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As You Desire Me

As You Desire Me(1932)

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Crying Boy

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The English language version of Luigi Pirandello's play, translated by Samuel Putnam as As You Desire Me, opened in Washington D.C. on November 30, 1930 and in New York on January 28, 1931. Judith Anderson starred as the main character, known as "The Unknown One." In the play, "The Unknown One" leaves with the character Salter at the end, rather than staying with the count. According to a news item in Film Daily, Melvyn Douglas was borrowed from Samuel Goldwyn for this picture. The New York Times review noted that it had been announced that this film was to be Greta Garbo's last; however, she made her next film, Queen Christina, in 1933 (see below) and continued making films at M-G-M until 1941. This was the first of three films in which Garbo co-starred with Douglas. The others were Garbo's last two films, Ninotchka, directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1939 (see below) and Two-Faced Woman, directed by George Cukor in 1941. A Hollywood Reporter news item states that Garbo considered doing a remake of As You Desire Me in 1943. According to modern sources, Garbo's friend and advisor, Salka Viertel convinced Garbo to request Erich von Stroheim for the role of Karl. Because Stroheim had reportedly been barred from the M-G-M lot by studio head Louis B. Mayer and production head Irving Thalberg, Garbo threatened to quit M-G-M if Stroheim was not accepted for the role. A pre-production Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Nils Asther was to co-star with Garbo, but he did not appear in the film and it has not been determined whether he was considered for the part of the count or Salter in the picture. Modern sources also note that the character Karl was loosely based on the Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnar.