6.4/10
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Désirée (1954)

The rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France.

Director:

Henry Koster
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
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 ... Minor Role
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Storyline

In Marseilles, France in 1794, Desiree Clary, a young millinery clerk, becomes infatuated with Napoleon Bonaparte, but winds up wedding Genaral Jean-Baptiste Berandotte, an aid to Napoleon who later joins the forces that bring about the Emperor's downfall. Josephine Beauharnais, a worldly courtesan marries Napoleon and becomes Empress of France, but is then cast aside by her spouse when she proves unable to produce an heir to the throne. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The life...the women...the conquests of Napoleon!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean Bernadotte was no one's first choice for Crown Prince of Sweden. A prince of Denmark had been brought to Sweden when the King's mind and body began to fail him, but he died only weeks after coming to Sweden from a stroke. The King's, Charles XIII's, grandnephew had been barred from succession because it was feared he would seek revenge on Napoleon, and his own children had been both stillborn. Jean was named as Crown Prince for his kindness to Swedish prisoners captured by him when still a Marshal of France. See more »

Goofs

Jean Bernadotte's name is mispronounced throughout the film. It is actually pronounced BER-NAH-DOH. See more »

Quotes

Desiree Clary: [shouting over an icy wind as they dock in Stockholm] I hope we get indoors soon, Jean-Baptiste! I've worn all my warmest underthings and I'm still freezing!
[Her husband raises his eyebrows, a bit shocked but obviously amused]
Desiree Clary: Don't worry, no one's going to pull up my skirts and look!
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Soundtracks

Désirée Waltz
(uncredited)
Composed By Alfred Newman
Orchestrated By Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

 
Brando's Napoleon is the only reason for watching
27 June 2019 | by bbmtwistSee all my reviews

Recently I viewed for the umpteenth time CONQUEST with Charles Boyer's brilliant Oscar-nominated performance as Napoleon. I have just seen DESIREE for the first time and am intrigued by Brando's take on the man. The make-up department has given him a Napoleonic nose bridge and he has supplied the rest. He plays N. as a moody, passionate, obsessed man, but plays him in a quiet, controlled manner. Only twice in the film does he lose his temper. This is a performance I will go back to and study. Brando's insight is as always stellar. His Napoleon believed so much in his "destiny," that he assumed the rest of the world would fall into place around that obsession. Fascinatnig to watch.

The film itself is a pretty, early CinemaScope epic with Oscar-nominated Art Direction and Costume Design. Jean Simmons does her very best to bring this woman to life, but as others here have observed, Desiree was a rather dull child, noted for her beauty, and little else. That her life was a Cinderella story (from milliner to Queen of Sweden) is of no doubt, but she never seemed to have deserved her good fortune. It is really Brando's film. He has 19 scenes and makes the most of every one.

If you are a Brando or Napoleon fan, do see it, but don't expect much from the story. It's pretty straight-forward with little drama (though the circumstances make for much drama if written properly).


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Swedish

Release Date:

11 February 1955 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Désirée See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,720,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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