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Desert Hearts (1985)

R | | Drama, Romance | 7 March 1986 (USA)
Trailer
2:03 | Trailer
A woman on the precipice of divorce becomes drawn to a ranchowner's daughter.

Director:

Donna Deitch

Writers:

Jane Rule (novel), Natalie Cooper
Reviews
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Shaver ... Vivian Bell
Patricia Charbonneau ... Cay Rivvers
Audra Lindley ... Frances Parker
Andra Akers Andra Akers ... Silver
Gwen Welles ... Gwen
Dean Butler ... Darrell
James Staley ... Art Warner
Katie La Bourdette Katie La Bourdette ... Lucille
Alex McArthur ... Walter
Tyler Tyhurst Tyler Tyhurst ... Buck
Denise Crosby ... Pat
Antony Ponzini ... Joe
Brenda Beck Brenda Beck ... Joyce
Sam Minsky Sam Minsky ... Best Man
Patricia Frazier Patricia Frazier ... Change Girl
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Storyline

It is 1950s Nevada, and Professor Vivian Bell arrives to get a divorce. She's unsatisfied with her marriage, and feels out of place at the ranch she stays on, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Cay Rivers, an open and self-assured lesbian, and the ranchowner's daughter. The emotions released by their developing intimacy, and Vivian's insecurities about her feelings towards Cay, are played out against a backdrop of rocky landscapes and country and western songs. Written by Neil Lewis <njl@cix.compulink.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In a city where fortunes are made and dreams are shattered, she gambled on a different kind of love. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Media hora más contigo See more »

Filming Locations:

Reno, Nevada, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,492,088

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,492,088
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The $350,000 budget for the film was raised independently with limited partnerships. See more »

Goofs

Though the movie is set in 1959 the markings on the center line of the highway are yellow. Such lines were white until 1971 when the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices mandated a switch to yellow. See more »

Quotes

Vivian: [to Cay] I've never felt this way before.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The US DVD release is 5 minutes shorter than the theatrical version (91 as opposed to 96 minutes). The most noticeable cut is in the sex scene which is slightly briefer than the original. See more »


Soundtracks

Be Bop a Lula
Written by Gene Vincent, Donald Graves and Tex Davis
Performed by Gene Vincent
Courtesy of Capitol Records
See more »

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User Reviews

thank you, Donna Deitch
14 February 2000 | by nun of the aboveSee all my reviews

"Desert Hearts" makes me feel all warm and romantic whenever I think about it, and this I attribute mostly to director Deitch. Credit is also due to screenwriter Natalie Cooper for making sense of Jane Rule's molasses-thick quagmire of a novel, and to a super cast of supporting players. Alex McArthur is James-Dean-cute in his fresh and much welcome film debut as Cay's charmingly sensitive brother Walter. Audra Lindley is great as Cay's dear gruff mom Frances, and Andra Akers, new to me, purrs and scintillates as Silver. The soundtrack is one-of-a-kind wonderful with Patsy Cline, Ella Fitzgerald and on and on. I can't tell you how many times I saw "Desert Hearts" in a theater but for months after, a certain song (or a lone train whistle) would evoke sweet haunting memories...

As for Cay and Vivian, Patricia Charbonneau and Helen Shaver portray two sympathetic and instantly familiar female characters, but I've gotta give this to Donna, too. Why? Because this is the only production in which Shaver and Charbonneau (sounds good when you say 'em together!) rise above their usual below-average efforts. (I've seen enough of their film and TV work to make an admittedly personal judgment.) My gut feeling is that Deitch created a safe environment of honesty and acceptance, and encouraged and nurtured the heck out of her allegedly straight stars. In return they offered her an intimate duet of performances that, like the sleek sexy tailfins on Cay's Buick convertible, gave us a classic.


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