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Desert Hearts (Two-Disc Vintage Collection) (1986)

Helen Shaver , Patricia Charbonneau , Donna Deitch  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)

Price: $14.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Desert Hearts (Two-Disc Vintage Collection) + Elena Undone + A Perfect Ending
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Product Details

  • Actors: Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Andra Akers, Dean Butler
  • Directors: Donna Deitch
  • Writers: Jane Rule, Natalie Cooper
  • Producers: Donna Deitch, Cami Taylor, Carol Jefferies
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Wolfe Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OVLC0W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,508 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Desert Hearts (Two-Disc Vintage Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Never-before-seen footage of the famous love scene
  • New commentary by director Donna Deitch
  • New interviews with Patricia Charbonneau and Helen Shaver by director Donna Deitch

Editorial Reviews

It's 1959, and New York English professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver, The Color Of Money) has come to Reno for a quickie divorce. Staying at a dude ranch, she meets the proprietor's stepdaughter, the sexy casino change-girl Cay Rivvers (Patricia Charbonneau, Kiss The Sky). Despite their differences, sparks fly as free-spirited Cay introduces strait-laced Vivian to the wild-west casino scene and the haunting beauty of the desert. No one is angrier than the dude ranch proprietor (Audra Lindley, Three's Company). And no one is more surprised than the beautiful-but-repressed Vivian when the friendship evolves into unexpected, hot passion. Desert Hearts pulses with a 50's country western soundtrack featuring Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, Patti Page, Johnny Ray, Elvis Presley and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bonus Disc - Info June 6, 2007
By turtlex
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Most people purchasing this item have seen the film. Desert Hearts is a contemporary classic and ahead of it's time when first released. It's a standard now in most every gay-girls DVD collection. This newly released two-disc edition includes some bonus materials.

I'll review the bonus disc as there are plenty of well written reviews of the actual film.

1. The "never before seen footage" of the famous love scene. This is the first bonus item on the extra disc. It is NOT a re-cut extended scene. This is the raw footage from, argueably, the most famous lesbian love scene ever. We are not necessarily given more content, but simply the same content from different angles, over multiple takes.

2. Commentary by director Donna Deitch. Fun and informative.

3. Interviews with the two main stars by director Deitch. To me, this feature is worth the price of this collection. Donna Deitch interviews both Patricia Charbonneau ( Cay ) and Helen Shaver ( Vivian ). These are one-on-one sessions which recall memories of filming and, more importantly, the impact the film had on both actresses. These interview sessions were done in March 2007. The only thing that might have made them more interesting would have been if the actresses had actually been reunited for the interviews. They are each interviewed, separately, by Deitch. While both actresses are fun to watch, it is Helen Shaver and her insights that are the most rewarding.

4. The Theatrical Trailer - This is actually interesting because, while the film hold up strongly, the trailer comes across as rather dated.

All in all, I'd recommend this set. It's a wonderful film, and the bonus disc will add a nice dimension to viewing it again.
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114 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opposites attract in this wonderful love story May 22, 2003
Format:DVD
"Desert Hearts," directed by Donna Deitch, opens in Reno, Nevada in 1959. The film, which is based on a novel by Jane Rule, tells the story of Vivian (played by Helen Shaver), a prim-and-proper college professor who has come to Nevada to get a divorce. There she meets Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), a lusty, free-spirited casino worker. The relationship between these two beautiful women is the focus of the film.
"Desert Hearts" is a wonderful film. It's very erotic, tender, and moving. The women's story is complemented by excellent production values and effective use of period music. The performances are superb all around. The leads are backed by a great supporting cast; Audra Lindley is particularly good in a zesty, touching performance as Cay's stepmother. But it's the powerful chemistry between Shaver and Charbonneau which ultimately drives the film. Every scene between them is one to be savored.
The DVD version of the film includes a fascinating feature-length commentary track by director Deitch. She discusses the original novel, her own relationship with novelist Rule, the casting process, the music of the film, key scenes, and much more. Particularly fascinating is the window she offers into the financial realities of independent filmmaking.
"Desert Hearts" is about romantic love between two women. It's also about a mother-daughter relationship and about friendship between women. The beautiful scenes of the land and horses as well as the casino scenes give added appeal to the story of these interconnected relationships. I highly recommend this enjoyable and touching film.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stole My Heart October 10, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I loved this movie! It is my all-time, favorite lesbian love story. More recent films have touted themselves as having eclipsed this story, but frankly, I have not yet seen a lesbian film that is better than this one. Yeah, this film has some hokey parts. I do not like the way that director, Donna Deitch suddenly fades to black as a transitioning technique. I do, however, like the 1950's vocal music in the background. The music mirrors the mood of the film and of the characters. I also liked the authenticity of the film in terms its 1950's setting. I liked the old cars and the old clothes and the old slot machines. Even the leather couch and the cowboy-patterned dishes hasten back to the 1950's. I especially liked the performance of Helen Shaver as Vivian Bell, the uptight eastern professor who comes to Reno for a quickie divorce. I had seen her in movies before but it took this movie for me to recognize the depth of her talent. Audra Lindley (AKA, TV's Mrs. Roper from Three's Company) is also excellent. I never really knew where the Audra Lindley character was coming from, even though I have probably seen the film at least ten times. I think that not understanding the character's full motivation is part of the intrigue of her performance; you're never really sure where her true affections lie. The interplay between the two main characters is awesome. It is wonderful to see the attraction grow and to see the younger character's boldness and both character's vulnerability. I give credit to the writer, director and actresses for the authenticity with which they recreated the awkward and often tentative moments of new love. If you never buy or see another lesbian film, buy and see this one.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lesbian classic that raised the bar! February 7, 2007
Format:DVD
This is the definitive lesbian love story that launched the genre in a new direction. This wonderful love story brings lesbian love into the light of day with beautiful women, looking and acting sexy, and leading productive, respectable lives. Vivian arrives in Reno to get a divorce, and meets free-spirited, self-assured Cay. The Reno landscape in the 50's is a great backdrop for the conflicts that lesbians encounter. This is a story about romantic love between women, mother-daughter relationship, and friendship. The filming is top notch, the sets and period clothing are spot on. The musical scores (50's country and western) are superb and the cast was wonderful! Charbonneau and Shavers are sensational as total opposites who eventually become drawn and attrated to each other. Just a masterful duette of performances! Cay, free and fully out, forward and knowing just what she wants; Vivian, tentative and reluctant to step outside of her cultured and closed box. Every minute they spend with each other oozes electricity and sexual tension. Two georgeous women making love?? HELLO! The love scene is landmark. Audra Lindley is wonderful and perfectly cast as Cay's stepmom. Cay's best friend, Silver, is absolutely a key (and skintillating!) role in the dynamics of these characters; she is the definative support and validation that these women are wonderful people, and deserve love and happiness. We all need a little "Silver" in our lives!!
This story is completely intriguing, and HEY, what a wonderful ending! SEQUEL, SEQUEL!!! This is an absolute must have in any collection. Timeless tale of the beauty of lesbian love.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting story line
you can tell this movie was made a long time ago,
rather it was meant to be that way or not,
the show was very believable,
loved the music in the movie,
the... Read more
Published 16 days ago by sefriendlyguy
2.0 out of 5 stars Great sounding but not happening!
An attempt, I think, at a serious movie. It is a love story between a cowboy type woman and a elegant English professor. Read more
Published 18 days ago by jordyn skye
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific
The story line was great and I have a soft spot for happy ending the characters are very talented actors
Published 1 month ago by stacy wright
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful love story
A bit slow moving. However such a heat
warming story love story. You feel so much for both women. Wonderful.
Published 1 month ago by judy bitzer
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but no
It was just OK, not as great as it was made out to be. I have seen better of this genre.
Published 2 months ago by Sleepless G
5.0 out of 5 stars i love country movies
this is very nice country love movie
it is a must see film for you to see for your self and decide if you like it for your self
Published 2 months ago by juan cortina
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good film.
Well acted and photographed. Top quality film. The story handled the sensitive material very well. It probably would not have been accepted as well at the time it was made.
Published 2 months ago by A. Dwight Barnhill
2.0 out of 5 stars Good honest portrayal of Lesbian love
I wouldn't say this was a great movie, but overall it did a good job of displaying how our society cannot overcome the rigid burdens it places on individuals.
Published 2 months ago by Tom Barreiros
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny
This one was good and some time fun I would watch again, I found this to be an enjoyable film
Published 2 months ago by Yolanda
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
And no matter how many times you watch it, it is still very well done, well acted, and a good and honest story line too. What's not to love?
Published 2 months ago by Shirley White
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