Like A Woman's Face
and Keeper of the Flame, 1947's Desire Me was directed by
George Cukor. Cukor had an exquisite visual style, and Desire Me,
although flawed, has a haunted, misty atmosphere that disguises the uneven
Greer Garson plays Marise
Aubert, a widow whose grief over her husband Paul's death in a Nazi prison
camp has almost destroyed her. Into
her life comes Jean Renaud (Richard Hart), a former prison-mate of Paul
Aubert's (Robert Mitchum). Via flashbacks, we find that Jean, having
no family or sweetheart of his own, had survived prison life by hearing
about Marise from her husband and now feels he has the right to "claim"
her for his own. Marise, desperate for any contact with her
lost husband no matter how vicarious, is drawn into a strange, obsessive
relationship with the troubled Jean.
The luminous Garson does
her best, but that quality of serene assuredness that served her so well
in other roles is missing in the character of the confused widow.As for
her co-stars, there is far too little of a young Robert Mitchum (just on
the verge of becoming a major star), and way too much of Richard Hart,
a curiously unappealing actor whose early death cut short his movie career.
With hindsight we know
of Mitchum's ability to play manipulative and unsavory characters so well
that you fall for him no matter what, and it's interesting to speculate
Desire Me would have been like had the male roles been reversed.
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