André Calmettes, Henri Pouctal

T. ing.: Camille; Sog.: dall’omonima pièce di Alexandre Dumas; Scen.: Henri Pouctal; Int.: Sarah Bernhardt (Marguerite Gauthier), Lou Tellegen (Armand Duval), Paul Capellani (Sadoul), Suzanne Seylor; Prod.: Le Film d’Art 35mm. L.: 335 m. D.: 16’ a 18 f/s.


T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

As Bernhardt’s first narrative film, La Dame aux camélias was released with much fanfare in Europe and America. Playing a role which she had famously adopted on the stage in 1881 (during her first tour to America), the film showcases many typical Bernhardt traits: large theatrical gestures, spiralling costume and movement based upon the motif of the arabesque, a signature “standing death”, the use of a younger and attractive male lead, and an implicit endorsement of French playwrights (here, famously, Alexandre Dumas fils). Marking a union of sorts between stage and screen, the film has been regarded as part of a nascent (and misdirected) effort to legitimate the film industry. While Bernhardt certainly drew the middle class to theatres, she was also a popular actress who experimented with new and developing media. La Dame aux camélias was a film which engaged with the spirit of Art Nouveau, galvanizing attention precisely because it was an object which challenged and changed the tempo, meaning, and duration of live theatrical performance.

Victoria Duckett

Copy From

Print restored in 1985 from a nitrate positive