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Désirée (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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Désirée -- In Marseilles, France in 1794, Desiree Clary (Jean Simmons), a young millinery clerk, becomes infatuated with Napoleon Bonaparte (Marlon Brando), but winds up wedding Genaral Jean-Baptiste Berandotte (Michael Rennie), an aid to Napoleon who later joins the forces that bring about the Emperor's downfall.


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Release Date:
11 February 1955 (Belgium) See more »
The rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more »
User Reviews:
Lavish and historic fiction piece about Napoleon and his love interest Desiree See more (25 total) »


  (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)

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)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

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

Did You Know?

Although Marlon Brando didn't take his role seriously - despite every effort by director Henry Koster - "Desiree" outgrossed his other 1954 film, On the Waterfront (1954).See more »
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:


Audrey Hepburn---Was She Suppose to Play Desiree?
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Lavish and historic fiction piece about Napoleon and his love interest Desiree, 21 July 2010
Author: ma-cortes

The film is partially based on historic deeds but predominates the sentimental drama . It develops parallels lives between Napoleon and Desiree. The story starts in Marseilles 1794 , when Robespierre fall , Napoleon is detained but after is freed . Soon Napoleon is rising through the military ranks in the Grand Armee , winning the loyalty of the people . After the conquest of Tolon , Napoleon forms a Directory and in 18 Brumario executes a coup détat in Saint Cloud , being named first Consul (1799) by means of bayonets . He undergoes the Italian campaign and vanquishes Austrians in Marengo, later the Egypt campaign though is defeated in San Vicente , Trafalgar and Abukir (Egypt). In 1796 , he married Josefina Beauharmais, but she can't give him a child , he has to make some dynastic decision and begins to lose control. As proclaiming himself Emperor (1804) at Notre Dame in the presence of Pope Pio XII. As he marries Maria Luisa , daughter of Austrian Emperor . As he named his brothers and sisters as kings , princes and princesses , as Jose (Cameron Mitchell) who married Julia(Elizabeth Sellars), Desiree's sister, they were proclaimed kings of Spain. As the disaster of campaign of Rusia 1812 (Borodino) , then is formed a coalition between Prussians, Austrians and Russians that defeated him in Leipzig and is banished island of Elba . But he returned , 1815, with the¨ One hundred Days Empire¨ being ultimately vanquished in Waterloo . While Desiree ( Jean Simmons) married French General Jean Baptiste Bernadotte ( Michael Rennie)who was appointed French Ambassador to Stockholm . In 1811, shortly before his death, the King of Sweden without descendants named Bernadotte his heir and the people recognized as successor winning the loyalty of the Swedish, it resulted to be a great decision . One time became King of Sweden he united with other countries for the end of Napoleons wars , collaborating in the battle of Leipzig (1813) and Waterloo (1815). In 1815, the Congress of Vienna acclaimed Bernadotte's title as King, and even granted him lands including Norway taken from Napoleon's faithful ally , Denmark. This forced union lasted until 1905 when both countries were separated . Nowadays the family of the Bernadotte and Desiree still are reigning of Sweden.....This is a lavish production detailing the historic existence and tangled love life of Napoleon Bonaparte . A vivid , sentimental portrayal about the famed conqueror and his relationship to Desiree . It depicts life story of Napoleon through the eyes of Desiree from his days as General in the French Army to his exile on the island of Elba and Saint Elaine . Brando never wished to perform the General but owed 20th Century Fox a film and so reluctantly to play it . This is a romanticized historical epic with excessive soap opera , dealing with Napoleon and his lover , however some might find it too slow for their tastes . Spectacular achievement with its use of color , glamorous scenarios, montage and charismatic titular acting by Marlon Brando. But falls short of the classic 1927 silent movie by Abel Gance or 1955 adaptation also titled Napoleon by Sacha Guitry with Raymond Pellegrin and Orson Welles or recent TV rendition by Yves Simoneau with Christian Clavier and Gerard Depardieu .

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