This past Sunday I streamed Desire Under the Elms on Netflix. This movie is based on a play of the same title written by Eugene O’Neill in 1924. The movie came out on March 12, 1958. The film stars Sophia Loren as Anna Cabot, Anthony Perkins as Eben Cabot, Burl Ives as Ephraim Cabot, Pernell Roberts and Frank Overton as Peter and Simeon Cabot. Some of you may remember that Pernell Roberts later starred as Trapper John MD on television.
The entire cast of this movie did an outstanding job. Let me start with Sophia Loren. As usual, Sophia is absolutely GORGEOUS in this film. Sophia’s beauty is definitely in a category of its own. Also being Italian, no one can deny that Sophia’s heavy Italian accent in the movie is genuine. It was also lovely to listen too. Of course Sophia had to speak English in this movie and she pronounced every word clearly and distinctly.
As Anna, Sophia Loren plays a 25-year-old Italian immigrant. Anna works as a waitress and that is how she meets Ephraim Cabot. Ephraim is on old man of 76 years who has been widowed twice and has three sons. Anna marries Ephraim so that she will finally have a home and land to call her own. Ephraim though is a stingy and mean-spirited. He hides his money so that no one can find it and does not want to leave his family anything after he dies. Ephraim would rather see the house burned down before anyone gets their hands on it, including Anna.
Eben Cabot knows where his father always kept his money hidden. When Eben was a little boy and his mother was still alive she showed him where his father hides his money and to never forget it. Eben’s mother also told him that the land rightfully belongs to him when she dies. Eben who loves his mother dearly never forgot and vowed to make sure he gets what is rightfully his, which is the house and the land.
Eben Cabot is brilliantly played by Anthony Perkins. He is very handsome in this movie too.
Eben takes money out of the bag that his father has hidden and pays off his brothers Peter and Simeon to leave and sign a legal document stating that both of them give up their rights to the house and land.
Pernell; Roberts and Frank Overton as brothers Peter and Simeon Cabot.
Ephraim Cabot, played by Burl Ives, brings home his new wife Anna.
Anna and Eben fall in love and start having an affair behind Ephraim’s back
Eben is a nice enough guy, but he likes to blame everyone around him for everything. At one point Eben blames his affair with Anna on her alone as if he was not a willing participant and just as in love with her as she is with him. This Eben does just on the words of his father whom he never liked or trusted. All of a sudden Eben takes his father’s words for truth in that instance which makes no sense.
This is the ending scene of Ephraim standing under a tree alone. Ephraim still has his land, house and money but he drove away everyone in his family so what good is it to have all of those things if no one loves you or wants to be around you. The ending did seem kind of sudden though. All in all this is a very good movie and it kept me engaged.
Anthony Perkins during early movie production.
During filming of Desire Under the Elms.