Camille (Review)

Camille (1936)
Dir. George Cukor
Starring: Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, etc.

I was surprised at how much I liked this film. The movie is based on a novel by Alexander Dumas, and I wished I had read the novel before I watched the movie (a word to the wise). I believe Verdi wrote an opera based on the novel as well.

The film is about a prositute who has made her way up to the upper class (the film doesn’t really go into that part). She is superficial and shallow, but she meets a man who falls in love with her. She is sick (with consumption) and the man wants to take care of her. The woman, Mageurite Gautier, is played by Greta Garbo.

There are two things that make a great drama-romance: 1.) a beautiful woman that makes you feel like you’re falling in love with her; 2.) a relationship that you really believe in or care about.

For the first point, I’ve seen two films with Garbo in them, and she’s one of the most beautiful women in film. Prior to these films, I’ve seen many still photographs of her, and she’s beautiful in them, but her in the film–her voice, her smile and laughter really make her more beautiful. Her voice, speech, and, to a lesser extent, her looks remind me of Ingrid Bergman. Anyway, she definitely meets condition #1.

As for the second condition, I really did care about their relationship. The different problematic situations the characters get into really heightened my sense of concern for them.

Finally, I guess I didn’t think Garbo would be so appealing and that I would care about this couple to the extent that I did. In the early part of the film, I thought the acting and situations would be too corny or dated for me to care, but by the half-way point I was hooked.

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