Review: ‘Garden of Allah’

Garden of Allah, sumptuously and impressively mounted by David O. Selznick, impresses in color production but is a pretty dull affair. It is optically arresting and betimes emotionally gripping but, after a spell, the ecclesiastic significance of the Trappist monk whose earthly love cannot usurp his prior secular vows [from the book by Robert Hichens] peters out completely.

Garden of Allah, sumptuously and impressively mounted by David O. Selznick, impresses in color production but is a pretty dull affair. It is optically arresting and betimes emotionally gripping but, after a spell, the ecclesiastic significance of the Trappist monk whose earthly love cannot usurp his prior secular vows [from the book by Robert Hichens] peters out completely.

Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer are more than adequately competent in the leads, although sometimes slurring their lines. Basil Rathbone, C. Aubrey Smith, Tilly Losch (making her screen debut in a Bagdad cafe dancing sequence, and okay in what she does), Joseph Schildkraut (who almost steals the picture with his exaggerated oriental ingratiations) and John Carradine as the sandseer leave nothing wanting.

The color is particularly flattering to Dietrich, who has also taken off a little weight. In the flowing capes to which she is so partial, the color camera has caught her at her photographic best.

1936: Special Award (color cinematography).

Nominations: Best Score, Assistant Director (Eric G. Stacey)

Garden of Allah

Production

Selznick. Director Richard Boleslawski; Producer David O. Selznick; Screenplay W.P. Lipscomb, Lynn Riggs; Camera W. Howard Greene, Hal Rosson; Editor Hal C. Kern, Anson Stevenson; Music Max Steiner

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Marlene Dietrich Charles Boyer Basil Rathbone C. Aubrey Smith Joseph Schildkraut John Carradine
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