Set in 1830 in the Latin Quarter of Paris, where a circle of poor artists live together. Playwright Rodolphe falls in love with neighbour Mimi, a seamstress in even more dire financial circumstances. He watches jealously as the wealthy viscount Paul vies for her affection. During an Easter picnic, Rodolphe and Mimi confess their love of each other and, inspired by Mimi, Rodolphe finally writes a play. Meanwhile, Mimi has kept from him the fact that the publisher who has provided his bread and butter is no longer buying his articles. Instead, despite being ill, she is working nights to earn money for both of them. She asks the viscount to help get Rodolphe’s play into a theatre … An opera reimagined as a silent melodrama that takes the etymology of the word (“drama with music”) literally – La Bohème doesn’t miss a single opportunity for its protagonists to sing, play music, or dance. Right up to the tragic cadenza, with Lillian Gish embodying Mimi’s passion, a virtuoso turn that the actress researched at a tuberculosis clinic. In 1953, King Vidor said, “The movies have never known a more dedicated artist than Lillian Gish”.
by King Vidor
with Lillian Gish, John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, George Hassell, Roy D’Arcy, Edward Everett Horton, Karl Dane, Frank Currier, Mathilde Comont, Gino Corrado
USA 1926 English intertitles 93’ Black/White


  • Lillian Gish
  • John Gilbert
  • Renée Adorée
  • George Hassell
  • Roy D’Arcy
  • Edward Everett Horton
  • Karl Dane
  • Frank Currier
  • Mathilde Comont
  • Gino Corrado


Director King Vidor
Screenplay Fred De Gresac
Story Henri Murger Scènes de la vie de Bohème (1847–49)
Cinematography Hendrik Sartov
Editing Hugh Wynn
Art Director Cedric Gibbons, A. Arnold Gillespie
Costumes Romain de Tirtoff-Erté
Producer Irving Thalberg

Produced by

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew’s, Inc.) (King Vidor’s production)

Additional information

Print: 35mm print courtesy of the Packard Humanities Institute, Santa Clarita, CA

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020