Desire Me (1947)

90-91 mins | Romance | 31 October 1947

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HISTORY

Working titles for this film were A Woman of My Own , Great Temptation , The Intruder , Sacred and Profane , Beloved Stranger , As You Desire Me and Carl and Anna . The film had no director's credit, and is often cited in modern sources as the first major Hollywood film to be released without one. According to HR news items and production charts, George Cukor was the film's first director. The Var review notes that Cukor directed most of the film, and that Mervyn LeRoy "finished it." On 5 Jun 1946, according to HR , Cukor collapsed on the set and was rushed home to recover from the flu. Director Victor Saville substituted for Cukor until 27 Jun 1946, when Cukor resumed direction. Modern sources indicate that Jack Conway directed portions of the film, but a Robert Mitchum biography quotes the actor as having no recollection of the director working on the film. Contemporary news items quote the following about early production: In early Apr 1946 actor Robert Montgomery walked off the production after three weeks of work because of a "difference of opinion" he had with Cukor over the interpretation of the role. Montgomery was replaced by Richard Hart, a stage actor who made his screen debut in the film.
       Drafts in the M-G-M script collection at USC's Cinema-Television Library indicate that Sonya Levien and Zoë Akins reworked Casey Robinson's original adaptation into the screenplay used for initial production from Mar through Aug 1946. MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library note ... More Less

Working titles for this film were A Woman of My Own , Great Temptation , The Intruder , Sacred and Profane , Beloved Stranger , As You Desire Me and Carl and Anna . The film had no director's credit, and is often cited in modern sources as the first major Hollywood film to be released without one. According to HR news items and production charts, George Cukor was the film's first director. The Var review notes that Cukor directed most of the film, and that Mervyn LeRoy "finished it." On 5 Jun 1946, according to HR , Cukor collapsed on the set and was rushed home to recover from the flu. Director Victor Saville substituted for Cukor until 27 Jun 1946, when Cukor resumed direction. Modern sources indicate that Jack Conway directed portions of the film, but a Robert Mitchum biography quotes the actor as having no recollection of the director working on the film. Contemporary news items quote the following about early production: In early Apr 1946 actor Robert Montgomery walked off the production after three weeks of work because of a "difference of opinion" he had with Cukor over the interpretation of the role. Montgomery was replaced by Richard Hart, a stage actor who made his screen debut in the film.
       Drafts in the M-G-M script collection at USC's Cinema-Television Library indicate that Sonya Levien and Zoë Akins reworked Casey Robinson's original adaptation into the screenplay used for initial production from Mar through Aug 1946. MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library note a certificate was issued for a completed film in Sep 1946. Contemporary news items indicate additional retakes with Garson and Mitchum were scheduled to follow Mitchum's completion of his work on the Warner Bros. film Pursued (see below), which ended in late Oct 1946. A modern source quotes Mervyn LeRoy as saying that a Dec 1946 test preview of the film were "disastrous." According to his biography, Mitchum and many attendees of the Dec 1946 preview left the theatre after watching the first reel. The M-G-M script collection indicates Marguerite Roberts began working on rewrites in early 1947 and reshooting commenced shortly thereafter. PCA files indicate reshooting continued through Jul 1947. A PCA memo, dated 29 Jul 1947, from Geoffrey Shurlock notes "Since our review of this picture on Sep 9, 1946...the studio has remade eighty percent of it." Levien never received credit for her contribution and modern sources indicate Roberts tried to have her name removed from the released film. Cukor, as quoted in a modern source, stated that the "script didn't really make sense, and when it was finished I was just removed from the picture, and another director reshot a good deal of it with the understanding that his name wouldn't appear on the credits. Since very little of the final footage is mine, I wouldn't allow my name to be on the picture either."
       The CBCS lists actors Florence Bates, Max Willenz and Clinton Sundberg in principal roles, but these characters were dropped in the Roberts rewrite and did not appear in the final film. Various contemporary news items note the following additional information about the production: The film's French fishing village set was constructed on the M-G-M lot, and included thirty-five buildings and a 200 square foot harbor with twelve fishing boats. In addition to the backlot set, M-G-M built a duplicate fishing village near Monterey, CA. Two hundred soldiers from Fort Ord, near Monterey, were used in the film. According to an article in LAT , while filming in Carmel, CA, actress Greer Garson nearly drowned in the ocean and was rescued by a fishing skipper named Vincent Sollecito. M-G-M rewarded Sollecito for his heroic act by casting him in a bit role.
       A stage adaption of Frank's novel, entitled Karl and Anna , opened at the Guild Theater in New York on 7 Oct 1929. The play was directed by Philip Mueller and starred Otto Kruger, Alice Brady and Claude Rains. Other films based on Leonhard Frank's novel are the 1928 German film Heimkehr , directed by Joe May and starring Lars Hanson and Dita Parlo, and a 1941 German film also entitled Heimkehr . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Sep 1947.
---
Film Daily
26 Sep 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 46
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 46
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 46
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 46
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 46
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 47
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
26 Sep 1947.
---
New York Times
26 Sep 47
p. 28.
Variety
1 Oct 47
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Fill-In dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Men's cost
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles created by
Makeup created by
STAND INS
German voices
German voices
German voices
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Karl und Anna by Leonhard Frank (Berlin, 1926).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Sacred and Profane
Carl and Anna
The Intruder
Great Temptaion
A Woman of My Own
As You Desire Me
Beloved Stranger
Release Date:
31 October 1947
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 25 September 1947
Production Date:
mid March--early August 1946
addl scenes 11 September 1946
addl scenes 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
5 August 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1211
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90-91
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11783
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In the Paris office of psychiatrist Andre Leclair, Marise Aubert discusses her failing marriage to Paul Aubert, a war veteran with whom she once was deeply in love. Marise relates the story of how she lost her love for Paul, beginning her tale at the time of his internment in a Nazi prisoner of war camp: At the camp, Paul meets fellow prisoner Jean Renaud, who listens to Paul's endless stories about the loving wife who awaits him at their seaside cottage in the Normandy fishing village of Kergat. One day, Paul is shot by Nazi guards while he and Jean attempt to escape from the camp. Shortly thereafter, Jean, believing Paul to be dead, travels to Kergat to meet the woman Paul praised so highly. When Jean enters Paul and Marise's cottage and plays the couple's favorite song on the piano, Marise, hearing the tune from a distance, believes that Paul has finally returned. She is shocked, however, when she discovers that the man playing is a stranger. Marise is further astonished when she realizes that Jean knows every detail about her personal life. Jean tells Marise that her husband died during the escape attempt, but he does not tell her that he left Paul to die on the outskirts of the camp. Jean, who has fallen in love with Marise based on Paul's stories about her, makes romantic advances toward her, but she rejects him. Marise asks Jean to leave, but a fierce rainstorm prevents his departure, and the following day he apologizes for his brusque manner. As the days pass, Marise begins to trust Jean, and ... +


In the Paris office of psychiatrist Andre Leclair, Marise Aubert discusses her failing marriage to Paul Aubert, a war veteran with whom she once was deeply in love. Marise relates the story of how she lost her love for Paul, beginning her tale at the time of his internment in a Nazi prisoner of war camp: At the camp, Paul meets fellow prisoner Jean Renaud, who listens to Paul's endless stories about the loving wife who awaits him at their seaside cottage in the Normandy fishing village of Kergat. One day, Paul is shot by Nazi guards while he and Jean attempt to escape from the camp. Shortly thereafter, Jean, believing Paul to be dead, travels to Kergat to meet the woman Paul praised so highly. When Jean enters Paul and Marise's cottage and plays the couple's favorite song on the piano, Marise, hearing the tune from a distance, believes that Paul has finally returned. She is shocked, however, when she discovers that the man playing is a stranger. Marise is further astonished when she realizes that Jean knows every detail about her personal life. Jean tells Marise that her husband died during the escape attempt, but he does not tell her that he left Paul to die on the outskirts of the camp. Jean, who has fallen in love with Marise based on Paul's stories about her, makes romantic advances toward her, but she rejects him. Marise asks Jean to leave, but a fierce rainstorm prevents his departure, and the following day he apologizes for his brusque manner. As the days pass, Marise begins to trust Jean, and invites him to stay in her home indefinitely. Jean and Marise's friendship soon turns to love, but Jean's hope for a happy future with Marise appears dashed when he finds a letter addressed to Marise from Paul, who is still alive. In the letter, which Jean hides from Marise, Paul writes that he is recuperating from his gunshot wounds at a military hospital and that he plans to return home in a short time. Desperate to continue his romance with Marise, Jean makes plans to flee Kergat with her before Paul arrives. Marise initially refuses to join Jean in Paris, but he eventually prevails and they make preparations to leave Kergat at once. While Marise meets with Father Donnard to discuss her future with Jean, Paul returns to Kergat and walks through the streets of the town. Hector, who has just bought Paul's business from Marise, is shocked to see Paul alive, and races to Father Donnard's to tell Marise the news. Marise, nearly overcome with joy, runs back to her cottage. Jean, meanwhile, goes to Father Donnard's to pick up Marise, and learns that Paul has returned to Kergat. Determined to keep Paul and Marise from reuniting, Jean runs to Paul's boathouse, grabs a gun and races to the cottage. Marise finds Paul before Jean does, and they embrace and kiss. However, their happy reunion is quickly tempered by Marise's confession that she has been involved romantically with Jean. Paul is upset at the news but promises Marise that he will show compassion toward his comrade if Jean can convince him that he did not attempt to deceive Marise. Jean and Paul find each other on a fog-shrouded cliff, where Jean fires a number of shots at Paul. He misses each time and soon runs out of bullets, however. Paul then pulls out his knife and approaches Jean, and the two men engage in a hand-to-hand battle at the cliff's edge. Marise, who has heard the gunshots, arrives at the cliff's edge just as Jean loses his footing and falls to his death. After coming out of her reverie and concluding her story for the doctor, Marise tells Dr. Leclair that since that tragedy, her feelings of guilt have prevented her from being a good wife to Paul. Acting on Dr. Leclair's advice, Marise decides to stop dwelling on the sorrows of her past and returns to Paul to start a new life with him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.