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Desert Bloom

Desert Bloom emerges a muted, intelligently observed story [by Linda Remy and Eugene Corr] of a girl's growing pains in an emotionally deprived and politically warped environment.

Desert Bloom emerges a muted, intelligently observed story [by Linda Remy and Eugene Corr] of a girl’s growing pains in an emotionally deprived and politically warped environment.

Arid setting in question is Las Vegas, 1950, where Second World War vet Jon Voight runs a gas station and is stepfather to JoBeth Williams’ three daughters, the oldest of whom is the 13-year-old Rose, played by Annabeth Gish.

Big events in the household are the arrival of the girls’ Aunt Starr (Ellen Barkin), a glamorous showgirl type who will live with the family for the 42 days necessary to obtain a quickie divorce, and the impending atmospheric A-bomb test, for which the entire community is preparing as if it were the second coming.

Due to her good housewife role, Williams can do little but be overshadowed by Barkin, who delivers a wonderfully splashy turn as the unlucky but resilient sexpot. Gish is a find as Rose. Obviously bright and physically reminiscent of another actress of about the same age, Jennifer Connelly, she almost singlehandedly lends the film its intelligent air and makes one root for Rose to survive her squalid upbringing.

Desert Bloom

  • Production: Carson. Director Eugene Corr; Producer Michael Hausman; Screenplay Eugene Corr; Camera Reynaldo Villalobos; Editor David Garfield, John Currin, Cari Coughlin; Music Brad Fiedel; Art Director Lawrence Miller
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1986. Running time: 104 MIN.
  • With: Jon Voight JoBeth Williams Ellen Barkin Allen Garfield Annabeth Gish
  • Music By: