La Bohème (1926)

93 mins | Melodrama, Romance | 24 February 1926

Director:

King Vidor

Writer:

Fred De Gresac

Producer:

Irving Thalberg

Cinematographer:

Hendrik Sartov

Editor:

Hugh Wynn

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Title cards introduce the location as “Paris--Mother of the Arts,” and “Bohemia--the Latin Quarter--where young talent suffers and starves...and waits for fame....”
       The 15 Aug 1925 Moving Picture World mentioned that Edmund Goulding adapted La Bohème to the screen, but he is not listed in credits. The film was star Lillian Gish’s first project for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
       The 5 Sep 1925 Motion Picture News noted that the production had just gone into rehearsals. Filming began within the next two weeks, according to the 19 Sep 1925 Motion Picture News. Three months later, the 26 Dec 1925 Moving Picture World announced that Lillian Gish was completing work on La Bohème.
       Working as an “extra girl” on La Bohème, writer Margaret Reid presented an inside look at the film in the Feb 1926 Picture-Play. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had recently signed Lillian Gish to an $8,000-a-week contract, which included a banner over the Culver City, CA, studio’s entrance proclaiming “M.G.M. signs Lillian Gish.” An “elaborate dressing-room suite” was built for her, and she was given considerable control over the production, including the use of her own cameraman, Hendrik Sartov. A disciple of director D. W. Griffith, Gish demanded long, detailed rehearsals; for two weeks the cast worked in pantomime in a secluded part of the studio, before cameras rolled. Reid was an extra in two scenes: the municipal pawnshop where “Mimi” sold her clothes, and the elaborate picnic in the woods of Ville-d’Avray, which was shot on location in Arcadia, CA, a town northeast of Los Angeles. She was also present during the scenes when Mimi, pale and ... More Less

Title cards introduce the location as “Paris--Mother of the Arts,” and “Bohemia--the Latin Quarter--where young talent suffers and starves...and waits for fame....”
       The 15 Aug 1925 Moving Picture World mentioned that Edmund Goulding adapted La Bohème to the screen, but he is not listed in credits. The film was star Lillian Gish’s first project for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
       The 5 Sep 1925 Motion Picture News noted that the production had just gone into rehearsals. Filming began within the next two weeks, according to the 19 Sep 1925 Motion Picture News. Three months later, the 26 Dec 1925 Moving Picture World announced that Lillian Gish was completing work on La Bohème.
       Working as an “extra girl” on La Bohème, writer Margaret Reid presented an inside look at the film in the Feb 1926 Picture-Play. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had recently signed Lillian Gish to an $8,000-a-week contract, which included a banner over the Culver City, CA, studio’s entrance proclaiming “M.G.M. signs Lillian Gish.” An “elaborate dressing-room suite” was built for her, and she was given considerable control over the production, including the use of her own cameraman, Hendrik Sartov. A disciple of director D. W. Griffith, Gish demanded long, detailed rehearsals; for two weeks the cast worked in pantomime in a secluded part of the studio, before cameras rolled. Reid was an extra in two scenes: the municipal pawnshop where “Mimi” sold her clothes, and the elaborate picnic in the woods of Ville-d’Avray, which was shot on location in Arcadia, CA, a town northeast of Los Angeles. She was also present during the scenes when Mimi, pale and tubercular, struggled across Paris to return to “Rodolphe.” According to Reid, Gish’s apron had been personally designed for her by Romain de Tirtoff-Erté, the Russian-born French artist and fashion designer often credited as the inspiration for the “Art Deco” style of the 1920s. Reid also mentioned that there were two “little sisters” in the cast: Catherine Vidor, playing “Louise” in her first film role, was the director’s younger sibling, and uncredited extra Loro Bara was the younger sister of actress Theda Bara.
       The 27 Feb 1926 Motion Picture News announced that La Bohème premiered on Broadway at the Embassy Theatre in New York City on 24 Feb 1926, and would begin its theatrical run there.
       La Bohème was voted one of the year’s “Top Best” films of 1926, according to the 7 Feb 1930 FD.
       For information on other films based on the Henri Murger story, as well as the Giacomo Puccini opera based on it, please consult the entry for the 1938 Cantabria production of La vida bohemia, directed by Josef Berne and starring Rosita Diaz and Gilbert Roland. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
4 Sep 1925
p. 7.
Film Daily
13 Seo 1925
p. 11.
Film Daily
25 Oct 1925
p. 1.
Film Daily
2 Dec 1925
p. 4.
Film Daily
7 Mar 1926
p. 8.
Film Daily
7 Feb 1930
p. 8.
Film Daily
9 Feb 1926
p. 2.
Life
8 Apr 1926
p. 32.
Motion Picture News
5 Sep 1925
p. 1137.
Motion Picture News
19 Sep 1925
p. 1355.
Motion Picture News
29 Aug 1925
p. 1035.
Motion Picture News
27 Feb 1926
p. 993.
Motion Picture News
13 Mar 1926
p. 1169.
Moving Picture World
15 Aug 1925
p. 758, 764.
Moving Picture World
26 Dec 1925
p. 758.
New York Times
25 Feb 1926
p. 26.
Photoplay
May 1926
p. 48.
Picture-Play
Feb 1926
p. 52-55, 100.
Variety
3 Mar 1926
p. 34.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
King Vidor's Production
A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Picture
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Settings
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Scènes de la vie de Bohème by Henri Murger in Le Corsair (Paris, 1847--1849).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
La Boheme
Release Date:
24 February 1926
Premiere Information:
New York premiere and opening: 24 February 1926
Production Date:
September--late December 1925
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 August 1926
Copyright Number:
LP23076
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in feet):
8,781
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1830, Paris’s Latin Quarter is called Bohemia. Landlord Bernard visits his tenement on the first of the month, demanding payment from renters. In one apartment, four young starving artists—Rodolphe the playwright, Schaunard the songwriter, Marcel the painter, and Colline the novelist—combine their money to keep themselves from being evicted. However, in the garret next door, Mimi, an orphaned seamstress, is unable to pay her rent despite a trip to the Mont de Piété municipal pawnshop. When she asks to warm her hands from the wintery cold, Rodolphe invites her into his apartment, and is struck by her fragile beauty and steely determination. He and his group of bohemian friends, including Marcel’s girl friend Musette, invite Mimi to join their circle. In the spring, the friends hire a cab to visit the forest of Ville-d’Avray for a picnic. There, Mimi and Rodolphe confess their love. Rodolphe ekes out a meager existence writing for Cat and Dog Fanciers’ Journal, while feverishly working on a play inspired by Mimi. When the magazine publisher refuses to continue Rodolphe’s stories, Mimi, who delivers the manuscripts, keeps the news from her lover and secretly sews at night to support them both. Her main patron is Vicomte Paul d’Aulnay, an aristocratic fop who hires Mimi to embroider handkerchiefs and collars in order to maintain her interest. She induces Paul to show Rodolphe’s play to a theater manager, but he insists that she accompany him to a ballet. Rodolphe accuses her of infidelity, and Mimi, crushed by his betrayal of their love, disappears into the slums of Paris. Thanks to Mimi’s intercession, the theater manager turns Rodolphe’s play into a ... +


In 1830, Paris’s Latin Quarter is called Bohemia. Landlord Bernard visits his tenement on the first of the month, demanding payment from renters. In one apartment, four young starving artists—Rodolphe the playwright, Schaunard the songwriter, Marcel the painter, and Colline the novelist—combine their money to keep themselves from being evicted. However, in the garret next door, Mimi, an orphaned seamstress, is unable to pay her rent despite a trip to the Mont de Piété municipal pawnshop. When she asks to warm her hands from the wintery cold, Rodolphe invites her into his apartment, and is struck by her fragile beauty and steely determination. He and his group of bohemian friends, including Marcel’s girl friend Musette, invite Mimi to join their circle. In the spring, the friends hire a cab to visit the forest of Ville-d’Avray for a picnic. There, Mimi and Rodolphe confess their love. Rodolphe ekes out a meager existence writing for Cat and Dog Fanciers’ Journal, while feverishly working on a play inspired by Mimi. When the magazine publisher refuses to continue Rodolphe’s stories, Mimi, who delivers the manuscripts, keeps the news from her lover and secretly sews at night to support them both. Her main patron is Vicomte Paul d’Aulnay, an aristocratic fop who hires Mimi to embroider handkerchiefs and collars in order to maintain her interest. She induces Paul to show Rodolphe’s play to a theater manager, but he insists that she accompany him to a ballet. Rodolphe accuses her of infidelity, and Mimi, crushed by his betrayal of their love, disappears into the slums of Paris. Thanks to Mimi’s intercession, the theater manager turns Rodolphe’s play into a success, but Rodolphe’s sudden fame feels empty without her. Mimi eventually returns, desperately ill with tuberculosis, and dies in Rodolphe’s loving arms. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.