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Desire (1936)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance, Crime  |  11 April 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,237 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 9 critic

An automotive engineer bound for a holiday in Spain meets a sultry jewel thief.



(play) (as Hans Szekely) , (play) (as R.A. Stemmle) , 5 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Tom Bradley
Carlos Margoli
Mr. Gibson
Ernest Cossart ...
Aristide Duvalle
Avilia, Police Official
Dr. Maurice Pauquet (mistakenly listed in end credits as Dr. Edouard Pauquet)
Zeffie Tilbury ...
Aunt Olga
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George MacQuarrie ...
Clerk With Gun (scenes deleted)
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Customs Official (scenes deleted)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


LOVE WAS HER PRECIOUS LOOT! (original print ad - all caps)


Comedy | Romance | Crime


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

11 April 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pearl Necklace  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


Aristide Duvalle: Cigarette?
Madeleine de Beaupre: No, thank you, I don't smoke.
Aristide Duvalle: Nor do I. A barbaric habit. One fills one's lungs and other people's eyes with smoke.
See more »


Referenced in Ed Wood (1994) See more »


I'm Driving a Bronson 8
Music from "Cielito Lindo", written by Quirino Mendoza
Sung a cappella by Gary Cooper several times
See more »

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User Reviews

Pearls before fine (people).
7 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

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 .

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