THEIR OWN DESIRE

Produced and Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: December 27, 1929

Featured cast: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Lewis Stone

Producer: Irving Thalberg
Director: E. Mason Hopper; James Forbes (dialogue coach)
Screenwriters: Frances Marion; James Forbes (adaptation)
Source: Their Own Desire, a novel by Sarita Fuller
Cinematographer: William Daniels

THEME

A girl learns that her newfound boyfriend is the son of the woman who wrecked her parents' marriage.

PRODUCTION QUOTE

“Robert Montgomery, a comparative newcomer from Broadway, will appear opposite Norma Shearer in Their Own Desire. He recently completed an important role in Three Live Ghosts and also worked in College Days.”
- Ralph Wilk, “A Little from Lots,” The Film Daily, September 6, 1929

NOTE: The latter film was released in 1929 as So This Is College.

REVIEWS

“After The Trial of Mary Dugan and The Last of Mrs. Cheyney which combined to set Norma Shearer miles ahead of its nearest competitor in my estimation, it was too bad they chose Their Own Desire. It isn’t, perhaps, a bad picture. It may even be, in a sense, a good picture. But it isn’t a one-two kick with either of those mentioned, and I’m sorry about that. I’d hoped Miss Shearer had got away from scripts like this.”
- Exhibitor’s Herald-World, January 4, 1930

“With just a little restraint, this effort at an emotional epic might have been more than a vain attempt. Due to poor direction, the principals emote until both themselves and the audience are exhausted. As a climax, there is a stupendous studio storm and a tailored to box-office ending. Norma Shearer is badly miscast. A little hard to take after The Last of Mrs. Cheyney.”
- Photoplay, February 1930

LETTERS FROM REGIONAL THEATER OWNERS

“My patrons liked this one, and they told me so. Norma Shearer is a real star, and I hope she keeps the good work up.
- W. Burr, Orpheum Theatre, Lancaster, Wisconsin, Exhibitors Herald World, March 8, 1930

“Rather a slight story, but well developed. Splendid acting. Excellent recording on disc. Best photography we have had in months.”
- W.J. Powell, Lonet Theatre, Wellington, Ohio, Exhibitors Herald World, March 22, 1930

ARTIST COMMENT

Their Own Desire didn’t stop the world from spinning, but it was an attractive picture. I remember a scene with Bobby Montgomery—we were in each other’s arms dancing on a mirrored blue floor while seductive violins played something called ‘Blue Is the Night.’”
- Norma Shearer, Memoir Notes

FIGURES

Their Own Desire cost $351,000 and grossed $855,000.
(These figures have not been adjusted for inflation nor do they include profits from reissues, television syndication, and home entertainment formats.)

Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Portraits