All I Desire


1h 19m 1953
All I Desire

Brief Synopsis

A stage star returns to the small-town family she deserted.

Film Details

Also Known As
Stopover
Genre
Drama
Release Date
Jul 1953
Premiere Information
World premiere in Nashville, TN: 25 Jun 1953; Los Angeles opening: 3 Jul 1953
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Canoga Park--Canoga Park High School, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Stopover by Carol Brink (London, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m

Synopsis

In 1910, just as her career hits its lowest point, aging actress Naomi Murdoch receives a letter from her daughter Lily. Ten years earlier, Naomi had created a scandal by leaving her teacher husband Henry and their children, Joyce, Lily and Ted, because she felt stifled by their small-town community and Henry's strict social mores. Even though it means continuing to lie to the family that she is a famous Shakespearian actress, Naomi decides to return to Riverside, Wyoming, and uses her entire savings to undergo a makeover. At the same time that Naomi's train pulls up at the town station, Joyce's fiancé, Russ Underwood, is scandalizing her with a public kiss on the cheek, Lily is wishing out loud that her mother will arrive in time to see her star in the school play and Henry is being named the new superintendent of schools. Naomi shows up during supper that evening, shocking everyone into silence, until Lily and housekeeper Lena Engstrom embrace her happily. Henry and Joyce, however, remain apprehensive about Naomi's visit, especially when they realize that gossip about her return has spread throughout the town. Naomi is surprised to find herself thrilled at how little the house has changed in her years away, but is stung when Joyce informs her that she does not consider Naomi family and wants her to leave. Soon after, Henry quarrels with Naomi over the circumstances of her leaving, and she promises him haughtily that she will not embarrass him with her crassness as she did before. Together, they attend the school play, which is packed with neighbors eager to get a glance at Naomi. As soon as the curtain rises, however, she can think only of Lily, who has true star quality. Although Dutch Heinemann, the man whose seduction ten years earlier contributed to her need to flee Riverside, watches her, she ignores him. Later that night, at Lily's party, Joyce grows jealous as the radiant Naomi dances with Russ, but is urged by Lena to enjoy life as much as her mother. When Naomi gives in to the guests' request to recite poetry, teacher Sara Harper, who loves Henry, realizes with a glance that he is still enamored of his ex-wife. Lily tinkers with the clock so that by the time Naomi finishes reading, she has missed the last train and must stay the night. After the guests leave, Henry grabs Naomi and demands to know why she left him, but she runs upstairs. The next morning, Russ urges Naomi and Joyce to accompany him horseback riding, and when Joyce reproaches her mother for flirting with him, Naomi goads her into fighting back for his love. Joyce does so when they stop at the river where Naomi used to have liaisons with Dutch, insisting her mother stay behind. Dutch immediately appears and roughly attempts to seduce Naomi, who pushes him away and declares that he will not upset her life again. At home, Sara is waiting to ask Naomi to perform at the graduation ceremony that night, revealing that she still wants to make Henry happy by helping Naomi to become a more respectable community member. As soon as Sara leaves, Joyce confirms that Henry still loves Naomi, and asks her mother to leave immediately to save his reputation. That night, Naomi tells Henry she must go, but he asks her to stay. When Lily then announces that she is leaving for New York with Naomi to begin a career on the stage, Henry states wryly that he cannot keep people at home against their wishes. Later, however, he asks Naomi if it is too late, and by the next morning, they announce to the children that Naomi is staying. Lily and Joyce are both bitterly disappointed, for their own reasons, and Naomi is also disturbed when she hears Dutch's familiar gunshot signal to her. She rushes to him to inform him that there is no chance between them, and is followed by Ted, who wants to go fishing with her. At the river, Dutch will not take no for an answer even after Naomi whips him, and as they tussle, the gun goes off and shoots him in the chest. Ted arrives in time to see Dutch fall, and although he helps her race Dutch to the doctor, he believes, as does the rest of the town, that she has resumed her affair. Even the doctor advises Naomi that Dutch will survive but her reputation will not, and she prepares to leave town to spare Henry more scandal. When Lily still asks to join her, Naomi discourages her by sharply stating that she is a tawdry failure, and both Lily and Joyce leave the house in tears. Naomi stops in Ted's room to try to explain that even if it appears that she has done something wrong, she has always loved him, and the boy breaks down and embraces her. Meanwhile, Henry has learned about the shooting and been warned that his career depends on his forcing Naomi to leave. He stalks into the doctor's office to confront Dutch, who spits in reply that if Naomi loves Henry, she can have him. Seeing the whip mark on Dutch's cheek, Henry suddenly realizes that Naomi has spurned Dutch, and rushes back to the house in time to prevent her from leaving. With his arms around her, he begs her to stay, asserting that with faith and trust they can face the town together. He hands her the key to the house, and together they enter to wait for the children.

Videos

Movie Clip

All I Desire (1953) - Maybe I Asked For It From the Carol Ryrie Brink novel and director Douglas Sirk, cracking opening all about Barbara Stanwyck, as Vaudeville performer Naomi Murdoch, narrating her back-story then sharing a letter with a colleague (Lela Bliss), in All I Desire, 1953, with Richard Carlson, Lyle Bettger and Lori Nelson.
All I Desire (1953) - What A Dramatic Entrance Douglas Sirk directs Barbara Stanwyck as Vaudevillian Naomi, returning mostly unexpected to the family she left ten years earlier, who believe she’s a legit actress, Lori Nelson the daughter who sent for her, Marcia Henderson the elder, Billy Gray the son, Richard Carlson the surprised husband, in All I Desire,1953.
All I Desire (1953) - Old Friends Like Us Riding with her daughter (Marcia Henderson) and beau (Richard Long), Barbara Stanwyck as Naomi, the Vaudeville actress just returned to the Wisconsin town she scandalized by leaving ten years earlier, is finally approached by Dutch (Lyle Bettger), her almost-lover from back then, in Douglas Sirk’s All I Desire,1953.
All I Desire (1953) - You're Not Anna Held Yet Just after Barbara Stanwyck’s opening narration, director Douglas Sirk introduces parts of the Wisconsin family she abandoned, for the stage, ten years earlier, Marcia Henderson as daughter Joyce, Richard Long her escort, Lori Nelson as younger Lily, Lotte Stein the loyal maid, in Douglas Sirk’s All I Desire, 1953.
All I Desire (1953) - How Do I Love Thee? Barbara Stanwyck as low-rent actress Naomi, maintaining the fiction she’s a big star for the family she’s just rejoined ten years after she ran away, is persuaded by daughter Lily (Lori Nelson), on the night of her own stage debut, to read Elizabeth Barrett Browning, nice moment for director Douglas Sirk, in All I Desire, 1953.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Stopover
Genre
Drama
Release Date
Jul 1953
Premiere Information
World premiere in Nashville, TN: 25 Jun 1953; Los Angeles opening: 3 Jul 1953
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Canoga Park--Canoga Park High School, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Stopover by Carol Brink (London, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m

Articles

All I Desire


An actress who has been estranged from her family, returns to her hometown to see her daughter in a school play.
All I Desire

All I Desire

An actress who has been estranged from her family, returns to her hometown to see her daughter in a school play.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Stopover. Hollywood Reporter reported in April 1952 that Universal was considering Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis for the role of "Naomi Murdoch." According to a December 1952 Los Angeles Times item, Universal removed Richard Carlson from the cast of their 1953 film The Stand at Apache River (see below) in order to star him in All I Desire. During the party scene, Naomi recites the poem "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways," one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnetts from the Portuguese (1847).
       Modern sources, including director Douglas Sirk's autobiography, state that Sirk wanted to retain the darker tone of both the title and ending of Carol Brink's novel, Stopover, in which Naomi is forced to leave Wisconsin and her family behind. Against Sirk's wishes, producer Ross Hunter substituted the film's happier ending. Sirk considered this picture a precursor to his 1959 film Imitation of Life, and part of a series he was making about small-town life that included Take Me to Town, Has Anybody Seen My Gal? and Meet Me at the Fair (see entries below).
       In his autobiography, Sirk also described his battles with Universal to make the film in color, in order to give the domestic scenes a "warmth and glow." Because it was not a musical, however, the studio refused. According to studio press materials, the play scene was shot on location at Canoga Park High School, CA, co-star Lori Nelson's real-life alma mater. Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Bobby Brown (Porch loafer), Ralph Brooks (Man in audience) and Chuck Hamilton. Modern sources also add the following names to the crew credits: Assistant Camera Lou Schwartz; Hair stylist Merle Reeves; and Makeup Nick Marcellino.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States July 1953

Released in United States Summer July 1953

Released in England June 22, 1953

Released in United States July 1953

Released in United States Summer July 1953

Began shooting December 1952.

Completed shooting January 1953.

b&w