Desiree (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

Desiree (1954)

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Director Henry Koster and writer Daniel Taradash speculate mightily in this historical tableau charting the rise and fall of Napoleon (Marlon Brando), all due to his unrequited love for noblewoman Desiree (Jean Simmons). The film takes a chronological view of Napoleon's reign and posits Napoleon's love of a woman he wanted to marry as a young general but abandoned for the sake of his career. Both Napoleon and Desiree go their separate ways -- he to become Emperor of France and loveless husband to Josephine (Merle Oberon) and she to become Sweden's disinterested Queen. Napoleon and Desiree meet up again in a whimsical confrontation in which Desiree urges the Little Corporal to surrender and go to St. Helena. The film is based on a novel by Annemarie Selinko that, like the film, takes wild liberties with the truth.

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Cast

Jean Simmons
as Desiree Clary
Merle Oberon
as Empress Josephine
Michael Rennie
as Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte
Cameron Mitchell
as Joseph Bonaparte
Cathleen Nesbitt
as Mme. Bonaparte
Isobel Elsom
as Mme. Clary
John Hoyt
as Talleyrand
Alan Napier
as Despereaux
Edith Evanson
as Queen Hedwig
Carolyn Jones
as Mme. Tallien
Sam Gilman
as Fouche
Larry Craine
as Louis Bonaparte
Judy Lester
as Caroline Bonaparte
Richard Van Cleemput
as Lucien Bonaparte
Florence Dublin
as Eliza Bonaparte
Louis Borell
as Baron Morner
Peter Bourne
as Count Brahe
Dorothy Neumann
as Queen Sofia
Siw Paulsson
as Princess Sofia
Lester Matthews
as Caulaincourt
Gene Roth
as Von Essen
Colin Kenny
as Gen. Becker
Leonard George
as Pope Pius VII
Richard Garrick
as Count Reynaud
Violet Rensing
as Marie Louise
Bert Stevens
as Man at Chaumiers
George Brand
as Servant
Jack George
as Piano Teacher
Jack Mather
as Sergeant
J. Ellis
as Swedish Instructor
Harry Carter
as Coachman
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Critic Reviews for Desiree

All Critics (3)

A dull costume romantic/drama.

Full Review… | February 6, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This story framed as a historical account of the only woman to stand up to Napoleon doesn't quite conquer our interest, though it is itself an intriguing piece of Hollywood history due to the presence of Brando in an iconic role. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | April 23, 2012
Groucho Reviews

A única performance desinteressante da carreira do sempre magnífico Marlon Brando.

January 7, 2004
Cinema em Cena

Audience Reviews for Desiree

Highly fictionalized account of the loves of Napoleon. Curious casting, particularly Marlon Brando as the famed emperor. It is a bit slow moving and too talky, but the production is exquisite. Fine art direction, costume design and cinematography. Decent score. Both the art direction and costumes received Academy Award nominations. Carolyn Jones is memorable in a small role. Jean Simmons is always a pleasure to watch.

James Higgins
James Higgins

62/100. Highly fictionalized account of the loves of Napoleon. Curious casting, particularly Marlon Brando as the famed emperor. It is a bit slow moving and too talky, but the production is exquisite. Fine art direction, costume design and cinematography. Decent score. Both the art direction and costumes received Academy Award nominations. Carolyn Jones is memorable in a small role. Jean Simmons is always a pleasure to watch.

James Higgins
James Higgins

jean simmons and merle oberon are very good, brando affected

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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