An international scholarly online history journal on First and Second Empire subjects: articles, bibliographies, book reviews, in english and in french


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  •  DÉSIRÉE, by Henry Koster - 1954


 Country : USA

 Medium : Scope-color

 Duration : 106'

 Video : C.B.S / Fox Vidéo - 1990

 Production : Julian Blaunstein / Twenteeth Century-Fox

 Scenario : Daniel Taradash

 Screenplay : Daniel Taradash

 Music : Alex North

 Director of photography : Milton Krasner

 Plot : From the time of her meeting with Joseph Bonaparte in Marseilles up until her accession to the Swedish throne, the destiny of Désirée Clary was constantly intermingled with those of her lover Napoléon and her husband Bernadotte. Continually forced to make a choice between the two men of her life, Désirée never quite managed it. Most of all, she never managed to reconcile their two characters, characters which in the end were much more similar than they perhaps appeared.

 Cast : Marlon Brando (Napoleon) ; Jean Simmons (Désirée Clary) ; Michael Rennie (Bernadotte) ; Merle Oberon (Josephine) ; Elizabeth Sellars ; Evelyn Varden ; John Hoyt

 Extract : « Bonaparte. - I want my family to be well established. Joseph, particularly. The rest must wait until the victorious culmination of my campaign in Italy.
Désirée. - And you think you can do with people precisely what you want ? That life is as you say it is ?
Bonaparte. - Have you ever heard of a thing called destiny, Désirée ? »

 Review : During the 50's, it was the policy of Twentieth Century Fox to put the cinema stars of the day in great historical epics. Désirée is the product of such a policy but it unfortunately does not live up to the other masterpieces of the period, notably The Cicero Affair and Cleopatra. That being said, director Koster does manage to hold the tension for more than 90 minutes, something which Sacha Guitry did not manage fifteen years earlier.



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