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Marguerite 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, Marguerite discovers that Armand has not lost his love for her. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Alexander Dumas fils, the author of "La dame aux camelias", created a powerful novel that has been made into an opera, "La Traviata", as well as a play and this film just titled "Camille". The story of Marguerite Gautier, the famous Parisian courtesan has moved audiences since it first came out in France.
George Cukor seems to have been the obvious choice for directing this adaptation of the book. Mr. Cukor had a great eye for detail, as well as for guiding his female stars into performances that defined a lot of careers in the movies. He was not strange to working with the divine Ms. Garbo, and their collaboration in this film seems to have been a match made in heaven.
The film clearly belongs to Greta Garbo who, as Marguerite Gautier, runs away with the film. This seems to be a role tailor-made for the star. It's without a doubt one of her best screen portrayals. Ms. Garbo clearly understood this woman, who is tormented into resigning the man she loved when his father comes to her to ask the famous courtesan to have pity on his family and to let the young man go free.
The selection of Robert Taylor to play Armand Duval was a coup for the studio and for the production. Mr. Taylor, who went to be one of the favorite stars at MGM exuded charm and seems to have had no problems playing opposite Greta Garbo. In fact, Robert Taylor contribution to the film is enormous.
This film has always been a perennial favorite among fans of Greta Garbo. We remember seeing it at MOMA with a rapt crowd that applauded so loud at the end of the screening for what seemed to be forever.
The supporting cast is excellent as anything that was assembled by MGM. Lionel Barrymore is seen as Monsieur Duval, Armand's father who pleads with Marguerite to let his son go. Henry Daniell plays the Baron de Varville with great style.
William Daniels was the cinematographer. He clearly understood how to photograph Ms. Garbo and he is at his best in this film. The great art direction by Cedric Gibbons shows what this man was capable of doing. The screen play shows such names as James Hilton, Zoe Akins and Frances Marion among the writers.
"Camille" is a film that will live forever thanks to the luminous Greta Garbo and the inspired direction of George Cukor.
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