Old-Fashioned Camille to Sin and Die Again – By Boyd Lewis (Oakland Tribune, 1932)

  • Oakland Tribune, Volume 117, Number 108, 16 October 1932
  • Old-Fashioned Camille to Sin and Die Again
  • Lillian Gish. Raymond Hackett, Red Divans in Dumas’ Revival for Blase N. Y.
  • By BOYD LEWIS United Press Staff Correspondent

NEW HAVEN. Conn., Oct. 13. – Delos A. Chappell, wealthy Denver business man who revived Dumas’ “Camille” for the Central City. Colo., Opera House, looked forward today to a Broadway opening despite the snickers with which New Haven greeted its Eastern premier last night. “I am hoping that New York will take Its ‘Camille’ straight,” he told the United Press. “I believe it should be taken not merely as a quaint revival of an outmoded play, but at its face value as a great work of art.”

The Denver millionaire has surrounded Lillian Gish, Raymond Hackett and the other members of the cast with rich trappings, including a priceless music box, ancient red divans, frail French chairs, and a massive grand piano that was carried to Colorado in a covered wagon.

Laura Gilpin (1891-1979); [Camille–Gish, Lillian, and Raymond Hackett] [Made at Chappell Home, Denver]; 1932; Gelatin silver print; Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Ft Worth, Texas; Bequest of the Artist; P1979.140.176

DRAMA EXPERTS THERE.

An audience which included Professor William Lyon Phelps and Professor George Pierce Baker, head of the Yale drama school, sighed audibly as the players enacted their roles with the stilted formality of the play’s period behind old-fashioned bucket -type footlights. Miss Gish’s Dresden-China frailty and studied languor may have endowed Camille with too sweet an innocent a manner for New Haven’s “straight” consumptlon, but this Chappell believes comes from an improper understanding of what sin was in Camille’s day.

Lillian Gish as Camille

SIN COMPARED.

“Sinning. In those days, was not our good old American sinning, the producer said. “Dumas’ Camille was patterned after a girl who was born in the country, brought up in a convent and then muttered from one nobleman to another. Miss Gish’s delicate air of innocence is entirely in keeping with the character.”

And the same applies to Raymond Hackett as Armand. If his postures and speeches seem too stilted for our modern times, it must be remembered that he is acting the role in its original manner.”

The play bill announces that the production is done “in the manner of 1878.”

Camille Cast with R.E. Jones and Lillian Gish in Chappel Garden by Laura Gilpin Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas 1932

Back to Lillian Gish Home page