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The Critics' Corner: CAMILLE


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."


"Greta Garbo's performance in the new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 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


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