"Desire Me" from 1947 was a troubled film, with everyone hating everyone else, and George Cukor having his name removed from the credits. If only some of that passion had been on the screen, we might have a movie to talk about.
As it is, "Desire Me" is the old story of a French woman, Marise (Greer Garson) who doesn't know if her husband, last heard of in a work camp, is dead or alive. A friend of his, Jean (Richard Hart) comes to see her. Her husband Paul (Robert Mitchum) was his friend at the camp, and talked about Marise incessantly. Jean knows all about her, and he was kept alive by Paul's stories. He felt he just had to meet her. He breaks the news to her that Paul is dead. Yeah, and guess what.
First of all, you can see this plot coming a mile away. Secondly, though we hear about this great love that Paul and Marise have, we don't see any of it in flashbacks, just their wedding. Third, Jean is such an obvious phony, determined to push his way into her house and life, that it's ridiculous.
The name Richard Hart didn't conjure up much for me, and after seeing him in this, I know why. Sadly he died four years later, at the age of 35, which is awful. I would say he was completely misdirected in this. The character of Jean (my opinion only) should have been warm, sincere, helpful, without a hint of pushiness so that he can inculcate himself into Marise's life. Robert Mitchum ultimately doesn't have much to do. He spent most of his time eating sandwiches with onion and Roquefort when he had scenes with Greer Garson, whom he thought was stuck-up. Cukor and Garson fought, and Cukor left the film.
For all that, the film is quite atmospheric, with enough dry ice creating fog that you almost couldn't see anyone.
Greer Garson is good given the material.
If you're a fan of hers, watch this film; if not, skip it.
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