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Desert Hearts (Ws) [DVD] [1985] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Helen Shaver , Patricia Charbonneau , Donna Deitch    DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Price: £35.95
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.


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Desert Hearts (Ws) [DVD] [1985] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Kiss Me [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Andra Akers, Dean Butler
  • Directors: Donna Deitch
  • Writers: Jane Rule, Natalie Cooper
  • Producers: Donna Deitch, Cami Taylor, Carol Jefferies
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Jan 2001
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000053VAU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,917 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Highly acclaimed lesbian-themed romantic drama loosely based on the Jane Rule novel Desert of the Heart. Directed by Donna Deitch, the film stars Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau, with Audra Lindley & Denise Crosby in supporting roles. * Trivia; AWARDS: - 1985 Locarno International Film Festival Bronze Leopard - Helen Shaver (winner) & 1987 Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead - Patricia Charbonneau (nominated). 1986 Sundance Film Festival Honorable Mention - Dramatic. 1986 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize (nominated).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all die hard romantics 1 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I have seen this film a dozen times and each time something new hits me. It's the story of an academic who arrives in town to get a quickie divorce from her husband. She stays on a ranch and meets the woman who will change her life. The first time I saw this film there were parts of it that made me cringe and other bits that I thought were great. The music score is full of wonderful 50's songs with 'Crazy' by Patsy Cline being the theme for the film. The film also includes the best lesbian love scene ever filmed. It's a must for all those lesbians out there looking for a happy ending.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Make no mistake, I love this film but it differs significantly from Jane Rule's novel, "Desert of the Heart."
All credit to Donna Deitch for attempting such a difficult adaptation on a fairly low budget. She has captured some of the essence of the story and portrayed the characters beautifully but film does not adapt well to the nuances of the novel which is a superb development of characters, their thoughts and feelings, and the gradual transition of Vivien's (the professor's) self-dicovery from moral dilemma to total surrender.
Beautiful episodes (such as the whole of Chapter 5 where Vivian (Evelyn in the book) is first aware of her "desert of the heart", and the last chapter, are absent. Sex, approached very gradually in the book, amounts to a single scene in the film.
In case you've read the book, Deitch alters the plot in three sifgnificant ways: Frances throws Vivien out of her lodgings in disgust whereas in the book Frances' regard is sufficiently understanding that, for example, she acts as a witness in Vivian's divorce. ii) The film's closing scenes are something of a cop-out: Vivian and Cay clearly and voluntarily part. This seems to set their relationship on the level of sex, where the book suggests an enduring love: Evelyn realises just in time that she can no longer walk away from Cay. The close of the book is a real cliffhanger.
Finally, Cay's talent for cartoon drawing is omitted. It features in their developing relationship and is an early vehicle for finding themselves together in Cay's bedroom.
Although the sex scene is explicit, Deitch's treatment is extraordinarily poetic without being sentimantal. It is among the most beautiful erotic moments in film, surely. All in all, the film has many subtleties of its own and bears repeated viewing.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Desert Hearts 1 Sep 2004
By A Customer
This was the first 'lesbian film' I ever saw. It remains a favourite not because it is the best but because of the wonderful way it represents its topic. The film is not a close interpretation of Jane Rule's novel but remains loyal to its spirit.
Basically a college professor goes to Reno for a quicky divorce from her husband and ends up falling for the step daughter of the owner at whose ranch she is boarding. The film progresses slowly to the scene where the two women finally give into their feelings - but it's worth the wait. Helen Shaver is great as the college professor and plays the part with enough tension to really get over her apprehension about having an affair with another woman.
One of the most remarkable things about the film is the use of music - a fantastic 50's score really gives it atmosphere. 'Tell Him He'll Have To Go' is great and of course Patsy Cline's 'Crazy' is the film's anthem.
I can't recommend this film enough. It's one of those milestones in coming out. However it is also one of those films you will love or hate. It has a'happy' ending in that both women leave together - Rule was one of the first to give lesbians a happy ending in her novels. You will be disappointed if you are expecting a 'Go Fish' type film but if you are a die hard romantic buy it today!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great screen romances 4 April 2005
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
(This review contains no plot spoilers!) In my view, this surely ranks as one of the great screen romances, alongside Manhattan, Brief Encounter, Notting Hill, Gregory's Girl, and Maurice. OK, so it's low budget and made in 1985, and thus doesn't have the high gloss of a bigger modern movie. But it's a gem that has that magic blend of locations, actors, period flavour, clothes, storyline and music. I'd read Jane Rule's classic novel first, then saw Desert Heats at the cinema - the film is just as good, and I knew the storyline. If you don't know how it ends (I'm not telling!), seeing this for the first time will just blow you away. A great date movie, although it probably plays best at the cinema. The DVD is widescreen and the sound-design is really very well done. So, for best appreciation: close the curtains, pump up your hi-fi sound-system, and view on a big widescreen TV -- this isn't one for viewing on a tiny standard TV way over the other side of your living room. The time at which the movie's set (1959) makes the story even more poigniant. Even though we're out in the Reno desert, San Francisco and the 1960s are just a short hop away, so you kind of mentally "fill in" the possible future. The music is just perfect, very seamless and in-keeping with the settings; thankfully this movie was made before the current fashion for jamming the soundtrack full of the latest tween bands in order to sell a few CDs ("hey, we ruin the film - so what?"). This is a super DVD - you won't disappointed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
This was the first movie I saw where the woman didn't go back to the man. It was an inspiration! Things are very different today but back when this was first shown on TV in the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by SAM
2.0 out of 5 stars Movie great- But looks like a pirate copy!
I love the film but this is seriously bad coping! My advice don't buy it from this seller! find someone else as this is absolutely awful to sit through!
Published 4 months ago by Earth Angel
1.0 out of 5 stars I was unable to view this DVD
Although this was sold as region 2, suitable for Europe, I was unable to view this movie on either my laptop,without changing the tuning, or my DVD player(uk). Read more
Published 5 months ago by pauline morritt
1.0 out of 5 stars subtitle
DVD is region 2 but unable to play on standard DVD player had to play through laptop also Spanish version
Published 6 months ago by Miss C. partington
5.0 out of 5 stars Good 'un
Bloody good film. Not seen it since it was on Channel 4 all those years ago. Would recommend it to everyone
Published 9 months ago by hairrocka
5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Hearts
Best Lesbian Film out there I've found love the story line pity they didn't do another one, Desert Hearts 2 to follow them .
Published 13 months ago by Shirley
5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Hearts
Probably still one of the best Gay films that came out in the late 90's Acting really good by all.
Published 14 months ago by Sue Naylor
5.0 out of 5 stars something really special
Desert Hearts is a radical film shot in a fairly traditional style, which I like a lot, because there is no risk of the central premise being upstaged by the technical aspect and... Read more
Published on 19 May 2012 by schumann_bg
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
This film is a true classic - I have tried to source it a few times but without success - thank you Amazon. Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2011 by DDM
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic retro
A landmark in its heyday. Now remarkably tame by modern standards. Atmospheric tear jerking discovery movie. Classic country music. Read more
Published on 5 Nov 2010 by Dawn M. Wilkie
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