In what was supposed to be a soapy melodrama, One Desire ended up a bit of a disappointment. With the heavy dramatic star Anne Baxter playing a stereotypical hooker with a heart of gold and the handsome Rock Hudson as a selfish playboy, you'd think nothing could go wrong with the movie. The story took turns that verged on the ridiculous, and even in a soap opera, plot points that ridiculous didn't fly. Perhaps the original novel was extremely lengthy and fleshed everything out so it made sense, and perhaps the Hollywood movie chose to include all the key points even if they were choppy and silly.
Anne starts off the head hooker in a casino who's in love with no-good cards dealer Rock. When he gets a special visitor, his long-lost kid brother, Barry Curtis, he decides on a fresh start in a new town. Without any commitment or guarantees, Anne packs her bags and goes with them to the mining town. Rock takes a room at a hotel and pays for Anne's house so they can be respectable but so she can raise his brother while he goes to work. How respectable is it to have a man you're not even engaged to paying your rent, at that time? And if Rock is such a jerk to treat her that way, why would she go with him in the first place, keep house, cook, raise his brother, and risk her reputation when he flirts with other women right in front of her? Julia Adams, a banker's daughter, is the object of the ambitious Rock's latest affection, but it turns out Julia has a mean streak in her and takes it out on Anne.
So far, this sounds like a really interesting story, right? Trust me, the second half of the movie is much less fun. You'll get to see Anne in some pretty costumes, and you'll get to see a gawky Natalie Wood in the last childish role before she reestablished herself in Rebel Without a Cause, but there's not much more incentive. For a much better Anne Baxter drama, check out Season of Passion, and for Rock Hudson in a more likable role, try A Farewell to Arms.
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