Film told in flashbacks of an older man's obsession for a woman who can belong to no-one but can frustrate everyone. The backdrop is SternbergÍs surreal and fantastic Carnaval in Spain. In ... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Edward Everett Horton
Bijou, a saloon singer with a reputation for inciting brouhahas, is one of several deportees from a south Pacific island to arrive at another U.S. protectorate, Boni Komba. She becomes very... See full summary »
Country orphan Lily goes to Berlin to stay with her tippling aunt, and soon meets Richard, handsome sculptor across the street. Persuaded half-reluctantly to pose for Richard, her physical ... See full summary »
On the eve of World War II (1939) English officer Ralph Denistoun is in Nazi Germany on an espionage mission to recover a poison gas formula from Prof. Krosigk. He is helped by Lydia and ... See full summary »
Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't... See full summary »
Madeleine steals a string of pearls in Paris and uses US engineer Tom, who is driving on his vacation to Spain, to get the pearls out of France, but getting the pearls, back from him proves to be difficult without falling in love. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
John Gilbert was initially cast as Carlos Margoli. Promised to be his comeback role after a string of flops, he filmed a few Technicolor costume tests with Marlene Dietrich (whom he was dating at the time). He had a heart attack in his dressing room only days before shooting started and was immediately replaced by John Halliday. A few days after his abrupt replacement, Gilbert died of alcohol-induced heart failure. Peggy Stallings' "Flesh and Fantasy" states that Gilbert and Dietrich were living together when she tried to use her influence to have him cast opposite her in the film. She withdrew her support when the actor renewed his friendship with former fiancée Greta Garbo. After this, Dietrich renewed her relationship with Gary Cooper, who got the part. Gilbert's fatal heart attack occurred on the same day Cooper's casting was officially announced by Paramount. See more »
The first part will puzzle Borzage's fans because it's not his usual style:it's a comedy and the fans of "little man what now?" "no greater glory" or "lucky star" may not get something out of it.Not that Borzage had not broached comedy before:one of his first talkies was "they had to see Paris" ,a sometimes ponderous satire of American naiveté in France,a country Borzage particularly loved (see "Seventh heaven" or "hearts divided" .
"Desire" begins in France with a nice shot of "les Toits Sous Le Ciel De Paris".The scenes between the jeweler and the shrink are sheer genius and have inspired since many screenwriters.Gary Cooper as the naive (not so naive anyway) American and Marlene Dietrich as the elegant glamor false countess make an ideal pairing:he is hot,joyful,singing and she is cold ,remote,suave and there is a special chemistry between them (there are other ladies with whom Cooper was particularly brilliant:two good examples are found in "unconquered" with Paulette Godard and "cloak and dagger" with Lili Palmer,another German actress ) This is also the movie where you 'll find the longest honk in the history of cinema.The only movie where they're talking international politics without being political.Towards the end ,the movie almost turns dramatic ,notably when aunt Olga tells Dietrich about love which is more valuable when it remains impossible.
This is not among my favorite Borzage (considering " three comrades" "mortal storm" and "strange cargo" were still to come) but it's really much fun to watch and it is to be recommended .
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?