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An attractive woman going by the name Marguerite lives in Paris and is a courtesan, kept by the rich aristocrat Baron de Varville. When the handsome young Armand sees her for the first time, he immediately falls in love. Camille is not so easy as to fall for his charms immediately. She lives a comfortable life, after all. As she comes to have feelings for him, Armand's father intervenes asking her not to cast a shadow on his son's future prospects and she agrees. In her greatest time of need however, the loving Armand returns to her. Written by
The play originally opened in Paris on 2 February 1852. Alexandre Dumas fils based the character Marguerite on a woman with whom he had an affair for 11 months. She died when she was 23. The movie inspired Milton Benjamin to write and publish a song in 1936 called "I'll Love Like Robert Taylor, Be My Greta Garbo". See more »
Prudence raises her left hand to her cigar, but removes it from her mouth with the right hand. See more »
Maybe it helps to be a romantic. But for my money, this is the greatest romance that was ever put on film. It has the perfect stars. Greta Garbo was the star of the age--any age--still beautiful and absolutely created to act in films. Even in silent films, her acting is measured and understated. She never falls prey to exaggeration nor pretense. I think that is the secret to her effectiveness. Allow me an example: after accepting money from Baron de Varville for a disguised outing with her lover Armand (which the Baron already suspects), she kisses him gently on the cheek only to be reviled with a harsh slap from the baron, who then departs. The camera moves in on that incomparable face. The head slowly lowers, the lips slightly part, a low moan expresses the guilt, shame and humiliation which momentarily consume her. Then she spies the money clutched tightly in her hand. Recognizing she now has the means to escape with her lover, a slight smile emerges reflecting her change of mood and restored joy. It is a scene like no other.
As for her co-star, Robert Taylor was castigated as being too callow for the role. In fact, most critics today realize he was exactly what Dumas intended: young, impressionable--and certainly irresistibly gorgeous in his dewy youth. That beauty often caused the young Taylor undeserved venom from the critics. He was a very capable actor and probably set the standard for the contemporary romantic leading man we see even today. Rumors that Garbo dismissed him as unimportant are not true. She liked him very much and was greatly impressed after he sent her mother flowers when they all attended the premiere of CAMILLE in Stockholm.
CAMILLE? A great movie with a great cast, including the marvelous Henry Daniell, whose Baron de Varville is very Jekyll and Hyde. I encourage anyone to see it. It is one of the finest films of the 20th Century.
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