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Desiree 1954

NR CC

In Marseilles, France in 1794, Desiree Clary (Jean Simmons), a young millinery clerk, becomes infatuated with Napoleon Bonaparte (Marlon Brando), but winds up wedding Genaral Jean-Baptiste Berandotte (Michael Rennie), an aid to Napoleon who later joins the forces that bring about the Emperor's downfall.

Starring:
Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons
Runtime:
1 hour, 50 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Henry Koster
Starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons
Supporting actors Merle Oberon, Michael Rennie, Cameron Mitchell, Elizabeth Sellars, Charlotte Austin, Cathleen Nesbitt, Evelyn Varden, Isobel Elsom, John Hoyt, Alan Napier, Mary Stewart, Leon Alton, Louis Borel, Sven Hugo Borg, Peter Bourne, Paul Bradley, George Brand, George Calliga
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
although not totally historically correct, desiree is the story of the spirited daughter of a silk merchant who was napoleon's first love. she went on to marry jean-baptiste bernadotte when napoleon married the more politically beneficial josephine. the marriage was better for desiree since jean-baptiste was a soldier who rose from the ranks, became one of napoleon's marshals, one of his biggest detractors, one of his conquerors, and eventually king of sweden. all through this time is the rivalry involving desiree as well as the struggle for power and the thrones of europe. jean simmons gives her usual good performance, marlon brando is a convincing napoleon, and michael rennie shines as bernadotte. a very watchable movie.
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Format: VHS Tape
Although there are some historical inaccuracies [Napoleon did not surrender his sword to Desiree, and some other small "enhancements"], and Jean Simmons is something of a drawback to the film, it's definitely worth watching. Marlon Brando's performance manages to capture the historical idea of Napoleon very well- the great intensity of his personality, the underlying brilliance and insatiable ambition. Napoleon is both repellent and fascinating at the same time. One can understand how, at his best, he hypnotized almost the whole of Europe. But he is perfidious also, dismissive of the death and destruction he caused on his way to accomplish his aims. Really, the character of Napoleon and Marlon Brando's rendition of it is the only reason to watch this film. Jean Simmons' Desiree is lovely and winsome, but kind of vapid. One wonders what Napoleon and Bernadotte saw in her. Michael Rennie's performance is very good in his role as Bernadotte, and he is not overshadowed at all by the strength of Brando's performance. His scenes with Napoleon are wonderful. Until something better comes along [unlikely...] this is the one to watch for a period piece about Napoleon.
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By NancyW on August 10, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I don't know why this movie is not more famous. The scenery and costumes are beautiful, and the acting is superb. I have never liked Marlon Brando, but he is excellent in this movie, as is Jean Simmons. Michael Rennie, somewhat forgotten nowadays, is good as well. The ending, although not historically accurate, always brings tears to my eyes. Great movie.
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By A Customer on February 28, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Having read some of the other reviews of this movie I felt compelled to submit my own. I have long been fascinated by Napoleon and I have read and watched just about everything on his life that I can get my hands on. I found Brando's portrayal of Napoleon subtle and powerful. After having seen at least a half dozen different actors play Napoleon in various movies, Brando's has always stood head and shoulders above the rest to me. The story is not entirely accurate, but all the main elements of the story are pretty close (except Napoleon surrendering his sword to Desiree). The costumes and sets are outstanding in a way that seems to be captured only in old movies. This is not an in-depth analysis of Napoleon's life, rather, it focuses on Desiree, a one-time fiance of Napoleon. While that story is interesting, I find myself waiting for the next Brando scene. Brando does a magnificent job capturing the eneregy and confidence of the young Napoleon, and the fatigue and desperation of the defeated Napoleon. Brando's scene when he considers Bernadotte's request to renounce his French citizenship is brilliant. The movie is almost worth this scene alone.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
After discovering Twilight Time's superior Blu-Ray transfer of the usually grainy, greenish old De Luxe color Pan & Scan print of "The Egyptian," I was hooked. So far, the quality of the DVD's from this company is right up there with the Criterion Collection. I am not going to go into the historical facts of "Desiree." Hollywood always re-writes History, and in this case, the distortions are not that outrageous, except to College History professors who are expected to be picky. Yes, there is a problem with this epic: Desiree's story is not as interesting as Napoleon's, so all the major historical events take place off camera, as is also the case with David Lean's mammonth, 'Doctor Zhivago'. But what with "Desiree's cast headed by Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons, the gorgeous photography and sets, plus the sweeping musical score by Alex North, who's gonna complain except chronic bellyachers? The production, as sumptuous as any 20th Century-Fox CinemaScope epic of the era, plays better for me now than when I first saw it in the 50's at age 9. Back then, though impressed with the widescreen visuals and the four-track Stereophonic sound that followed the characters from one side in the long screen to the other, I thought the "romantic" goings on a bit of a drag. I wanted more spectacle - more "action". Now, however, I enjoyed the story immensely, perhaps because we'll never see the likes of this kind of historical drama again on the big screen, at least not in my lifetime, now that the CGI guys raised on computer games have taken over where human beings once used to tread. If you enjoy old fashioned, lavish entertainment, don't hesitate to acquire this Blu-Ray release. Hopefully, there'll be more 50's Fox CinemaScope releases on Blu-Ray from this company. I would look forward to their issuing such films as "Boy On A Dolphin," " Night People", "A Certain Smile", and "Untamed", to name a few; films as yet unavailable on DVD even in the pan and scan format.
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