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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 role of Marguerite Gautier was originally offered to Brooke Shields. She turned it down because she felt the pre-production schedule was too rushed, without sufficient time to get the period costumes and other design elements right. See more »
Sudsy, but young Colin Firth and Greta Scacchi make it worth a look
Camille is a typical 80s period piece for television - lavish period costumes, sudsy script, somewhat cheesy music and perfunctory direction - but the real fascination here is in seeing the very young Colin Firth and Greta Scacchi, each in one of their first film roles. They are both gorgeous of course, and each shows glimpses of the more mature and developed actors they will later become.
Firth is young and skinny and perfect as the serious puppy dog lover obsessed with Marguerite, the beautiful courtesan played by Scacchi. She is quite good in her role - her combination of drop-dead beauty and calculating mind make her a fine choice.
The biggest problem with this film is the absolutely awful script. It is hackneyed and cliched, and you can predict every line and scene a mile off. The actors do their best (Ben Kingsley, who later won the Oscar for Ghandi, plays Firth's father), but they seem to know they are in a losing proposition. It is possible to take a classic novel or story and make it into a compelling, original film - think of Firth's later, much finer Pride & Prejudice, or Scorcese's Age of Innocence - but this film's cheap television budget shows. If the characters had been more developed, and less two-dimensional, it could have been a fascinating film.
Too bad Camille wasn't made in the age of cable, with more developed scripts and better production values. But as an artifact, it is worth a look the next time it pops up on WE Channel. Just don't pay a lot for it on ebay, because as a film, it's kind of a stinker!
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