All I Desire

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All I Desire
All I Desire FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Douglas Sirk
Produced by Ross Hunter
Written by Carol Ryrie Brink (novel)
Robert Blees
James Gunn
Gina Kaus
Starring Barbara Stanwyck
Richard Carlson
Lyle Bettger
Marcia Henderson
Lori Nelson
Maureen O'Sullivan
Cinematography Carl E. Guthrie
Edited by Milton Carruth
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • June 25, 1953 (1953-06-25) (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • July 3, 1953 (1953-07-03) (Los Angeles)
Running time
80 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.2 million (US)[2]

All I Desire is a 1953 American drama romance film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Carlson, Lyle Bettger, Marcia Henderson, Lori Nelson and Maureen O'Sullivan. It is based on Carol Ryrie Brink's 1951 novel Stopover.


Naomi Murdoch abandons her husband and children in Wisconsin, setting off to become an actress and also to flee from an aggressive former suitor, Dutch Heineman. She decides to return 10 years later at the invitation of daughter Lily, who is appearing in a high school play and about to graduate.

Lily is delighted, believing Naomi has become a great success on stage. But the townspeople are concerned about her notoriety. And her school principal husband Henry is unsure how he feels about Naomi being back, as is older daughter Joyce, still bitter about her mother's long abandonment.

At the school play, Dutch can't take his eyes off Naomi. A teacher, Sara Harper, now loves Henry but can tell he still has feelings for his long-absent wife.

Dutch turns up when Naomi goes for a horseback ride with Joyce and boyfriend Russ. Joyce and her boyfriend leave Naomi by the lake and Dutch come forward to embrace Naomi. Naomi refuses his advances and rides home alone. Henry and Naomi reconcile.

Later, Dutch signals that he wants Naomi to meet him at the lake. Naomi goes to tell Dutch that he must leave her alone because she is going to stay with Henry. Dutch says he has been too good to her and tries force himself on her; to fend him off, Naomi uses a riding crop, and struggles with him. During the struggle Dutch's rifle falls and Dutch is accidentally shot. Naomi's son Ted helps take Dutch to a doctor, even though he thinks his mother might have had a romantic rendezvous arranged with Dutch that day.

Naomi believes it would be better for all if she went away. Lily wants to go along, in order to become a famed actress like her mother, whereupon Naomi confesses that her career has actually been a failure. Henry discovers from Dutch's wounds and anger that Naomi wanted nothing more to do with him. He prevents Naomi from leaving, wanting to give their life together another try.


Production notes[edit]

The director, Douglas Sirk, originally shot a darker, sadder ending, but the producer, Ross Hunter, substituted a happier one [3]

Richard Long, who has a horseback-riding scene with Stanwyck, would thirteen years later play Stanwyck's eldest son in the TV western series The Big Valley (1966).


  1. ^ All I Desire at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  3. ^ The Barbara Stanwyck Collection, Universal Backlot Series, 2010

External links[edit]