Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Queen Norma Shearer ~ Their Own Desire (1929) now on DVD

I cannot tell you how happy I am that one of my top favorite Norma Shearer films is now out on DVD, thanks to the Warner Archive Collection. And now that they are doing nice original packaging for these DVD-Rs (instead of that boring navy blue swirly design they were previously using), Their Own Desire (1929) gets an awesome treatment with this funky contemporary colorized cover!

The movie itself is a feast for the eyes. Many scenes were shot at the Norconian Resort in Norco, California which was an Art Deco paradise. I secretly dream of breaking into the abandoned resort and looking for the lost and decaying Art Deco treasures. The resort boasted an amazing Art Deco swimming pool and Norma Shearer got to show off her diving skills in a great scene with Robert Montgomery. They both hit the water and share an underwater kiss which to me is an iconic representation of the film, the resort and the era.

There is lots more for the eye to feast on! A dancing scene with moving lights and shadows is the essence of cool Art Deco/1920s style. The rich soak up the sun and get some exercise with a nice game of polo. And the clothes. Oh the clothes. I want them all.

Believe it or not, there is a story too but this is where I separate from other folks. Most people do not like the story because they feel it's lacking in substance and is full of predictable cliches. However, I am very drawn to stories about rich jaded people who are so bored and numb that they manipulate lives to get themselves to feel something. Bonjour Tristesse (1958) anyone? And that's what this is. A story about rich people bored with life. To me that's fascinating. Norma Shearer stars as Lally, a young beautiful rich girl who escapes to a resort with her mother after they have found out that her father, Lewis Stone, is having an affair with another woman. At the resort, Lally meets Jack, Robert Montgomery, and they fall in love. Trouble is, Jack is the son of Beth, the woman who is having an affair with Lally's father. Oops! It's the type of soap opera that only a really excellent Pre-Code film can provide.

I wrote a short review back in 2008 when I first saw the film on TCM and I forsee writing more about this in the future. Now that this is on DVD, I hope to purchase it and make some lovely screen cap collections of all the Art Deco beauty of this film. Maybe I'll even make it a week long affair. Stay tuned... 


  1. I also love this movie! Robert and Norma had such great chemistry... and that line "I'm going to take you to church someday..." So great! Thanks for the post! It's nice to find another Desire fan

  2. This sounds awesome! I will need to check it out.

  3. I noticed this yesterday when ClassicFlix added this to their website, & I queued it instantly. I'm glad to hear it's really good! :)

  4. Love this movie! I'd like to own it too.

    The Archive's new strategy with more individual covers is interesting --

    Best wishes,

  5. My favorite screen couple in their first pairing! Their Own Desire is not only a really good film, it's also a very good example of how sound engineering had improved during a very brief but hectic period. MGM's house sound engineer was Douglas Shearer, Norma's brother.

    The frightfully classy dancing scene also shows how fluid an early talkie could be. MGM showed how to deal with new technology better than most studios at the time.

  6. Thanks for the good review. And glad you like the new covers!

  7. I am running. . . not walking to my video outlet to get this DVD. Or no, wait, I'll just drive.

    Thanks for the charming review!

  8. Hi,
    I had no idea that portions of this movie were filmed at the Norconian. I live in Riverside and volunteer at Heritage House. At a recent docent meeting we had a special guest speaker lecture about this wonderful treasure in Norco. Of course I missed this meeting, darn! Will have to watch this movie again soon. Love your blog!


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