Desire Under the Elms (1958)




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Movie Info

Based on the play by Eugene O'Neill, this film concerns a 19th-century New England farmer (Burl Ives) who makes a deal with a beautiful young immigrant (Sophia Loren) and marries her. The woman instead seduces his son (Anthony Perkins).

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Critic Reviews for Desire Under the Elms

All Critics (2)

Realism, in a play of this kind, has got to be surmounted, over- whelmed, outraged: what happens is beyond realism, and the direction must catch that beyond- ness, that feeling of breaking all bounds, moral, conventional, even artistic.

Jul 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Desire Under the Elms


Overwrought is too mild a word for this lulu of a gothic melodrama. Of course being a Eugene O'Neill story the epic tragedy is no surprise but it is turned out in purple prose and declamatory acting. Sophia looks beautiful and is full of ripe sensuality. Burl Ives is made up to look older than his years but just looks foolish and Anthony Perkins keeps his twitchy intensity mostly under control but the film is just short of operatic overstatement which make it hard to take. Add into that the obviously fake settings and the whole thing is too much.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Perkins gives a great performance in this movie of forbidden love, the story is really dramatic, suspenseful, and surprising. I really liked it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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