Sunday, May 23, 2010

Camille (1936) (2nd time)

A Parisian courtesan must choose between the young man who loves her and the baron who wants her, even as her own health begins to fail. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar (as a 1937 film):

Best Actress: Greta Garbo

I'm sure many have asked how come Greta Garbo didn't win the Oscar for this?! It seems to be the general consensus and based on numbers and context it's a fair question. But I could spot the flaws in the film, and also in the performance. Camille is mostly an excuse to show Garbo in fabulous dresses (bless George Cukor, who loved his actresses to look their best). So, being a star vehicle is a tricky thing, which doesn't always pay off.
Garbo has her moments of shining, and I'll probably write on that sometime next week. But her theatrical charm can only do so much. Camille is never bad, but it looks like a very old fashioned (even for 1936) silent film. What saves it a lot are the camera work and the supporting actors. Laura Hope Crews shines as Marguerite's vulgar, loud friend and she brings much needed humor to the story, as she deserved an Oscar nom.
My rating for the film: 6.5/10. It looks pretty, otherwise I can't justify my generosity.


  1. I do NOT agree with you at all. Garbo's performance is magical and so is the film.

  2. I'm actually related to Laura Hope Crews! I haven't seen this yet though. I guess Irene Dunne will be your pick easily, since she's the only nominee you really like.

  3. I guess you'll going to give her 3 stars.

    The film itself was okay. It was quite catchy and it was never really a struggle to watch. Garbo SHINES in this, but her best performance is still in NINOTCHKA. That's where her theatrical acting really works.