IMDb > Désirée (1954)
Désirée
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Désirée (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.4/10   1,534 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Contact:
View company contact information for Désirée on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 February 1955 (Belgium) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
The rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more »
User Reviews:
Savor a bit of Swedish History See more (25 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Marlon Brando ... Napoleon Bonaparte

Jean Simmons ... Désirée Clary

Merle Oberon ... Empress Josephine

Michael Rennie ... Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte

Cameron Mitchell ... Joseph Bonaparte

Elizabeth Sellars ... Julie, Désirée's sister
Charlotte Austin ... Paulette Bonaparte
Cathleen Nesbitt ... Mme. Bonaparte
Evelyn Varden ... Marie
Isobel Elsom ... Mme. Clary, Désirée's mother

John Hoyt ... Talleyrand

Alan Napier ... Despreaux
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Stewart
Louis Borel ... Baron Morner (uncredited)
Sven Hugo Borg ... Aide (uncredited)
Peter Bourne ... Count Brahe (uncredited)
George Brand ... Servant (uncredited)
Harry Carter ... Coachman (uncredited)
Larry Crane ... Louis Bonaparte (uncredited)

Richard Deacon ... Etienne Clary (uncredited)
Florence Dublin ... Eliza Bonaparte (uncredited)
Edith Evanson ... Queen Hedwig (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Lady of the Court Holding Baby (uncredited)
Richard Garrick ... Count Regnaud (uncredited)
Chief Leonard George ... Pope Pius VII (uncredited)
Jack George ... Piano Teacher (uncredited)
Sam Gilman ... Fouche (uncredited)
A. Cameron Grant ... Montel (uncredited)

Carolyn Jones ... Mme. Tallien (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Josephine's Escort (uncredited)
Colin Kenny ... Gen. Becker (uncredited)
Marina Koshetz ... Singer (uncredited)
Nicolas Koster ... Oscar, Désirée's son (uncredited)
Kay E. Kuter ... Lackey (uncredited)
David Leonard ... Barras (uncredited)
Judy Lester ... Caroline Bonaparte (uncredited)
Jack Mather ... Sergeant (uncredited)
Lester Matthews ... Caulaincourt (uncredited)
Dorothy Neumann ... Queen Sofia (uncredited)
Siw Paulsson ... Princess Sofia (uncredited)
Joe Ploski ... Villager Holding Child (uncredited)
Violet Rensing ... Marie Louise (uncredited)
Gene Roth ... Von Essen (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Man at Chaumiers (uncredited)
Richard Van Cleemput ... Lucien Bonaparte (uncredited)
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Directed by
Henry Koster 
 
Writing credits
Annemarie Selinko (book)

Daniel Taradash 

Produced by
Julian Blaustein .... producer
 
Original Music by
Alex North 
 
Cinematography by
Milton R. Krasner 
 
Film Editing by
William Reynolds 
 
Art Direction by
Leland Fuller 
Lyle R. Wheeler 
 
Set Decoration by
Paul S. Fox 
Walter M. Scott 
 
Costume Design by
René Hubert 
Charles Le Maire 
 
Makeup Department
Ben Nye .... makeup artist
Helen Turpin .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Joseph C. Behm .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William Eckhardt .... assistant director
Jack Sonntag .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Alfred Bruzlin .... sound
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound
John Speak .... boom operator
Ray Bomba .... sound editor (uncredited)
Bob Weatherford .... sound editor (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Ray Kellogg .... special photographic effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Edward Cronjager .... location director of photography (uncredited)
Bobby Greene .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sam Benson .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Ed Wynigear .... wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Lyman Hallowell .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Lionel Newman .... conductor
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator
Alfred Newman .... composer: waltz (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Stephen Papich .... choreographer
Prudence Anderson .... assistant: Henry Koster (uncredited)
Thomas Browne Henry .... dialogue director (uncredited)
Eleanor Johnson .... assistant dance director (uncredited)
Carl C. Lengay .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Louis V. Pick .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Elizabeth Woodruff .... assistant: Henry Koster (uncredited)
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
110 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.55 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Montgomery Clift turned down the part of Napoleon.See more »
Quotes:
Napoleon Bonaparte:I want my family to be well established. Joseph, particularly. The rest must wait until the victorious culmination of my campaign in Italy.
Desiree Clary:And you think you can do with people precisely what you want? That life is as you say it is?
Napoleon Bonaparte:Have you ever heard of a thing called destiny, Désirée?
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

Audrey Hepburn---Was She Suppose to Play Desiree?
See more »
17 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Savor a bit of Swedish History, 6 September 2005
Author: theowinthrop from United States

I have commented before on the paucity of American films dealing with the history of Canada and Mexico (our next door neighbors). We are easily receptive to films made here or in the British Commonwealth about the history of England, and then we have a tendency to enjoy films about the history of France. But then it is spotty. Films about Germany deal with it's military history or the Nazis (how many Americans would sit through a film about Goethe or Schiller - a few years back a film about Beethoven appeared, and was not a box office favorite).

It gets weaker too when we edge to Scandanavia. Ask how many historic films deal with Sweden (which once was the dominant power in Eastern Europe) I can only recall two historical films made in America: "Queen Christina" and "Desiree". The former showed Greta Garbo (finally playing a Swedish person of importance) as the 17th Century ruler who abdicated in 1655. The latter dealt with French people surrounding one of the world's most fascinating men: Napoleon Bonaparte. But Napoleon was Marlon Brando, and the film followed the career of one of the women in Napoleon's life who ended up not in bed with him but with one of his rivals. Desiree Clary (Jean Simmons) had dated Napoleon when he was a young officer, but his career and ambitions took him away from her. However, she met a rival of Bonaparte, Jean Bernadotte. Bernadotte (who would eventually rise to be one of the Emperor's Marshalls, and a persistent critic, was sent into ambassadorial exile in 1809 to Sweden, taking his wife and son with him.

As French Ambassador to Stockholm, he ingratiated himself into the affections of the childless King of Sweden, as well as the people. In 1811, shortly before his death, the King of Sweden made Bernadotte his heir - and the Swedish public acclaimed the decision. It turned out to be very wise: Bernadotte had grown disgusted by Napoleon's continuous warfare, and once he became King of Sweden he joined with the Russians and Austrians and Prussians in working for the end of Napoleons wars. As a result, in 1815, the Congress of Vienna accepted Bernadotte's title as King, and even granted him territory (all of Norway) taken from Napoleon's faithful ally, Denmark. This forced union lasted until 1905 (it was peacefully settled). But the family of the Bernadottes still are the reigning family of Sweden.

The film is lopsided. Simmons plays her role well enough, but it is not really developed as an independent character. Her husband is played by Michael Rennie, and he does what he can to show his growing disenchantment with his rival. Brando is superb as Bonaparte - witness the scene where to satisfy his sisters who resent having to hold the train of their sister-in-law Josephine (Merle Oberon, in a touching and sad performance), gives them silly titles that they are so happy to get as awards for holding the train. But such scenes are rare. The film is not as static and dull as Sacha Guitry's 1955 film "Napoleon", but it has an improbable script. While I will note that Napoleon did more than anyone to spread the ideals of the French Revolution around Europe and the world, he never mouthed a statement that he sought to create a United States of Europe (as Brando, at the end of the film, tells Simmons). More likely he wanted a United States of Napoleon, though one where there was more opportunity for everyone to move upwardly than in the 18th Century courts that existed. It is a colorful film, and the performances are not bad (especially Brando and Oberon), but it ain't French history. But I'll give it a 6 for a brief window into Swedish history.

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