6.5/10
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Desire Under the Elms (1958)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 6 May 1958 (Japan)
Desperation and secret passions on a family farm lead to tragedy.

Director:

Delbert Mann

Writers:

Irwin Shaw (screenplay), Eugene O'Neill (play)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sophia Loren ... Anna / Wife-Ephraim's stepmother
Anthony Perkins ... Eben / Ephraim's youngest son
Burl Ives ... Ephraim / Husband
Frank Overton ... Simeon / Son
Pernell Roberts ... Peter / Son
Rebecca Welles Rebecca Welles ... Lucinda Cabot (as Rebecca Wells)
Jean Willes ... Florence Cabot
Anne Seymour ... Eben's Mother
Roy Fant Roy Fant ... Fiddler
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Storyline

Ephraim Cabot is an old man of amazing vitality who loves his New England farm with a greedy passion. Hating him, and sharing his greed, are the sons of two wives Cabot has overworked into early graves. Most bitter is Eben, whose mother had owned most of the farm, and who feels who should be sole heir. When the old man brings home a new wife, Anna, she becomes a fierce contender to inherit the farm. Two of the sons leave when Eben gives them the fare in return for their shares of the farm. Meanwhile, Anna tries to cause some sparks by rubbing up against Eben. Written by Ray Hamel <hamel@primate.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 May 1958 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Desire Under the Elms" by Eugene O'Neill opened at the Greenwich Village Theatre on November 11, 1924 and ran for 420 performances which including using the Earl Carroll Theatre, George M. Cohan's Theatre and Daly's 63rd Street Theatre. The play was revived in 2009. See more »

Goofs

Eben as a child had brown hair, blue eyes and prominent jug ears. Eben as an adult has black hair, brown eyes and normal-sized ears. See more »

Quotes

Eben: I don't like pretending that what's mine is his. I've been doing that all my life.
See more »


Soundtracks

Oh Susannah
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung, with modified lyrics, by Simeon, Peter, Lucinda and Florence
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stagey provincial US drama tries for Greek tragedy: Perkins superb
21 June 2009 | by rowmorgSee all my reviews

If you imagine yourself in a 1950s New York theatre surrounded by American anti-Communists wearing narrow ties and wanting to be cultured, you'll be able to connect with this wooden, would-be Greek tragedy. If not, don't go there, and get on board with TV's the Cartwrights, who seem to inhabit identical territory and period because they were performing almost simultaneously for an audience thousands of times bigger. It's worth watching for Antony Perkins, who is superbly mixed-up as an anti-authoritarian rebel determined to secure ownership of the family farm, but driven a bit strange by anxiety, paternal neglect and the early death of his mother. See him exit his lover's garden gate, pirouetting as he goes; or spinning in place before rising from his bed. It's so graceful you barely notice. He's like an 11 year-old, changing his mind every five minutes, madly self-conflicted as a result of his irresistible lust for the maid, sorry, his father's third wife. Sophia Loren is powerful in this picture, if you can follow her English. She really occupies her part and fills her space. The passion between her and Perkins would be almost believable, if it weren't expounded in this stagey setting, with neither Loren nor Perkins exposing any skin, which just adds to the sense of attending a school play. Actually, the basic material of Desire Under The Elms is purely adult, but somehow this production renders it about as sinful as Agatha Christie.


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