Desire (1936 film)

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Desire (film).jpg
Theatrical French Poster
Directed by Frank Borzage
Produced by Frank Borzage
Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Screenplay:
Edwin Justus Mayer
Waldemar Young
Samuel Hoffenstein
Hans Székely
Robert A. Stemmle
Starring Marlene Dietrich
Gary Cooper
John Halliday
William Frawley
Music by Frederick Hollander
Cinematography Charles Lang
Victor Milner
Edited by William Shea
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • April 11, 1936 (1936-04-11) (U.S.)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Desire is an American romantic drama film released in 1936 and directed by Frank Borzage. It was produced by Borzage and Ernst Lubitsch.[1] The picture is a remake of the 1933 German film Happy Days in Aranjuez. The screenplay was written by Samuel Hoffenstein, Edwin Justus Mayer and Waldemar Young based on the play Die Schönen Tage von Aranjuez by Hans Székely and Robert A. Stemmle. The music score was composed by Frederick Hollander and the cinematography was shot by Charles Lang and Victor Milner. Marlene Dietrich's wardrobe was designed by Travis Banton.

The film stars Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and John Halliday, William Frawley, Akim Tamiroff,and Alan Mowbray.


The film tells of Madeleine de Beaupre (Marlene Dietrich), a devious jewel thief. After stealing a string of pearls from jeweler Aristide Duval (Ernest Cossart), de Beaupre flees Paris. She leaves a trail that implicates psychiatrist Dr. Pauquet (Alan Mowbray). As she heads for the Spanish border, she nearly runs into Tom Bradley (Gary Cooper), an American auto mechanic vacationing in Europe. De Beaupre spots Bradley again at the Spanish customs. She's worried that the pearls will be found in her handbag, so she slips them into Bradley's pocket. After they make their way through inspection, de Beaupre flirts with Bradley in an attempt to get the pearls back. Bradley is too shy to respond so she gets his attention by trying to "repair" the engine of her car with a hammer. De Beaupre lures Bradley to the San Sebastian estate of her partner in crime, Carlos Margoli (John Halliday). It doesn't take long for Tom to figure out what de Beaupre and Margoli are up to. Yet, Bradley also knows that he's fallen for de Beaupre, and he's willing to go along as long as he's near her.



John Gilbert was initially cast as Carlos Margoli, which was to be his comeback role. He had a heart attack in his dressing room a few weeks later and was immediately replaced by John Halliday. A few days later, Gilbert died of alcohol-induced heart failure. Some of the scenes in the film were directed by Ernst Lubitsch whilst Frank Borzage was fulfilling a prior commitment at Warner Bros. The film was shot at Paramount Studios and at the Iverson Movie Ranch, Chatsworth, California and, unusual for its time, on location in France and Spain.

Of the film, Dietrich said:

The only film I need not be ashamed of is Desire, directed by Frank Borzage and based on a script by Ernst Lubitsch. I found Gary Cooper a little less monosyllabic than before. He was finally rid of Lupe Vélez, who had been at his heels constantly throughout the shooting of Morocco.


Desire became a good film and, moreover, also proved to be a box-office success. The script was excellent, the roles superb - one more proof that these elements are more important than actors.[2]


The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


  1. ^ Desire on IMDb.
  2. ^ Marlene Dietrich web site.
  3. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-18. 

External links[edit]