Life in 1847 Paris is as spirited as champagne and as unforgiving as the gray morning after. In gambling dens and lavish soirees, men of means exert their wills and women turned courtesans exult in pleasure. One such woman... more » is Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo), the Camille of this sumptuous romance tale based on the enduring Alexandre Dumas story. Garbo's aloof mystique and alabaster beauty illuminate this George Cukor-directed film featuring what many call her finest performance. Her Camille is a movie paragon of true love found (in suitor Armand Duval, memorably played by Robert Taylor), then sacrificed for a greater good. Garbo earned an Academy Award nomination and the New York Film Critics Best Actress Award for her memorable work. DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Audio Bonus: Leo Is on the Air Radio Promo
Full Screen Version:1921 Silent Version Starring Alla Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino« less
"I have seen many, many classic movies. I have seen the best performances of the best movie stars and I have seen all of the most respected classic films. None come close to Camille, the best movie ever made! I'm not kidding, either. This film is pure magic. The screenplay is brilliant and flawless. The romantic lines will last in your memory just as long as the beautiful images. And there are many unforgettable scenes.. Garbo drops her fan as she walks down the staircase (in a magnificent Adrian gown), as she sees the man she loves. The scene where Robert Taylor throws his money at the woman he can't have. And the single best scene in motion picture history..Garbo's legendary and tearjerking death scene. The first time I saw this movie, the end made me cry uncontrollably for half an hour. Just as magnificent are the heartfelt performances by Garbo and Robert Taylor, who is sensitive and tender, as his character should be. Garbo is breathtaking in her best role. Her lines are perfectly blended with her character, such as when she is on her deathbed and whispers, "If you can't save me, how can a doctor?" or "My heart isn't used to being happy." As they are falling in love, the lines are absolutely wonderful, such as when Taylor tells Garbo his parents were married 30 years and Garbo says, sadly, "Nobody could ever love me 30 years." People could laugh at this movie and say it is sentimental, but that just indicates lack of heart. I have never seen a movie without a sentimental script that ever inspired me to write. This movie inspired me in every way.. It inspires us to be more compassionate towards each other and live to love. This is the most effective love story ever told, and this 63 year-old film still breathes life into a 150 year-old story. Why? Because it is timeless. A story is only old if the artists think so, but this film is a masterpiece. It will always be my favorite movie."
Sublime and unforgettable
Susan Fong | Las Vegas, NV USA | 06/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Camille" is that rare occurance in movies where the story, director, star, and studio are all working in sync. The result is one of the finest romantic dramas of all time."Camille" is based on Alexandre Dumas tragic story of a tubercular Parisian courtesan, Marguerite, who sacrifices all for true love.George Cukor, the director, proved yet again that he is the consummate actor's director. With impeccable taste and skill, he consistently brought out the best in the most gifted actors such as Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, and Audrey Hepburn to name a few.And with Greta Garbo as the star of "Camille", Cukor elicited one of the best performances in movie history. You are never aware of Garbo acting. She simply becomes Marguerite, the seemingly light-hearted, yet world-weary courtesan whose beauty and sexual favors she offers to wealthy men. Those men in turn use her and then pay her.That is Marguerite's means of survival. She is not educated or job-skilled but she is seductive to men, and she can capitalize upon that.Marguerite has never known true and unselfish love until she meets Armand Duvall, a young and principled man who falls in love with her at first sight. He is earnestly played by a very handsome and youthful Robert Taylor.Armand is finally introduced to Marguerite by a mutual friend.
Unbeknownst to Marguerite, Armand has visted her home for several months while she was convalescing from her tuberculosis. He would visit with Marguerite's devoted housekeeper Nanine everyday to find out if Marguerite's health was improving. He truly cared about her well-being.And even though Marguerite always has plenty of "friends" to party with, these so-called "friends" are mostly shallow and opportunistic. When Armand is finally invited to one of Marguerite's soirees, he is the only one who is concerned that she is gasping and weak after a tubercular bout worsened by dancing.Marguerite is skeptical at first about Armand's devotion, but she finally realizes that he is truly in love with her. He wants to take her away from Paris to the peaceful countryside where the fresh air and sunshine will help her to get well.And Marguerite and Armand do spend an idyllic summer in the countryside until something happens to disrupt their tranquility. I will not disclose what happens next.For those who have never seen Greta Garbo in a movie before, I would alert you that her beauty is transcendent. There are no earthly words to adequately describe her luminous, extraordinary visage. Combine that beauty with formidable talent, and you can understand why Garbo was and still is a legend.Garbo's performance as the tragic Marguerite is not merely great, it is sublime. Somehow she tranmits that there is a moral and selfless person beneath the apparently promiscuous and materialistic person she has become.With exquisite subtly and restraint, Garbo as Marguerite convincingly conveys how profoundly Armand's love has not only touched her, but has transformed her entire being. You acutely feel Marguerite's overwhelming joy and despair. It is a perfectly modulated performance.As for the rest of the movie, "Camille" is a trademark world-class MGM production with gorgeous sets, breathtaking costumes, and lovely cinematography. If you appreciate pure artistry in movie making, you'll love "Camille"."
Garbo's unforgettable classic
Simon Davis | 10/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every actor or actress who has achieved success in Hollywood tends to have one film that is their "signature" part and in Greta Garbo's instance that role would have to be her tragic heroine Marguerite Gautier in the MGM classic "Camille'.This film was, and is one of the benchmarks for how a classic movie should be put together. Flawless attention to detail, a great romantic story, exquisite performances by all concerned, a sumptous production and a fine literary source. All these elements successively combine here to make a screen masterpiece that has moved, charmed and entertained movie goers for generations. Indeed "Camille" is probably the best known and most often revived of all of Greta Garbo's great body of work which includes such masterpieces as , "Grand Hotel", "Mata Hari", "Queen Christina", and "Ninotchka".Greta Garbo, the mysterious, and reclusive MGM star here proves yet again what a stunning actress she can be when given material worthy of her talents. Based on the tragic story by Alexandre Dumas of "The Lady of the Camellias", "Camille" tells the story of Marguerite Gautier a famous 19th Century courtesan in Paris who lives by her beauty and the support of those men who can pay for it. The tragedy of her situation is that when life means very little to her and she finds herself slowly dying of consumption, she meets the love of her life the young and penniless gentlemen Armand who loves her for herself and not because of the charms she can offer. Armand offers her a life of genuine love and purpose which is missing in her gilded Parisian life among her superficial, pleasure loving friends and as the mistress of the grim and domineering Baron de Varville who views her as his personal plaything. Garbo instills in Marguerite just the right qualities of tragedy and humour to make her a well rounded believable character. Her scenes with the Baron have just the right elements of fear and loathing of the situation she finds herself in. Garbo, who earned yet another Oscar nomination for this role, reached new dramatic heights here and it was a performance which she was justifibly proud of."Camille" has a wonderful array of performers who surround Garbo with some stunning work. Robert Taylor was a rising MGM star only just beginning his incredibly long career with the studio when he was handed the plum role of Armand. Previously acted on screen by non other than Rudolph Valentino, Taylor has been accused of a certain stiffness in his playing. Reportedly he was terrified at the propect of working so closely with the legendary Garbo but it does not show in his performance. Certainly his work in the second half of the film is a major improvement when he experiences the frustrations of loving a woman who is being kept by a wealthy older man. His is a fine performance given the limitations of the role . Henry Daniell, a veteran character actor with many fine performances to his credit does a superb turn as the nasty Baron de Varville. He is excellent in his scenes with Garbo and projects an image of a cruel, self centred individual who regards Marguerite as his personal possession and who believes that money can get him everything he wants in life. The sterling cast also contains some wonderful work from Jessie Ralph another veteran character actress. She takes the sympathetic role of Nanine , Marguerite's devoted maid who stays with her devotedly through all the ups and downs of her life. Perhaps one of the most dazzling performances is turned in by Laura Hope Crews as Marguerite's superficial and self centred friend Prudence. Rarely has Crews, best known nowadays for playing Aunt Pittypat in "Gone With The Wind", given a more wonderful performance, she is in turn selfish, amusing, uncaring and infuriating and she dominates her scenes aided by her gaudy jewellery, over the top fashions and commanding presence . Lionel Barrymore also registers in the supporting role of Armand's concerned father Monsieur Duval and his most memorable scene occurs when he confronts Garbo's character with what she is potentially doing to Armand's chances of ever succesively making his way in life. Garbo's anguish at having to reject Armand for his own good despite the love she is feeling for him is heartrenching and gives Marguerite the mantle of a great tragic character. The interplay between Garbo and Barrymore, who had worked together before very effectively in "Mata Hari", is brilliant and goes a long way to explaining why these two performers are still considered stars 70 years after this production.Superbly directed by the legendary director George Cukor who worked so beautifully with Garbo on a number of occasions, "Camille" literally glows with the essence of a tragic romance in the making. Cukor was expert at extracting just the right amount of pathos and longing for other things from his players and here he excels in one of his finest films. The production also benefits from MGM's great ability to bring the very best of talents to everything both in front of and behind the scenes. Adrian never surpassed himself than here in the stunning costumes he created for Garbo and the chief supporting players in this production. The film is so gorgeously costumed it makes viewing "Camille" a veritable eye feast but they tie in very carefully with what courtesans of that time wore and shows MGM's meticulous research into a time or period. Cedric Gibbon's sets almost rival his stunning work for "Marie Antoniette" a year later and have that unmistakably no expense spared MGM look about them."Camille" is the ultimate in romantic screen entertainment of the first order. For people wanting to sample Garbo's work for the first time this production is the best choice of all her films. I love it as an example of old style movie making at its very best with all areas of the production given total care and attention. It is a timeless story and for all lovers of romance this film will never fail to move you in its dilemma of searching for real love at the expense of ones creature comforts. I never fail to be impressed by "Camille" and you wont regret this trip into another time and place when love and position could mean everything in an individuals life."
Garbo's most unguarded and vivid performance
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 11/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Greta Garbo's superb performance as CAMILLE finally comes to DVD. Based on the romantic novel by Alexandre Dumas. The story takes place in the giddy Paris of the 1800's. Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo) is the most dazzling and popular courtesan, who delights in breaking hearts and squandering her money, yet does her best to hide a frail constitution. Into her life comes the handsome yet humble Armand (Robert Taylor). The jaded Marguerite experiences her first taste of real love, but Armand's father (Lionel Barrymore) insists that she call off the romance. She returns to the empty artifice of Paris, but Marguerite will be forever changed thanks to her "unstained love". Fantastic support performances from Laura Hope Crews (as the grasping Prudence), Elizabeth Allan, Lenore Ulric, Jessie Ralph and Henry Daniell. The beautiful gowns are provided by Adrian and the charming score by Herbert Stothart.
Director George Cukor managed to extract from Garbo her most unguarded and vivid screen performance. She simply becomes Dumas' "Lady of the Camellias", and never does the audience see her merely acting. Those under the false belief that Garbo wasn't a superb actress should take another look at CAMILLE.
Though the DVD transfer is far from the best. The print is littered with scratches, dirt, debris and watermarks. Warners could at least have restored the film for it's DVD debut.
The big extra is the inclusion of the 1921 silent film version starring Alla Nazimova as Marguerite and Rudolph Valentino as Armand. The print has been beautifully-restored and features a brand-new musical score provided by Peter Vantine. For those who are only familiar with the Garbo CAMILLE, the silent version will be a lovely new look at the story, now set in the modern times with Nazimova emoting wonderfully as the doomed Marguerite.
Warners cannot be forgiven for the slipshod way they have released Garbo's CAMILLE on DVD, but the silent version somewhat lessens the blow."
Susan Fong | 02/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A word of advice when viewing this movie: Get out the kleenex! A classic romantic weeper, this film lived up to all my expectations and more. It took me months to find a video store that had this video for rent, and though very expensive, it was completely worth it! Greta Garbo is my new hero. Her acting is ... remarkable in this film. I confess, though perhaps some may disagree, that I liked her much better in this film than in Ninotchka - also an excellent movie, but lacking one of my newfound favourite actors: Robert Taylor, who is astounding in this film. I'm dreadfully sorry ... I cannot think of an adjective that would do justice to any of the aspects of this movie. Robert Taylor, Greta Garbo ... both are incredible, and a perfect romantic match. It's almost funny; when they are together and happy, you'll find you have a huge smile on your face. But when they are apart; or when Armand, (Robert Taylor), is doubting her love; or when Camille makes that great sacrifice - (I'll say no more, I hate reviews that give the plot away!) - you'll find your eyes brimming with tears. The story, the set, the costumes, the many supporting actors, (watch out for the Baron! He's especially hateable!) ... all are perfect! And because I find I cannot say enough about the two stars, let me add once again that Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor are magnificent! When they were together they seemed to glow, and you always sensed something missing when they were apart. A remarkable film with an incredible cast, it boasted the greatest tearjerker plot! If you are looking for THE tragic romance, watch Camille! It truly is a beautiful movie."