Desire (1936)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance, Crime  |  11 April 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,253 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?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. 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 »


Music by Friedrich Hollaender
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Written for the movie and possibly used instrumentally
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 .

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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