Camille (1936 film)

The Lady of the Camellias (Original Title: Camille ) is an American film directed by George Cukor in 1936 with Greta Garbo. The film is based on the stage play The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas


Marguerite Gautier is one of the most famous courtesans of Paris in the period around 1850. One day she meets in the opera by chance the young diplomat Armand Duval, whom Marguerite holds first for the fabulously wealthy Baron de Varville. Both fall in love. Marguerite begins a relationship with Armand, but she soon gets into financial distress. Her previous life change is not calculated to win Armands family. His father speaks seriously one of them and pushes the desperate young woman to refrain from love at Armand. Marguerite, who suffers from tuberculosis, renounces her lover and returns to Paris, where its power fades quickly. Completely impoverished and deserted by all friends, she dies at the end in the arms of Armand.


The Lady of the Camellias belonged since its first performance at the popular prestige performances each respected stage actress. Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse had celebrated triumphs with the piece and already the beginnings of cinema end of the 19th century saw the first film adaptations. Greta Garbo knew the content of her days of acting school in Sweden still very accurate and really wanted to play the role of Marguerite Gautier. From 1935, the negotiations on the adaptation and began a long time it was not clear whether they should first play the Maria Walevska or just Lady of the Camellias. Finally, in the autumn of 1936 began filming under the supervision of Irving Thalberg, whose health during the work but always had deteriorated further and died suddenly on 14 September 1936. The cast was in contrast to most other films of the actress to the supporting roles filled by good actors. Even the election of Robert Taylor, who took over the thankless part of Armand, was logical for the studio, as he had advanced in recent months to the most popular male actors in Hollywood and his appearance would attract additional visitors next Garbo droves. Garbo allowed for the first and only time since 1927 that the sets, the locations that were freely available and not, as usual, remained cordoned off with Pravanen and partitions to unauthorized persons.

Two scenes have become especially well known. In the first third of the plot Marguerite Baron de Varville has a guest and sit with him at the piano, when suddenly Armand stands at the front door and rings the bell. Marguerite lies to the Baron meaning that they did not know who stand at the door. He knows or suspects, however, the truth and both torture yourself with a strained smile, the dialogue that reaches its furious musical and emotional climax, when the Baron plays a stirring piano piece. Many critics claim that this is by far the best performance of Greta Garbo ever been. At the very end, in the death scene, the actress opens for a split second his eyes, before she dies, giving the event an emotional boost.


Academy Awards 1937

New York Film Critics Awards 1937

  • New York Film Critics Circle Award / Best Actress - Greta Garbo

Theatrical Release

With production cost of 1,154,000 U.S. dollars, the film was about as part of a A- production. He was a big success at the box office and played in the U.S. with 1,154,000 U.S. dollars over a third more than a Anna Karenina from the previous year. International, the proceeds of the film 1.688 million U.S. dollars, so The Lady of the Camellias with a total score of 2.842 million U.S. dollars, the most successful film of Greta Garbo was at all. However, the profit was only about 388,000 U.S. dollars.


The reviews were full of praise for Greta Garbo and their subtle presentation. Frank S. Nugent in the New York Times brought things to the point:

" After more than 50 years, The Lady of the Camellias has become less a piece than an institution. Just as Hamlet is the measure of all things for a great actor, so the piece of Dumas son is the ultimate test of a dramatic actress. Greta Garbo's representation is in the best tradition: rich shaded, tragic and yet restrained. It is just as brilliantly in the role as according to the narratives was the Bernardt before her. Thanks to its perfect acting that is nevertheless already interpreted absurd topic again, fascinatingly sad and touching tragic. [ ... ] Miss Garbo has her Marguerite Gautier interpreted with the subtlety that has her the title, First Lady of the canvas ' deserves. "