As You Desire Me (film)

As You Desire Me is a 1932 American pre-Code film adaptation of the play by Luigi Pirandello released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was produced and directed by George Fitzmaurice with Irving Thalberg as co-producer. The adaptation was by Gene Markey, the cinematography by William H. Daniels, the art direction by Cedric Gibbons and the costume design by Adrian.

As You Desire Me
Original film poster
Directed byGeorge Fitzmaurice
Produced byGeorge Fitzmaurice
Irving Thalberg
Written byGene Markey
Luigi Pirandello (play)
StarringGreta Garbo
Melvyn Douglas
Erich von Stroheim
Owen Moore
Hedda Hopper
CinematographyWilliam H. Daniels
Edited byGeorge Hively
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
May 28, 1932
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film stars Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas with Erich von Stroheim, Owen Moore and Hedda Hopper. Its running time is less than 71 minutes, making it the shortest of all Garbo's Hollywood films.

This is also the only film in which Garbo appears as a blonde. It made $1,362,000.[1]


Budapest bar entertainer Zara (Greta Garbo) is a discontented alcoholic who is pursued by many men but lives with novelist Carl Salter (Erich von Stroheim). A strange man called Tony (Owen Moore) shows up on Salter's estate claiming that Zara is actually Maria, the wife of his close friend Bruno. Maria, Tony claims, had her memory destroyed during a World War I invasion 10 years ago. Zara doesn't remember but leaves with Tony to Salter's dismay. Bruno, now an officer in the Italian Army, tries to coax Maria's memory back on his large estate. No one is really sure if Zara is Maria, and when Salter shows up with a mental case from Trieste that he claims is the real Maria, everyone on Bruno's estate is desperately searching for the truth.

The narrative structure of As You Desire Me was used by Marcelle Maurette for her play Anastasia, which was translated into English by Guy Bolton, then later fashioned into the 1956 film Anastasia, penned by Bolton and Arthur Laurents. The dual plot of amnesia victim who may or may not be someone and the income to be gained by proving the identity were the key plot devices.

Cast (in credits order)


  1. 'The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 by The American Film Institute, c. 1993

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