6.4/10
2,361
30 user 15 critic

Désirée (1954)

The rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France.

Director:

Henry Koster
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Marlon Brando ... Napoleon Bonaparte
Jean Simmons ... Désirée Clary
Merle Oberon ... Empress Josephine
Michael Rennie ... Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte
Cameron Mitchell ... Joseph Bonaparte
Elizabeth Sellars ... Julie - Désirée's Sister
Charlotte Austin ... Paulette Bonaparte
Cathleen Nesbitt ... Mme. Bonaparte
Evelyn Varden ... Marie
Isobel Elsom ... Mme. Clary - Désirée's Mother
John Hoyt ... Talleyrand
Alan Napier ... Despreaux
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Stewart ... Minor Role
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Storyline

In Marseilles, France in 1794, Desiree Clary, a young millinery clerk, becomes infatuated with Napoleon Bonaparte, but winds up wedding Genaral Jean-Baptiste Berandotte, an aid to Napoleon who later joins the forces that bring about the Emperor's downfall. Josephine Beauharnais, a worldly courtesan marries Napoleon and becomes Empress of France, but is then cast aside by her spouse when she proves unable to produce an heir to the throne. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The life...the women...the conquests of Napoleon!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Swedish

Release Date:

11 February 1955 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Desirée See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,720,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Louis Jourdan was approached to play the French emperor. See more »

Goofs

Jean Bernadotte's name is mispronounced throughout the film. It is actually pronounced BER-NAH-DOH. See more »

Quotes

Count Brahe: You will enjoy life in Sweden, madame. Stockholm is called the Venice of the north.
Desiree Clary: [Shivering] I prefer the Venice of the south!
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Connections

Remake of La sposa dei re (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Te Deum
Composed By Roger Wagner
Orchestrated By Alexander Courage
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Jean Simmons Is Dynamite -- Make That Pure Feminist Kryptonite!
31 December 2004 | by Dan1863SicklesSee all my reviews

The strange thing about this movie is that it really is what its title promises -- the story of Desiree, and nothing more. Made in the dark years before the feminist movement, (indeed, in the worst days of the feminine mystique) the film makers seem to assume that the "ideal" woman is warm, impulsive, kittenish, flirtatious and yet non-sexual. Desiree is forever stuck at the end of childhood. She lives through great events but her "womanly" nature makes her ignore everything but her own physical comfort. She is Scarlett O'Hara without the suffering, cruelty or ambition, and Natasha Rostov without the fellow-feeling, patriotism and mystical sympathy for others. It's odd how you feel enchanted by her, and yet you feel disgusted with yourself for wanting a girl who remains infantile in so many ways. Truly a guilty pleasure.

Some of the things Desiree says in this movie are beyond belief. For example, after she becomes Princess of Sweden, her husband suggests that she needs some tutors, and she cries, "I haven't learned anything since I was ten!" And like, who is supposed to stand up and cheer? You could be the worst sexist pig in the world and this movie would make you feel like Anna Quindlen.

Or take the scene where the Swedes arrive in the middle of the night and tell Marshall Bernadotte (a superb Michael Rennie) that he is now in line to be King of Sweden. Bernadotte tells Desiree, his wife, to hurry up and get dressed. "Put on anything, you understand?" And she wails, "no, no, I don't understand anything!" Some other comments have said Jean Simmons is "whining" in this movie. But it's much worse than that. She's really pure feminist Kryptonite! The whole point is that men find her irresistible because she always, always, plays dumb and does nothing but bleat about being hungry, tired, or confused.

Problem is, Jean Simmons is just so natural and so attractive that it sort of goes down easy. You really do find yourself wanting to hug her every other scene, if you're a man anyway. If you're Anna Quindlen you probably just want to slap her. She's the feminist anti-Christ.

At least she's not a blonde!


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