Camille (1936, George Cukor)

A pretty good Cukor movie made in between really great Cukor movies. For some reason I can’t ever get into movies about rich courtesans in ill health who can’t decide between their callous rich suitor or their young and energetic, devout but poor suitor.

Stars Greta Garbo, who I’ve rarely seen in movies and doesn’t make much of a distinctive impression, in one of her final films. We’ll have to watch Queen Christina or Grand Hotel sometime to see what the hubbub is about. Henry Daniell (The Suspect, Witness for the Prosecution) is the boring old baron and Nebraskan Robert Taylor (Ivanhoe, Three Comrades, the 1935 Magnificent Obsession) is young and in love.

Based on the Alexandre Dumas novel, which has been adapted a million times, because apparently audiences love courtesans. The Theda Bara version is presumed lost. Others starred Norma Talmadge, Pola Negri or Rudolph Valentino. Isabelle Huppert and Bruno Ganz appeared together. Ben Kingsley played Colin Firth’s dad. Raymond Bernard made a version. Fortunately, the Antonioni film The Lady Without Camelias is an entirely different story.

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