DVD - 2005
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Not rated.
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.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2005]
ISBN: 9780790747682
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (109 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 18, 2018

Neither of these Hollywood incarnations of Dumas fils' biggest hit play is much more than tolerably watchable in 2018, and the 1921 silent, which updates the setting to 1920 Paris and the sets to high Art Deco, aces the 1936 version pretty thoroughly, including with Peter Vantine's new (2002) score, much more attractive and apropos than MGM music chief Herbert Stothert's big orchestral pastiche. But in comparison with the original Camille story, Dumas's novel, The Lady of the Camellias--if not with his theatrical adaptation--both movies are tepid treacle. Read the novel! --Ray Olson

Dec 05, 2014

Set in 19th century France, George Cukor’s grandaddy of all tearjerkers stars the great Greta Garbo as Marguerite, a self-centred Parisian courtesan whose extravagant lifestyle far outweighs her modest purse. Thanks to her seductive looks and carefree attitude however Marguerite is able to charm the francs right out of their owners’ pockets while giving very little in return. But when she finds herself the focus of a passionate triangle her usual aloof attitude comes back to pierce her right through the heart. On the one hand is the austere but fabulously wealthy Baron de Varville who regards Marguerite as a cherished object to be owned; on the other is Armand, heir to a modest estate who practically worships her yet has very little to offer financially. Shifting her attentions between the Baron’s cool stability and the uncertainty of Armand’s ardent embraces, Marguerite’s predicament is made all the more complicated by the knowledge she only has a very short time to live thanks to an unnamed illness that is slowly draining her of life and vitality. When she finally does decide between love and security will it be too late? When discussing the enduring quality of Cukor’s paean to amour fou (based on the novel by Dumas) one can certainly cite the lavish sets and costumes, the lush musical score, and the evocative cinematography that goes from boudoir intimacies to grand ballroom fêtes. And despite the draconian dictates of the Hays code which was firmly entrenched at the time, there is a muted eroticism to the ongoing sexual politics whether it be a series of playful kisses or an urgent hug—in one telling scene Marguerite’s innocent birthday party swiftly transforms into a full-blown bacchanal. But it is Garbo’s magnificent performance that makes it all work. She doesn’t so much speak her lines as play with them, toying with the audience even as she toys with her onscreen suitors. Her portrayal of a woman of leisure frightened by the prospect of unconditional love as she faces her impending mortality would be so much overblown melodrama in the hands of a lesser artist—Garbo inhabits the part and makes us believe right up to that final heartbreaking close-up. This is what a movie star looks like.

Aug 12, 2014

Cukor’s direction is as drolly sparkling as ever in this adaptation of Camille that adds (when compared to the silent version) much appreciated layers of complexity to the Marguerite character. Garbo was made for a role like this with her tragically haunted soul never more visible through her facade of beauty and nonchalance.

Not a bad film, especially considering how relatively early in the silent era it was made, there still isn’t a lot that stands out about it. Its biggest problems are that there doesn't seem to be much reason for Armand to like Maguerite, and that the death bed scenes at the end occupy far too much of the movie.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at WCLS

To Top