All I Desire

Synopsis: In 1900, Naomi Murdoch deserted her small-town family to go on the stage. Some ten years later, daughter Lily invites Naomi back to see her in the Riverdale high school play. Her arrival sets the whole town abuzz, wakes up old conflicts, and sets off new emotional storms.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Douglas Sirk
Production: Universal
Rotten Tomatoes:
80 min

Naomi Murdoch, that's me.

Not quite at the bottom of the bill yet

and not quite at the end of my rope.

But I can't say I'm making an impression

on audiences these days.

Not that I ever made much anyway.

But now with the season over

and the heat of the summer coming...

the air in these broken-down theatres

is even staler than usual.

And, brother, there's not much

to look forward to.

Well, I guess some people might say

maybe I asked for it.

Boy, that audience is like ice

out there tonight.

These hicks wouldn't get off their hands

for Lillian Russell.

Here's some mail for you.

Well, I started out holding the hoops

for Miller's Wonder Dogs.

- I guess I can always go back to it.

- For Pete's sake, Naomi.

You're too classy for vaudeville.

You ought to go back to legit.

Yeah, they loved me in Detroit.

There's real prestige in legit.

New parts all the time.

You don't have to worry about getting old.

What's the matter, honey?

You look like you saw a ghost.

- No.

- Bad news?

Well, it's a laugh, that's all.

- "Dearest mother."

- I told you it was a laugh.

"I don't know if you ever think of me,

but I think of you.

"I'm graduating from high school this year

and I'm in the senior play on May 20.

"I suppose this doesn't sound much

to a great star like you."

Go ahead.

"And I know your career

must keep you very busy."

Gets funnier, doesn't it?

"But there's only one present I would like

and that is to have you there.

"Your adoring, Lily."

You never said...

That I had a kid?

I've got three. Two girls and a boy.

And I walked out on them. My husband, too.

1900, it wasn't going to be

a Happy New Year for me,

it was going to be a happy new century.

Not much to be proud of, is it?

And you haven't seen them

in all these years?

I had a reason. Lots of reasons.

You should have seen me trying to be

a wife of a schoolteacher

back there in the great big town

of Riverdale, Wisconsin.

I don't think the town approved of me.

After a while, he didn't either.

He always said

I'd wind up disgracing him and the kids.

- I guess, maybe I did.

- Another man?

I pulled out before

there was a scandal that would have...

I guess I did the right thing.

There's somebody back there

who lets me know how they're doing.

She says they're doing just fine.

Sure be fun to go up there

and see how they all look.

The catch is they'd see me,

the great big star.

I'm supposed to be in Europe

doing Shakespeare.

- Is that so?

- That's my story and I'm stuck with it.

- It'll be great going back. You gotta, Naomi.

- Oh, Belle.

The kid's counting on it.

They don't have to know how you're doing.

Let your hair go back to natural.

Act real classy.

Why, you'd be their idea

of a perfect lady and a big star.

- I've done it on the stage.

- Do you need a few bucks?

No, I've got enough for a quick trip,

what I saved to see me through the summer.

I could get a couple of outfits and...

Oh, sure, what do I need

with a bank account?

Something will turn up before August.

Something always does.

- Belle, it would be fun.

- Yeah.

Oh, I never thought I'd see that town

of Riverdale, Wisconsin again.

What a burn. What a burn.

I'll bet it isn't changed a bit.

Population must still be under 5,000.

Not a new building on the town square

since I left

and where a buggy ride in the country

is a big thrill.

The same solid white frame houses

in the residential district,

the feel of the wind in the dusty streets.

The lawns the husbands were so proud of.

And those carriage steps. Golly!

I wonder if the old granite one

in front of the house is still there

with "Murdoch" chiselled in it.

- Ill see you later, Russ.

- What's your hurry?

Well, look.

I've got so many things

to take care of today. Lily's play...

- For Pete's sake.

- And the party tonight.

Poor Dad's so busy with graduation week,

he's no help.

And if I didn't look after Dad

and Ted and Lily, who would?

Well, I just want you to look after me, too.

I'm sorry, Russ,

if I don't meet with your approval.

Wait a minute, Joyce.

This is me, your fianc, remember?

- Now, don't go away peeved.

- I'm not peeved.

All right, then.

- Shall we scandalise the neighbours?

- Russ, really!

- Thanks for bringing me home.

- You're welcome.


You can find me, dear sister, in the scullery.

Lily, come upstairs

so I can finish your costume.

Everything's here, Lena.

The paper baskets are on top so be careful.

- All right.

- It's not a costume, it's a gown.

And is it a daisy!

Just put one pecan

and one almond in each basket.

You can fill them up with the cheap ones.

How many times must I tell you,

one doesn't eat honey without bread.

What if one doesn't care for bread?

- That's not the point. Is Ted home?

- Uptown someplace.

You shouldn't have your feet up like that.

It's not ladylike.

- Anna Held even smokes cigars...

- You're not Anna Held yet, young lady.

- Oh! Did you buy the sash?

- Well, of course I did.

Would I forget

the most important accessory of all?

Lt's really divine, isn't it, Lena?

The most heavenly cyclamen.

- It's pink.

- Come on, Lily, we've got a lot to do.

Ill be there in just a little minute.

Lena, is it all going to be... wasted?

What's wasted?

Well, this evening. My performance.

All my preparations.

Oh, Lily, we sent the letter to that agency

in Chicago.

That's all we could do.

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

James Gunn

James Gunn is an American filmmaker, actor, novelist, and musician. He started his career as a screenwriter in the mid-1990s, writing the scripts for Tromeo and Juliet, Scooby-Doo and its sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004), and the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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