All I Desire

There are things wrong with All I Desire, but Sirk isn't responsible for them. It didn't need the forced 'happy ending' for a start, and it should clearly have been made in colour. But Hollywood producers were even more stupid in 1953 than they are now, and directors didn't often get their way. Sirk was less compromised than most, because his strategy was a kind of 'hidden' subversion of genres like musicals and weepies: appearing to deliver the producer's goods, and simultaneously undercutting them. Here, the excellent Stanwyck plays an actress who hasn't made the grade, returning to the small-town family she walked out on after a scandalous affair with a local stud. She moves from one 'imitation of life' to another: from life-on-the-run in showbiz to life-under-wraps in Hicksville, Wisconsin. Sirk's delineation of the manners and 'morality' of bourgeois middle America is devastating; and the precision with which he dissects the repressions, jealousies and joys that permeate a family has never been rivalled.

Release details

Duration: 79 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Douglas Sirk
Screenwriter: James Gunn, Robert Blees
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck
Richard Carlson
Lyle Bettger
Maureen O'Sullivan
Lori Nelson
Marcia Henderson
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