Camille is a courtesan in Paris. She falls deeply in love with a young man of promise, Armand Duval. When Armand's father begs her not to ruin his hope of a career and position by marrying Armand, she acquiesces and leaves her lover. However, when poverty and terminal illness overwhelm her, Camille discovers that Armand has not lost his love for her. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
The film contains many before their time innovations. These include: Marguerite's high "afro" wig in the theatre scene at the beginning, an open fire pit set in the middle of her living room, and doors that open automatically at approach. See more »
Good Adaptation of the Story With Numerous Interesting Features
This is a good adaptation of the familiar story of "Camille", with a fair number of interesting features that make it worth seeing. In its time, it was a vehicle for Alla Nazimova's distinctive style, and her approach gives the whole story a tone different from most other versions. It's also of interest for its (then) contemporary setting and for having Rudolph Valentino in the role of Armand.
Once you have seen Greta Garbo's outstanding 1936 performance in the role, it becomes very difficult afterwards to look at any other actress objectively as Camille, and indeed no one else has ever come close to Garbo's standard. But Nazimova's approach works fine in itself, and she gives the character a different but interesting personality.
Nazimova gives Camille a decidedly world-weary nature, and she makes the character seem about to go over the edge at any moment. Her sudden transformation due to the influence of the innocent Armand makes the character sympathetic, while accentuating her instability. It's interesting to see Valentino as Armand, since the role calls for him to allow himself to be completely dominated by Camille and his feelings for her. He does rather well in making the character believable.
By replacing the usual period background with what was then a contemporary setting, the movie also emphasizes the emptiness of Camille's world before meeting Armand. The story also makes regular use of the parallel with the 'Manon Lescaut' story that provides a parallel to the main story. All of these things make this silent screen version quite interesting, and it is well worth seeing as a somewhat different take on the story.
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