cool it?"
"I know I don't mean anything to you. I don't count. But someone ought to look after you. And I could do it, if you'd let me."
"Too much wine has made you sentimental."
--Marguerite and Armand
"No one has ever loved you as I love you."
"That may be true, but what can I do about it?"
--Armand and Marguerite
"You should go away and not see me anymore. But don't go away in anger. Why don't you laugh at yourself a little as I laugh at myself, and come and talk to me once in awhile in a friendly way?"
"That's too much...and not enough."
--Marguerite and Armand
"You play beautifully."
"You lie beautifully."
"Thank you. That's more than I deserve."
"It's not half as much as you deserve, my dear...[doorbell rings] I'll see who it is.
"No. I'll tell you. But you won't believe me."
"No, I won't. Who is it?"
"Well, I might say there is someone at the wrong door, or the great romance of my life."
--Marguerite and Baron de Varville (Henry Daniell)
"You know, once I had a little dog, and he always looked sad when I was sad, and I loved him so. And when your tears fell on my hand, I loved you too all at once."
--Marguerite, to Armand
"How can one change one's entire life and build a new one on one moment of love? And yet, that's what you make me want to close my eyes and do."
--Marguerite, to Armand
"Are you going to spoil a day like this by being jealous?"
--Marguerite, to Armand
"Never be jealous again. Never doubt that I love you more than the world. More than myself."
--Marguerite, to Armand
"Let me love you. Let me live for you. Don't let me ask any more from heaven than that. God might get angry."
--Marguerite, to Armand
"Of course, you don't think me worthy of your son. You're right, I'm not."
"No. No woman is worthy of a man's love who's willing to let him ruin himself for her, as you're doing.
"Without Armand, I'm doomed.
"With him, you're both doomed.
--Marguerite and Armand's Father (Lionel Barrymore)
"How could you do what you did? I'll tell you. Because your heart is a thing that can be bought and sold. Yes, I know, you gave it to me for a whole summer, but when it came to a choice, the jewels and carriages he could give you were worth more than my love, my devotion, my life."
"Yes, that's true. I'm a completely worthless woman, and no man should risk his life for me."
--Armand and Marguerite
"I doubled my fortune tonight at his expense. And when that's gone, I'll work, I'll beg, I'll borrow, I'll steal. But I must be with you always. Always."
--Armand, to Marguerite
"Nanine, get the doctor, quickly!"
"The doctor? If you can't make me live, how can he?"
--Armand and Marguerite
"No, no. Don't say such things, Marguerite. You'll live. You must live."
"Perhaps it's better if I live in your heart, where the world can't see me. If I'm dead, there'll be no stain on our love."
--Armand and Marguerite
Compiled by Andrea Passafiume
In 1848 French writer Alexandre Dumas, fils. published the novel La Dame aux Camelias about the doomed romance between Marguerite, an ailing courtesan, and Armand, her devoted lover. In 1852, the novel was turned into a celebrated play on whose success Dumas made both his name and fortune. The fictional story was reportedly based on the author's own ill-fated love affair with famed Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis who died of tuberculosis in 1844 at the age of 23. In English speaking countries, La Dame aux Camelias became loosely translated into the new title Camille.
During the silent era, the story of Camille was filmed several times, most famously in 1926 with actress Norma Talmadge in the title role. The sentimental love story was proving to be one of great endurance, tugging on the heartstrings of every new generation. In 1936, the most powerful studio in Hollywood, MGM, was ready to invest in a lavish big budget production of Camille with their highest paid star, Greta Garbo, in the lead.
Garbo was at the peak of her remarkable career as well as her unique beauty in 1936. MGM was actually planning to make two films with her that year -- Camille and Conquest, about the love story between Napoleon and Marie Walewska. Garbo's frequent director Clarence Brown would only be making one of them, and MGM subsequently gave George Cukor a chance to direct the other. He had a choice between the two projects. Cukor, who had already proven his mettle at the studio with such films as Dinner at Eight (1933), David Copperfield (1935) and Romeo and Juliet (1936), chose Camille. It would be the first time that he and Garbo worked together.
Even though the story of Camille had endured since 1848 and become a classic, in 1936 it was beginning to show some dust around the edges. George Cukor was faced with the challenge of making the dated melodrama relevant and appealing to modern audiences. "The play presented some enormous problems," said George Cukor according to the 2005 book Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy by Mark A. Vieira, "because you had to make a modern audience understand its conventions. It came from a time when a woman's reputation, her virtue, was a terribly important thing and a big bonanza for drama." The trick would be in getting audiences to look past the period costumes and manners and still be moved by a love story that was timeless.
The first order of business for MGM's new production of Camille was to have a fresh screenplay adaptation written. Cukor brought in noted screenwriter Frances Marion, who was well versed in the story. She had penned the 1915 silent scenario starring Clara Kimball Young and also contributed to the 1926 silent version starring Norma Talmadge. Marion was also no stranger to working with Garbo, having written the screenplay for the Swedish silent star's first talking picture, Anna Christie (1930).
Frances Marion and colleague James Hilton pounded out a draft of the new screenplay. Eventually a third writer, Zoe Akins, was brought in to do a polish, and all three ended up being credited on the film.
Garbo was reportedly excited to tackle the role of Marguerite, although her legendary mystique and inscrutability often left George Cukor scratching his head over what she was really thinking. "I sensed that she was a little distrustful of me," said George Cukor. "Having her own very clear idea of how La Dame aux Camelias ought to be played on the screen, she was not unnaturally afraid that I, too, would have ideas on the subject, and that a clash would develop when we faced each other...on the studio stage."
Garbo also made an impression on Frances Marion, with whom she had worked several years before. "[Garbo] gave no impression of having aged, but she had lost that darkly brooding look in her eyes which was so unfathomable when she was young," said Marion in her 1972 autobiography Off With Their Heads!. "If you spoke to her, even a casual greeting, she gave you a look at once watchful and shrewd. Curiously, it was never a direct look, but seemed to bypass you and focus upon some distant object. This was Garbo's way of rejecting you; she did not want to be burdened with too many friends."
With such a larger than life star as Garbo, the biggest challenge was to find a male co-star who could hold his own opposite her. "There was more parleying about the selection of her leading man," said Frances Marion, "than electing a senator." Everyone wondered if Armand should be played by a European actor or an American. Eventually, George Cukor settled on Robert Taylor, who had almost been rejected for being "too handsome," according to Marion. Taylor was a fresh new face at the time, having been slowly groomed by MGM for stardom. After being loaned out to make Magnificent Obsession (1935) at Universal opposite Irene Dunne, Taylor was finally making a name for himself and ready to take on the daunting task of sharing the silver screen with MGM's top actress. He was admittedly intimidated and "scared to death," but he rose to the challenge of playing Armand.
"Armand is historically a terrible part," said Cukor. "It was usually played by middle-aged men. As a result he seemed stupid doing the things he did. When you get someone really young playing Armand, you understand him; he becomes appealing, with a kind of real youthful passion; whereas if he were thirty-eight years old, you'd think, 'Oh, you ass, why do you do that?' So that very crudity, that intensity of young passion made Robert Taylor an extremely good Armand."
With cameras set to roll in the late summer of 1936, MGM was ready to realize one of its most lavish productions. When MGM production head Irving Thalberg got a look at Greta Garbo together with Robert Taylor, he exclaimed with supreme confidence, "We can't miss with these two!"
by Andrea Passafiume
Filming began on Camille during the late summer of 1936. From the very beginning of the production, there was a feeling in the air that the film would be something very special.
Greta Garbo gradually relaxed enough to be able to trust that her first experience being directed by George Cukor would be a good one. It helped that her longtime cinematographer William Daniels was also behind the camera. Daniels, known as "Garbo's Cameraman," was brilliant at his craft and seemed to know better than anyone how to best capture Garbo's luminescent beauty on film.
As was her nature, Garbo didn't like having a lot of people around the set, and she kept those who were there at arm's length. However, she did make an effort to put co-star Robert Taylor at ease, even if she wasn't exactly warm. It was all part of her method. "Garbo didn't talk much to Robert Taylor," remembered George Cukor. "She was polite but distant. She had to tell herself that he was the ideal young man, and she knew if they became friendly she'd learn he was just another nice kid."
Garbo's approach to playing Marguerite was different from her predecessors. Her natural instincts and choices were a testament both to her talent and the skilled contributions of screenwriter Zoe Akins, to whom George Cukor gave much credit. "[Akins] managed to create a whole language, a kind of argot for the story," said Cukor. "She wrote one very good scene of a party at Marguerite's house. All these tarts were sitting around, and Zoe had the idea they told rather coarse jokes in front of each other and Armand was shocked by it. In the middle of all these tarts being so raucous and common, Marguerite has a coughing spell. It was the only time she really coughed in the film. Most of the time she suggested her tuberculosis by little dry clearings of the throat and touching her mouth. Most ladies cough and splutter their way through this part...What Garbo did in that scene was she suddenly lost her breath and went into the other room. Armand comes in and he's revolted by the coarseness he's just heard, and I'll never forget how beautifully Garbo played the next moment. She has a line that Zoe Akins wrote -- 'Oh, I'm just a girl like all the rest' -- as if to warn him not to put her on a pedestal and sentimentalize her."
Many people found Garbo's process as an actress inscrutable, though no one questioned it because the results spoke for themselves. Her habit was to work out a performance ahead of time in private as much as possible. Too many eyes on her in front of the camera made her uneasy. As Cukor once explained, "[Garbo] said that when she was acting she had some sort of an ideal picture in her mind -- something she was creating -- and she never saw the rushes because she was always disappointed in what she saw. But she said while she was acting she could imagine certain things and if she saw people just off the set staring at her, she felt like an ass, like somebody with a lot of paint on her face making faces. It stopped her imagination."
Sometimes Garbo's choices while making Camille surprised Cukor. For instance: the scene early on in which Marguerite kisses Armand all over his face. It was an undirected action Garbo took that Cukor called "memorable" and "erotic." At other times, Cukor was able to use his own directing instincts to use Garbo's natural aloofness to the film's advantage, such as during the scene at the beginning of the film when Marguerite goes to the theater. "I wanted to show that Marguerite was a public woman, that she went to the theater to be seen," explained Cukor. "She had to walk through a crowded lobby of men...I wanted her to walk through to show herself, as if on parade for clients. At first Garbo walked through rather quickly, as if she didn't want to be seen. I might have said, 'Walk through a little more brazenly, a little more slowly,' but I didn't. I realized she was right. She could slip through, and you knew damn well the men would look at her anyway."
Even though Garbo liked Cukor, he did have one behavior on the set that annoyed her. He had the habit of sitting behind the camera during a scene and mouthing the words along with the actors, sometimes making hand and facial gestures as well. Garbo didn't waste any time telling him that she found it extremely distracting and asked him to stop. Nevertheless, she and Cukor worked remarkably well together, and over the course of filming they developed a deep respect for each other.
When MGM production head Irving Thalberg saw the rushes, he could barely contain his enthusiasm. He was sure that Camille would be a great success and had nothing but praise for his leading actress. "I think we have caught Garbo as she should be caught," said Thalberg. "She will be the most memorable Camille of our time."
In the middle of production, however, Thalberg, who had always suffered from congenital health problems, suddenly died of a heart attack at age 37. Thalberg had been a much beloved figure at the studio who had overseen some of MGM's greatest triumphs. His death sent a wave of shock and grief throughout the studio and left some productions in precarious question. A short time later, however, production did resume on Camille, though hearts were heavy.
Thalberg's death came on the heels of George Cukor losing his own mother earlier during production, and the sense of grief was palpable. The loss inevitably hovered over the remaining time on Camille, especially while Garbo filmed Marguerite's famous death scene. The emotions that everyone brought to the moment helped make the scene memorable and deeply moving.
by Andrea Passafiume
Camille (1937) is one of the screen's most timeless romantic tearjerkers of Hollywood's Golden Age. Swedish screen legend Greta Garbo stars as Marguerite, a courtesan of ill repute in 19th century Paris, who falls in love with the young French nobleman Armand (Robert Taylor). Happiness is elusive for the couple, however, due to the meddling of friends and family and Marguerite's rapidly failing health. As Camille, Garbo gives what many consider to be her greatest performance, and handsome romantic lead Taylor, once billed "the man with the perfect profile," sent female hearts aflutter upon the film's release.
MGM, led by production supervisor Irving Thalberg, wanted a fresh, sensual version of Camille, which had already been filmed several times during the silent era with such stars as Theda Bara and Rudolph Valentino. The famed George Cukor, whose credits include numerous screen classics like Dinner at Eight (1933), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and My Fair Lady (1964), was set to direct. It marked the first time he worked with Garbo (he would later direct her again in the 1941 comedy Two-Faced Woman). Though the two eventually became friends, Cukor initially didn't take to Garbo; he found her dour and depressing to be around. He was impressed with Garbo's acting abilities, however, and loved her performance in Camille. Her insecurities led to her usual practice of barring everyone who wasn't absolutely essential to the scene at hand from the set while she was performing, but Cukor understood that this was all part of her unique craft. According to him, she was always fresh and creative and worked extremely hard to get each scene exactly right. "She managed to create a whole language," he said, "a kind of argot for the story."
Cukor was also quick to give credit to screenwriter Zoe Akins. Akins and two others, Frances Marion and James Hilton, received screen credit for the script, but Cukor claimed that the final draft was all the work of Akins. The adaptation was based on the Alexandre Dumas novel La Dame aux Camelias which was later turned into a play and eventually the famous Verdi opera La Traviata. Dumas apparently based his original story on an actual woman - an acquaintance of his in Paris named Marie Alphonsine du Plessis who died at age 24 of tuberculosis.
Robert Taylor was considered an asset to Camille not just because of his good looks and earnest portrayal of Marguerite's suitor Armand, but also because of his youthful age of 25. According to George Cukor, Armand was a "notoriously bad part for an actor, and it's often played by men in their forties and doesn't make sense. But because Taylor was young, it came alive." Taylor had initially received much attention in Hollywood for his looks, but his talent evolved as he continuously worked hard to do justice to his roles. Of Taylor, Greta Garbo always spoke fondly. She was touched when he sent her mother a dozen beautiful orchids when he was in Stockholm for the premiere of Camille there. She also recalled his willingness to stay out of the sun during the shoot, even though he was a sun worshipper, in order to match Garbo's paler complexion.
For Marguerite's inevitable death scene at the end of the movie, there were two different versions shot. In one, Garbo delivered a long dramatic speech before she succumbs to her illness. In the other, she was mostly silent, allowing the emotion to come primarily from her face and body. George Cukor said that both versions were good, but in the end he and Garbo felt that it was too unrealistic to have a dying woman talk so much. They settled on the second one, which still has the power to move audiences to tears. For Garbo, playing her most famous role was an indelible experience. "My involvement in Marguerite was so complete," she said, "that I was unable to maintain emotional contact with people whom I met during work on this film." Her commitment to the role paid off when she won a Best Actress Academy Award® nomination for her work - the only nomination for Camille. She lost, however, to Luise Rainer in The Good Earth.
The tragic love story of Camille was an immediate hit with audiences and critics alike, who showered it with such adjectives as "brilliant," "eloquent" and "incomparable." Producer Irving Thalberg didn't live to see the success of his last project for MGM - he died September 14, 1936, three months before the end of production at the age of 37. After the film's success, MGM raised Garbo's already substantial salary, and the King of Sweden bestowed their Litteris et Artibus award on the actress. The beauty and romance of Camille have endured through the years, making it one of the silver screen's great classics.
Producer: Bernard H. Hyman, David Lewis
Director: George Cukor
Screenplay: Zoe Akins, Alexandre Dumas, James Hilton, Frances Marion
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Fredric Hope, Edwin B. Willis
Cinematography: William H. Daniels, Karl Freund
Costume Design: Adrian
Film Editing: Margaret Booth
Original Music: Herbert Stothart, Edward Ward
Principal Cast: Greta Garbo (Marguerite Gautier), Robert Taylor (Armand Duval), Lionel Barrymore (Monsieur Duval), Elizabeth Allan (Nichette), Jessie Ralph (Nanine), Henry Daniell (Baron de Varville), Laura Hope Crews (Prudence Duvernoy).
BW-108m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video.
by Andrea Foshee
AWARDS AND HONORS
Greta Garbo was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance as Marguerite in Camille. It was her third Academy Award nomination.
Garbo won the Best Actress Award from the New York Film Critics Circle.
Camille was included in Time magazine's list of the top "All-Time 100 Movies". Critic Richard Corliss said, "In this romance of selfless renunciation and the nobility of the call-girl class, Garbo's achievement may strike younger viewers as odd, silly, for she is performing in a gestural language utterly remote from today's. Yet it is an elegant, eloquent tongue, and no one 'spoke' it as brilliantly as Garbo did in this great and grand soap opera."
In 2002 the American Film Institute ranked Camille number 33 on its list of the best romantic films of all time, "100 Years...100 Passions."
In 2007 Time magazine named Camille one of the "Top 10 Romantic Movies" of all time. Critic Richard Corliss said, "For me, this is where a weepy story and a great, daring actress feed each other to create sublime and devastating art."
THE CRITIC'S CORNER - CAMILLE
"Greta Garbo's performance in the new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer version...is in the finest tradition: eloquent, tragic, yet restrained. She is as incomparable in the role as legend tells us that Bernhardt was. Through the perfect artistry of her portrayal, a hackneyed theme is made new again, poignantly sad, hauntingly lovely. George Cukor...has retained the full flavor of the period...without drenching his film with the cloying scent of a hothouse. Camille under his benign handling and the understanding adaptation by Zoe Akins, Frances Marion, and James Hilton, is not the reverentially treated museum piece we half expected to see. Its speech has been modernized, but not jarringly; its characters, beneath the frill and ruffles of the fifties, have the contemporary point of view; its tragedy is still compelling, for the Lady of the Camellias must eternally be a tragic figure." -- The New York Times
"George Cukor directs this famous play...with rare skill. Interior settings, costumes and exteriors are lavish and beautiful. The film shows the great care which went into its preparation and making. Robert Taylor plays with surprising assurance and ease. He never seems to be striving for a point...Garbo's impersonation of Marguerite Gautier is one of her best portraits...The two principals play the love scenes for full worth...Of the support players, Henry Daniell, as Baron de Varville, turns in a performance of unusual interest...Daniell is suave and properly elegant without being too obvious." -- Variety
"Beautiful MGM production; in one of her most famous roles, Garbo is Dumas' tragic heroine who must sacrifice her own happiness in order to prove her love. Taylor is a bit stiff as Armand, but Daniell is a superb villain." -- Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide
"If Greta Garbo is not Hollywood's greatest dramatic actress in her greatest dramatic role then I have been bewitched." -- The Los Angeles Herald-Express
"MGM's high camp 'funereal' decor, the judicious adaptation of Dumas' play, Cukor's gay sensibility in directing women, and William Daniels' atmospheric photography - all these made Camille Garbo's most popular film. Her aura of self-knowledge, inner calm and strength of purpose intermeshed finely with elements of the production to produce a tragedy of love-as-renunciation which was closer in spirit to Hedda Gabler than to Dumas." - TimeOut
Compiled by Andrea Passafiume