Camille (1921 film)

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Camille
Camille-newspapaerad1922.jpg
Newspaper ad from the Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona) in the Library of Congress (March 1922)
Directed by Ray C. Smallwood
Produced by Alla Nazimova
Written by June Mathis
Based on La Dame aux Camélias 
by Alexandre Dumas, fils
Starring Rudolph Valentino
Alla Nazimova
Rex Cherryman
Arthur Hoyt
Patsy Ruth Miller
Production
company
Nazimova Productions
Distributed by Metro Pictures Corporation
Release dates
  • September 26, 1921 (1921-09-26)
Running time 70 minutes (contemporary edit)
Country United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles
Camille

Camille is a 1921 silent film starring Rudolph Valentino and Alla Nazimova. It is one of numerous screen adaptations of the book and play La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas, fils. The original play opened in Paris in 1852.[1][2]

Plot[edit]

A young law student, Armand (Valentino) becomes smitten with a courtesan, Marguerite (Nazimova). Marguerite is constantly surrounded by suitors, whom she entertains at her lavish apartment. She also has consumption and is frequently beset by bouts of illness.

Alla Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino depicted in a lobby card for the film.

Armand sees Marguerite at the opera and, later, pursues her when he attends one of her private parties. She rejects his advances at first, but eventually returns his affection.

The two live happily together until Armand's father, seeking to protect his family's reputation, convinces Marguerite to end the relationship. She finally relents and runs away to a wealthy client, leaving a note for Armand.

When Armand finds the note he is shattered. The sorrow eventually turns to rage, and he decides to plunge into Parisian nightlife, associating himself with Olympe, another courtesan. When he sees Marguerite at a casino, he publicly denounces her.

Marguerite gives up her life as a courtesan and quickly finds herself in massive debt. Her illness also takes a heavy toll. Eventually, as she lies dying in bed, her furniture and belongings are repossessed. She persuades the men taking her belongings to allow her to keep her most precious possession, a book Armand gave to her.

Marguerite dies lying in bed in her apartment holding the book Armand gave her, wishing to sleep where she is happy dreaming about Armand. Marguerite's maid Nanine, and her newlywed friends Gaston and Nichette are at her bedside as she dies. The viewer is left to believe that Armand never found out about his father forcing Marguerite to leave him, and therefore never saw Marguerite again after the casino scene.

The film moves the setting of the story to 1920s Paris, and includes many lavish Art Deco sets, including that of Marguerite's apartment. Natacha Rambova, who would later become Valentino's second wife, was the movie's art director.

Cast[edit]

Preservation[edit]

The film has survived and has been made available to the public on DVD and VHS by various film distributors and independent dealers. It is presented as a bonus on the DVD copy of the 1936 version Camille with Greta Garbo.

References[edit]

External links[edit]