Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Stanwyck, Henderson [above] and Carlson
ALL I DESIRE (1953). Director: Douglas Sirk. Produced by Ross Hunter.

Naomi Murdoch (Barbara Stanwyck) left her husband and family years ago --there was dissatisfaction in her life, and a budding scandal involving another man -- and took to the stage. The ones she left behind, including her youngest daughter, Lily (Lori Nelson), who invites her mother to see her star in the high school play, think Noami is the toast of two continents but she's actually a lower case vaudeville performer. But when Naomi arrives in Riverdale, Wisconsin, she discovers that the household is divided over her presence. Lily and her young son Ted (Billy Gray) are delighted to see Naomi, as is the housekeeper Lena (Lotte Stein), but her oldest daughter Joyce (Marcia Henderson) wants nothing to do with her, and her husband, Henry (Richard Carlson), isn't entirely sure how he feels. This is an interesting drama and period piece [taking place in the early years of the 20th century] with another top-notch Stanwyck performance and an excellent supporting cast. Maureen O'Sullivan is a teacher and romantic interest for Henry; Lyle Bettger is an old fling of Naomi's, and Richard Long is Joyce's boyfriend. Dale Robertson, Brett Halsey, and Stuart Whitman turn up in small roles as members of the high school drama club. Although I've rarely been impressed with Lori Nelson in other films, in this she is quite good and charming as the daughter with theatrical aspirations.[It's almost as if she got worse with each role instead of better!] I guess playing with a talent like Stanwyck never hurts!

Verdict: Another absorbing Stanwyck picture and performance. ***

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