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Désirée is a lovely romance filled with unheard history.
Director Henry Koster did a marvelous job bringing Annemarie Selinko's novel Désirée to life with his 1954 film of the same name. Koster captures her words and tells the life of Désirée Clary (Jean Simmons) and Napoleon Bonaparte (Marlon Brando) with an empathetic touch. You get to understand how she must have felt never finding love on her own terms, going from France to Sweden, and bouncing from royal posturing ball to ball. Désirée is a brilliant biopic with the most thoughtful script. It is ahead of its time in its female perspective on love, life, and diplomacy during tumultuous times in France.
From the most extravagant set design, beautiful period costumes, and vibrant colors, Désirée is one of the most lovely films ever captured for the big screen. We are treated by lavish scenes, balls, and gowns galore. Visually, there is no comparison to Désirée. The only other movie I have ever seen like it may be Sofia Coppola's treatment for Marie Antoinette, which I must imagine may have been influenced by Désirée.
Furthermore, the acting is top tier work from the spirited Jean Simmons, who is as witty as she is gorgeous. She radiates a royalty like her character's own status. Simmons captures her willfulness as well as her charm. Désirée is elevated as a whole by her realistic depiction of a lady at the time that wishes for her own agency.
Similarly, Marlon Brando plays Napoleon with a callous fervor. He stands with Napoleon's signature lean. Brando forces his voice to sound both severe and faint, giving his Napoleon an air of superiority and sincerity. He makes great use of the surrounding props from hats, boxes, swords, crowns, and characters alike. Brando shows off his most subtle and earnest performance, then switches to a boisterous rage revealing Napoleon's wrath. It is a brilliantly executed display of acting. Brando is as quality as in any of his classic roles. He is at home as the tyrant Napoleon.
Lastly, to accompany the stellar direction, gorgeous outfits, endearing performances, and great writing, Alex North delivers a refined classical score that is quite breathtaking from the first note. It is filled with romantic sentiments and glory seeking French themes. North demonstrates his versatility as a composer with Désirée's score.
Overall, Henry Koster crafted a very sweet romance and a thoroughly engaging biopic of Désirée. It is still worth a watch!
good epic historical drama of sorts well the hollywood version of the rise & fall of napoleon
The best NapolÃ©on ever!..
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.
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.
Way too overdramatic and unnatural--mostly Jean Simmons' first scenes. Besides Brando, the acting was pretty poor. The guy Desiree marries is just awful. Marlon was a very convincing Napoleon.
Didn't like the lack of accents.
Some good sets, costumes, and shots but this one is passable. Just watch it for your Brando checklist if you're working on one.
Named my daughter after this movie
i love this movie i saw that more than 10 times
Definately one of the sub-par Brando films this one is about Desiree Clary first fiancee to Napoleon. The film follows her from the time she meets Napoleon, up through her marriage to the King of Sweden, until the time in which she convinces him to surrender France. Unless you are watching all of Brando's films this is one to miss. Very dull. Overall 1.5/4 Stars Grade = C-
Hilariously ludicrous and camp retelling of the Napoleon story, with the emphasis on his unrequited love for his first fiancÃ©e, Desiree. The way in which huge historical, world-impacting events are used as a backdrop to the sappiest of Barbara Cartland love stories is a real rib-tickler. Brando as Napoleon ads a dad of danger and a wink of an acknowledgement that this is an absurd farrago from beginning to end. Koster directs with a real feel for Cinemascope compositions, and tells the story through re-occuring images of isolated flames burning, fires kindling, lights still shining as images for the love the characters continue to feel. They don't make 'em as ripe and silly as this anymore!