Although not in the same class as Douglas Sirk's major melodramas, "All I Desire" has many of the traits that would be developed in these later works. As such it is essential viewing for fans of Sirk's films. His use of color is legendary so much is lost by this being filmed in black and white, the result of a tight fisted Universal Studios.
Fans of Barbara Stanwyk should not miss it either. Stanwyk is one of a handful of actresses who simply never gave a weak performance. Under the direction of the likes of Wilder or Sirk, she's a compelling screen presence. Sirk had great admiration for Stanwyk calling her "one of the best in town". He used her a few years later in "There's Always Tomorrow" which remains his greatest unrecognised opus. There his criticism of the American family values is particularly cutting, whereas "All I Desire" has an altogether more forgiving view of small town narrow mindedness.
Sirks films are always worth watching. They are extremely well crafted with each shot carefully thought out. Nothing is left to chance. Those who dismiss the melodrama as an inferior genre would do well to take a close look at his body of work. "All I Desire" makes a good starting point.
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