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Sunday, September 24, 2017

All I Desire (1953)

In the early 1900s, a woman (Barbara Stanwyck) who abandoned her husband (Richard Carlson) and children 10 years before and ran off to go on the stage returns to the small town after she gets a letter from her now grown daughter (Lori Nelson). Nothing seems to have changed and the small town gossips are abuzz about the return of the "scarlet" woman! Based on the novel STOPOVER by Carol Ryrie Brink and directed by Douglas Sirk. This has all the trademarks of Sirk's Universal period melodramas. The mean spirited small town hypocrisy (ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS), motherhood (IMITATION OF LIFE) and an attempt to remedy the past (THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW). This is minor Sirk but still worth visiting. Unfortunately, the ending doesn't seem right and sure enough, the producer Ross Hunter had Sirk reshoot the original downbeat ending and substitute a happy one. Stanwyck is in her element here with a lovely performance but with the exception of Maureen O'Sullivan as a teacher in love with Carlson, there's no one in the cast on her level. Who wouldn't jump town being married to Richard Carlson? With Lyle Bettger, Marcia Henderson, Richard Long, Stuart Whitman, Brett Halsey and Lottie Stein.

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