All I Desire (1953)

79-80 mins | Drama | July 1953

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Stopover . HR reported in Apr 1952 that Universal was considering Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis for the role of "Naomi Murdoch." According to a Dec 1952 LAT item, Universal removed Richard Carlson from the cast of their 1953 film The Stand at Apache River (see below) in order to star him in All I Desire . During the party scene, Naomi recites the poem "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways," one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnetts from the Portuguese (1847).
       Modern sources, including director Douglas Sirk's autobiography, state that Sirk wanted to retain the darker tone of both the title and ending of Carol Brink's novel, Stopover , in which Naomi is forced to leave Wisconsin and her family behind. Against Sirk's wishes, producer Ross Hunter substituted the film's happier ending. Sirk considered this picture a precursor to his 1959 film Imitation of Life , and part of a series he was making about small-town life that included Take Me to Town , Has Anybody Seen My Gal? and Meet Me at the Fair (see entries below).
       In his autobiography, Sirk also described his battles with Universal to make the film in color, in order to give the domestic scenes a "warmth and glow." Because it was not a musical, however, the studio refused. According to studio press materials, the play scene was shot on location at Canoga Park High School, CA, co-star Lori Nelson's real-life alma mater . Modern sources add the following actors to the ... More Less

The working title of this film was Stopover . HR reported in Apr 1952 that Universal was considering Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis for the role of "Naomi Murdoch." According to a Dec 1952 LAT item, Universal removed Richard Carlson from the cast of their 1953 film The Stand at Apache River (see below) in order to star him in All I Desire . During the party scene, Naomi recites the poem "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways," one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnetts from the Portuguese (1847).
       Modern sources, including director Douglas Sirk's autobiography, state that Sirk wanted to retain the darker tone of both the title and ending of Carol Brink's novel, Stopover , in which Naomi is forced to leave Wisconsin and her family behind. Against Sirk's wishes, producer Ross Hunter substituted the film's happier ending. Sirk considered this picture a precursor to his 1959 film Imitation of Life , and part of a series he was making about small-town life that included Take Me to Town , Has Anybody Seen My Gal? and Meet Me at the Fair (see entries below).
       In his autobiography, Sirk also described his battles with Universal to make the film in color, in order to give the domestic scenes a "warmth and glow." Because it was not a musical, however, the studio refused. According to studio press materials, the play scene was shot on location at Canoga Park High School, CA, co-star Lori Nelson's real-life alma mater . Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Bobby Brown ( Porch loafer ), Ralph Brooks ( Man in audience ) and Chuck Hamilton . Modern sources also add the following names to the crew credits: Asst cam Lou Schwartz; Hair stylist Merle Reeves; and Makeup Nick Marcellino. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Jun 1953.
---
Daily Variety
19 Jun 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Jul 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 52
p. 7, 11
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 53
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 1953
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
2 Dec 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Jun 53
p. 1877.
New York Times
29 Aug 53
p. 10.
Variety
24 Jun 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Adpt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Dial dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Stopover by Carol Brink (London, 1951).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"All I Desire," words and music by David Lieberman.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Stopover
Release Date:
July 1953
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Nashville, TN: 25 June 1953
Los Angeles opening: 3 July 1953
Production Date:
19 December 1952--15 January 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
8 May 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2569
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79-80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16364
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1910, just as her career hits its lowest point, aging actress Naomi Murdoch receives a letter from her daughter Lily. Ten years earlier, Naomi had created a scandal by leaving her teacher husband Henry and their children, Joyce, Lily and Ted, because she felt stifled by their small-town community and Henry's strict social mores. Even though it means continuing to lie to the family that she is a famous Shakespearian actress, Naomi decides to return to Riverside, Wyoming, and uses her entire savings to undergo a makeover. At the same time that Naomi's train pulls up at the town station, Joyce's fiancé, Russ Underwood, is scandalizing her with a public kiss on the cheek, Lily is wishing out loud that her mother will arrive in time to see her star in the school play and Henry is being named the new superintendent of schools. Naomi shows up during supper that evening, shocking everyone into silence, until Lily and housekeeper Lena Engstrom embrace her happily. Henry and Joyce, however, remain apprehensive about Naomi's visit, especially when they realize that gossip about her return has spread throughout the town. Naomi is surprised to find herself thrilled at how little the house has changed in her years away, but is stung when Joyce informs her that she does not consider Naomi family and wants her to leave. Soon after, Henry quarrels with Naomi over the circumstances of her leaving, and she promises him haughtily that she will not embarrass him with her crassness as she did before. Together, they attend the school play, which is packed with neighbors eager to get a glance at Naomi. As soon as the curtain rises, ... +


In 1910, just as her career hits its lowest point, aging actress Naomi Murdoch receives a letter from her daughter Lily. Ten years earlier, Naomi had created a scandal by leaving her teacher husband Henry and their children, Joyce, Lily and Ted, because she felt stifled by their small-town community and Henry's strict social mores. Even though it means continuing to lie to the family that she is a famous Shakespearian actress, Naomi decides to return to Riverside, Wyoming, and uses her entire savings to undergo a makeover. At the same time that Naomi's train pulls up at the town station, Joyce's fiancé, Russ Underwood, is scandalizing her with a public kiss on the cheek, Lily is wishing out loud that her mother will arrive in time to see her star in the school play and Henry is being named the new superintendent of schools. Naomi shows up during supper that evening, shocking everyone into silence, until Lily and housekeeper Lena Engstrom embrace her happily. Henry and Joyce, however, remain apprehensive about Naomi's visit, especially when they realize that gossip about her return has spread throughout the town. Naomi is surprised to find herself thrilled at how little the house has changed in her years away, but is stung when Joyce informs her that she does not consider Naomi family and wants her to leave. Soon after, Henry quarrels with Naomi over the circumstances of her leaving, and she promises him haughtily that she will not embarrass him with her crassness as she did before. Together, they attend the school play, which is packed with neighbors eager to get a glance at Naomi. As soon as the curtain rises, however, she can think only of Lily, who has true star quality. Although Dutch Heinemann, the man whose seduction ten years earlier contributed to her need to flee Riverside, watches her, she ignores him. Later that night, at Lily's party, Joyce grows jealous as the radiant Naomi dances with Russ, but is urged by Lena to enjoy life as much as her mother. When Naomi gives in to the guests' request to recite poetry, teacher Sara Harper, who loves Henry, realizes with a glance that he is still enamored of his ex-wife. Lily tinkers with the clock so that by the time Naomi finishes reading, she has missed the last train and must stay the night. After the guests leave, Henry grabs Naomi and demands to know why she left him, but she runs upstairs. The next morning, Russ urges Naomi and Joyce to accompany him horseback riding, and when Joyce reproaches her mother for flirting with him, Naomi goads her into fighting back for his love. Joyce does so when they stop at the river where Naomi used to have liaisons with Dutch, insisting her mother stay behind. Dutch immediately appears and roughly attempts to seduce Naomi, who pushes him away and declares that he will not upset her life again. At home, Sara is waiting to ask Naomi to perform at the graduation ceremony that night, revealing that she still wants to make Henry happy by helping Naomi to become a more respectable community member. As soon as Sara leaves, Joyce confirms that Henry still loves Naomi, and asks her mother to leave immediately to save his reputation. That night, Naomi tells Henry she must go, but he asks her to stay. When Lily then announces that she is leaving for New York with Naomi to begin a career on the stage, Henry states wryly that he cannot keep people at home against their wishes. Later, however, he asks Naomi if it is too late, and by the next morning, they announce to the children that Naomi is staying. Lily and Joyce are both bitterly disappointed, for their own reasons, and Naomi is also disturbed when she hears Dutch's familiar gunshot signal to her. She rushes to him to inform him that there is no chance between them, and is followed by Ted, who wants to go fishing with her. At the river, Dutch will not take no for an answer even after Naomi whips him, and as they tussle, the gun goes off and shoots him in the chest. Ted arrives in time to see Dutch fall, and although he helps her race Dutch to the doctor, he believes, as does the rest of the town, that she has resumed her affair. Even the doctor advises Naomi that Dutch will survive but her reputation will not, and she prepares to leave town to spare Henry more scandal. When Lily still asks to join her, Naomi discourages her by sharply stating that she is a tawdry failure, and both Lily and Joyce leave the house in tears. Naomi stops in Ted's room to try to explain that even if it appears that she has done something wrong, she has always loved him, and the boy breaks down and embraces her. Meanwhile, Henry has learned about the shooting and been warned that his career depends on his forcing Naomi to leave. He stalks into the doctor's office to confront Dutch, who spits in reply that if Naomi loves Henry, she can have him. Seeing the whip mark on Dutch's cheek, Henry suddenly realizes that Naomi has spurned Dutch, and rushes back to the house in time to prevent her from leaving. With his arms around her, he begs her to stay, asserting that with faith and trust they can face the town together. He hands her the key to the house, and together they enter to wait for the children. +

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

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