Greta Garbo enjoyed one of her greatest triumphs in this glossy adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' oft-filmed romantic tragedy. Here, Garbo stars as Marguerite Gauthier, who is born into humble circumstances but in time becomes Dame aux Camille, one of the most glamorous courtesans in Paris. Camille is kept by the wealthy and powerful Baron de Varville (Henry Daniell), but after many years of earning a good living from her beauty without finding true love, Camille's heart is stolen by Armand (Robert Taylor), a handsome but slightly naive young man who doesn't know how she came by her fortune. Armand is just as attracted to Camille as she is to him, and she's prepared to give up the Baron and his stipend to be with Armand. However, Armand's father (Lionel Barrymore) begs Camille to turn away from his son, knowing her scandalous past could ruin his future. Realizing the painful wisdom of this, Camille rejects Armand, who continues to pursue her even as Camille contracts a potentially fatal case of tuberculosis. Remarkably, even though this was one of Garbo's greatest commercial and critical successes, she would make only three more films before her retirement in 1941; Camille, however, would be filmed several more times following this version (most memorably by elegant sexploitation auteur Radley Metzger in 1969's Camille 2000).
by Mark Deming synopsis