Desire under the Elms
by Delbert Mann
TITLES & RELEASE
USA (New York City, Sutton &
Odeon Theaters) - March 12, 1958 - Desire
under the Elms - 114'
France (Cannes) -
May 5, 1958 - Désir sous les
West Germany -
October 31, 1958 - Begierde
unter Ulmen - 112'
1959 - Desiderio
sotto gli olmi -
Désir sous les
ormes / Liefde onder de olmen -
1959 - Deseo bajo
los olmos - 111' (attendance: 157.184)
the younger son of a wealthy, elderly New England farmer,
aspires to his father’s huge estate. He contrives to have his two
leave home to seek their fortune after renouncing their share of the
inheritance. But the father, Ephraim Cabot, returns home with a third
Anna, a young woman of Italian origins who has married him to escape
strong attraction immediately develops between Eben and Anna, but greed
them apart since both of them have aspirations toward the old man’s
estate. If only to succeed in her plan, Anna gives the old man the son
wants, but does not hesitate to sacrifice the child when Eben has
about her. He denounces her, but then follows her to share her destiny
he too feels guilty. Old Ephraim remains alone.
Story: from the drama of
the same name by Eugene O’Neill.
Studios, Hollywood, CA
dates: April - June 1957
arrives in Los Angeles from Italy on April 8 for the shooting
of her first American film in Hollywood.
Sophia Loren (Anna Cabot)
Anthony Perkins (Eben),
Burl lves (Ephraim Cabot)
Sophia's Makeup Artist:
Don Hartman for Paramount
film is a critical and financial disappointment.
The film is presented at the Cannes Film Festival but Sophia leaves the
Croisette a few hours before the official viewing.
Sophia and Carlo fly to Switzerland
after the film is completed in July and stay at a Burgenstock
chalet for a
With a record of three completed Hollywood
films, all filmed
abroad and not yet released, Sophia has Tony Perkins as her co-star in
based on a Eugene O'Neill drama.
Sophia's voice is dubbed by Mario Degler (German)
The baby Sophia Loren holds in the film is in fact four babies. The
California law allows a baby to be photographed for 20 minutes only.
strong performance in the role of the crafty and passion-charged woman
who makes for trouble down on the farm. Even though she is shown as
Italian and not the New Englander of the play, she is plausibly in the
spirit of the tempestuous
drama that unfolds. She is initially the spitfire who can tempt the
wild young man with cogent
wiles. Then she dissolves into a woman who is raptly and recklessly in
Crowther, New York Times
The best work is done by Sophia Loren... breath-stoppingly beautiful,
convincing as a woman who has been used harshly by men and who
needs to be revenged
on the world through this marriage and who is confounded by falling in
Kaufman, The New Republic
under the Elms
visually notable for what seems to be the first zealous application of
body makeup since Sophia's performance as
rare - she absorbs knowledge as a tree absorbs the sun and
an African in Aïda
(1953). In the film, Sophia sports a heavy tan, intended to suggest
wildness, and Mediterranean exoticism;
it is a look that works with the
Deirdre Donohue, Sophia Style
"I knew she was sexy. I knew she was exciting. Now I know something
else. The girl is an actress."
and Shaw abandon almost completely the intricate interplay between the
Perkins and Ives characters, centering attention on Loren in her
debut, which was a disaster. She was wholly unsuitable for her role,
undoubtedly received because of the constant pressure by Italian
Ponti, her husband."
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