6.5/10
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20 user 4 critic

As You Desire Me (1932)

Approved | | Drama | 28 May 1932 (USA)
Budapest bar entertainer Zara is a discontented alcoholic who is pursued by many men but lives with novelist Carl Salter. A strange man (Tony) shows up on Salter's estate claiming that Zara... See full summary »

Director:

George Fitzmaurice (uncredited)

Writers:

Luigi Pirandello (play), Gene Markey (adaptation)
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Greta Garbo ... Zara aka Maria
Melvyn Douglas ... Count Bruno Varelli
Erich von Stroheim ... Carl Salter
Owen Moore ... Tony Boffie
Hedda Hopper ... Ines Montari
Rafaela Ottiano ... Lena
Warburton Gamble Warburton Gamble ... Baron
Albert Conti Albert Conti ... Captain
William Ricciardi ... Pietro
Roland Varno ... Albert
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Storyline

Budapest bar entertainer Zara is a discontented alcoholic who is pursued by many men but lives with novelist Carl Salter. A strange man (Tony) shows up on Salter's estate claiming that Zara is actually Maria, the wife of his close friend Bruno. Maria, Tony claims, had her memory destroyed during a World War I invasion ten years ago. Zara doesn't remember but leaves with Tony to Salter's dismay. Bruno, now an officer in the Italian army, tries to coax Maria's memory back on his large estate. No one is really sure if Zara is Maria, and when Salter shows up with a mental case that he claims is the real Maria, everyone on Bruno's estate is desperately searching for the truth. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You don't need us to tell you not to miss this film. You couldn't be kept away!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 May 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wie du mich wünschst See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$460,733 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$705,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$658,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to cast member Hedda Hopper, filming of some scenes ran longer than expected because Erich von Stroheim would have trouble remembering his lines. See more »

Goofs

Garbo puts on a dress in which she was painted ten years before. But the dress is in the style of the present. See more »

Quotes

Zara: And what is it that you love about me - my mind?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hedda Hopper's Hollywood (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Funiculi Funicula
(uncredited)
Written by Luigi Denza
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worth a look as a film, not as Luigi Pirandello's play adaptation
2 October 2005 | by marcin_kukuczkaSee all my reviews

AS YOU DESIRE ME (1932) directed by George Fitzmaurice (the director of another Garbo movie, MATA HARI from 1931) is the only film with Greta Garbo in which she portrays a character derived from a play by a Sicilian playwright, Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936). The story is very interesting and involving - a Budapest night club performer, Zara, who has lost her long term memory is clamored by an unknown visitor to be Maria, the wife of an Italian baron named Bruno. Although, this does not convince her particularly, she travels to Italy, to Bruno's estate where she meets the baron and finds true love in him. As a result, Zara/Maria finds a solution to her hesitations - never to leave him and to become so "as he desires her" because of his love. The film, however, is not executed very well. Except for some truly memorable moments and some of the best cast, there is nothing unforgettable here - the cinematography is not particularly outstanding, there are some direction shortcomings. Nevertheless, it is worth a look, especially for Garbo fans.

AS YOU DESIRE ME is the only film in which Greta Garbo appears in a blonde wig (fortunately not throughout the entire film but in its first 35 minutes). Although she is not the Garbo that we find in CAMILLE, GRAND HOTEL or CONQUEST, she ALSO gives a wonderful performance throughout. Therefore, it may be said that this film is also full of magic and incredible atmosphere that most Garbo's films can boast up till our times, rich in computer filming and automatic visual effects. SPOILERS: However, other performances are not great, some are even so weak that the value of the film is deduced. Melvyn Douglas, who later appeared in two other films with Garbo (in the wonderfully funny NINOTCHKA by Lubitsch and the infamous boring TWO FACED WOMAN by Cukor), is not that memorable in the role of Bruno in AS YOU DESIRE ME. Consequently, Garbo's great performance is partly lost. Others are also quite pale, including Owen Moore who plays Tony. But the ultimate failure is the choice of Erich Von Stroheim. Although he was a very good director (think about his GREED), what he does in the role of cruel Salter, is a distortion of acting. He behaves as if he did not know how to play! There is no power even in the "controversial" prolonged upside down shot of Salter desirously kissing Zara. In this case, I could not stand him in the scenes with Garbo because the contrast of their performances was so huge that it is not easy to watch the scenes without burning nerves in oneself. Hopefully, however, there are not many shots of Von Stroheim and Garbo. I have read in TCM article that this was the time when Von Stroheim had the most serious problems with MGM. Nevertheless, he should have done a better job. But let us mention some strong points instead of talking about one actor who highly spoiled the film.

AS YOU DESIRE ME is memorable thanks to a lovely scene in the Italian inn when Garbo and Douglas spend their first night of love. Delicate Italian music is played in the background while they talk. Consider the cigarettes... doesn't it remind you of the silent masterpiece FLESH AND THE DEVIL (1926)? Of course, Douglas is not Gilbert and there is not such a chemistry between the stars here as it was in Clarence Brown's silent masterpiece. Nevertheless, the scene is very beautiful with delicate lighting and really nice performances. And the final moment - stereotypical sentence "I love you" is in no way kitschy but rather sounds good and does serve its purpose even nowadays (to move the audiences).

Although AS YOU DESIRE ME was clamored to be Garbo's last film (she left for Sweden in summer 1932), it is a nice movie. But, it is important to state that it is accurate only as a film, not as an adaptation of Pirandello's play. Pity that the play has not been adapted onto screen once again in the 1950s, 1960s or later. Why is Fitzmaurice's movie worth a look? MOSTLY thanks to GRETA GARBO. What an unforgettable actress she was!


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