Desire Under the Elms

Watch Desire Under the Elms

  • Approved
  • 1958
  • 1 hr 51 min
  • 6.5  (1,436)

Desire Under the Elms, a film adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play of the same name, is a captivating exploration of love, family, and greed. Directed by Delbert Mann, the movie stars Sophia Loren, Anthony Perkins, and Burl Ives in prominent roles. Set in New England in the mid-19th century, the story revolves around a family of three: Ephraim Cabot (Burl Ives), his son Eben (Anthony Perkins), and his younger wife Abbie (Sophia Loren). Ephraim is a harsh, domineering man who rules over his farm with an iron fist, while Eben resents his father's treatment and longs for a better life. When Abbie arrives on the farm as Ephraim's new wife, Eben finds himself strangely attracted to her, and the two begin a torrid affair that sets off a chain of events that threatens to tear the family apart.

One of the most striking elements of the film is the stark beauty of its setting. The farm is situated in a rugged, mountainous region, with the titular elms providing a haunting backdrop to the drama that unfolds. The natural landscape serves as a vivid contrast to the dark and twisted emotions that drive the characters, emphasizing the primal and elemental nature of their desires.

The movie also benefits greatly from the performances of its three leads, each of whom brings depth and nuance to their roles. Burl Ives is particularly impressive as the gruff and uncompromising Ephraim, imbuing the character with a sense of menace that makes it clear why his family is so afraid of him. Sophia Loren, meanwhile, is magnetic as the sensual and determined Abbie, her fiery passion threatening to consume everything around her. Anthony Perkins, for his part, delivers a subtle and nuanced performance as Eben, bringing out the character's inner turmoil as he struggles to reconcile his love for Abbie with his feelings of anger and betrayal towards his father.

Desire Under the Elms is not a film for the faint of heart. The characters are flawed and complex, their desires dark and dangerous. But it is precisely this darkness that makes the movie so compelling. It is a story about the primal forces that drive us all – love, lust, greed, and power – and the often tragic consequences that result when we give into them.

Throughout the film, there is a palpable sense of tension that builds towards a shocking climax. As the characters' desires clash and intertwine, it becomes clear that there can be no happy ending for any of them. But despite the bleakness of its themes, Desire Under the Elms remains a mesmerizing and unforgettable cinematic experience, one that grips the viewer from beginning to end.

Desire Under the Elms is a 1958 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 51 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.

Desire Under the Elms
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 51 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (1,436)