HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Maeve
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
   
 
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
   
 
  Death in the Garden Green Hell
Year: 1956
Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Simone Signoret, Charles Vanel, Georges Marchal, Michel Piccoli, Michèle Girardon, Tito Junco, Raúl Ramírez, Luis Aceves Castañeda, Jorge Martínez de Hoyos, Alberto Pedret, Marc Lambert, Stefani
Genre: Drama, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: There is diamond prospecting organised for this region of South America, which the business involved has been doing very well by, that is until the order comes through from the government to tell them to stop. The prospectors themselves, working by the river, are indignant at this, and set about advancing on the nearby town where the officials have set up as part of the military who now control the area, and the stage looks set for revolution against a strict, even tyrannical regime, especially when the leaders of the prospectors are told nobody will talk to them as long as they carry guns. As they see their weaponry as an important element of their bargaining power, there's a impasse approaching - but also approaching is an opportunist, Chark (Georges Marchal).

Death in the Garden was one of a number of sweaty adventure dramas to emerge from France, or rather places French filmmakers felt like filming across the world, preferably in sunbaked climes, after The Wages of Fear had enjoyed huge international success under the guidance of one of the nation's now-most respected directors, Henri-Georges Clouzot. What was less expected was that the Spanish legend of surrealism and subversive cinema Luis Buñuel would jump on this bandwagon, and this was the result, not a work that is often mentioned in the same breath as his major efforts, most of them in the surrealist vein, though Los Olvidados represented his finest achievement on leaving Europe behind for Central America.

With that latter point in mind, this was identifiably one of the director's endeavours from that part of the world, so perhaps reasoning he was there already and every filmmaker would like a hit, he would put his own spin on this strain of two-fisted adventure yarn. At first glance, there was perhaps not much to separate what was presented here from its contemporaries, indeed from some angles in its early stages it resembled what the Italians would do about the Western come the nineteen-sixties, especially those Mexican revolution tales which would take advantage of Southern Spanish locations to deliver a spot of Marxism to a very American genre. There was certainly an aspect of that here, as Chark initially is landed with the story's disdain.

Why? It's because there is a chance to overthrow an oppressive regime in this unnamed country, but all he is interested in is himself, in spite of having leadership qualities that could have corralled the population, starting with the prospectors, into some form of cohesive force. Thanks to this lack of organisation the uprising is a scrappy one and leads to the deaths of the citizens and the military alike, which led us from what from some angles was starting to look less Spaghetti Western and more one of those Hollywood melodramas from a decade or two before where stars would suffer romantically in exotic surroundings, to what was familiar territory for this French style. That was the jungle excursion, something that would culminate in the deeply unlovely cannibal exploitation flicks of the seventies and eighties.

Death in the Garden, with its title referencing the Garden of Eden, did not go as far as those, though it remained fairly strong, uncompromising stuff for 1956 with its swearing, violence and overt sexuality. The cast was a good one, with Simone Signoret headlining as the prostitute who is the match for Chark since she is only out for herself as well, and Michel Piccoli gave a good account of himself as the priest Lizzardi who is undercut in his authority when he has to move to save the old geezer scapegoated for starting the increasingly thwarted revolt. He was played by Charles Vanel, who had actually been in The Wages of Fear, and in a curious move he shared scenes with Michèle Girardon as his beautiful deaf mute daughter, not the sort of character you were accustomed to seeing in this context. That lengthy stretch when the main players were stuck trying to escape through the jungle was worth waiting for, having precisely zero romantic ideas of how harsh nature can be - did a young Werner Herzog see this? But if it was second division Luis Buñuel, that can be more interesting than a lot of director's triumphs. Music by Paul Misraki.

Aka: La mort en ce jardin

[Eureka's Masters of Cinema Blu-ray has a few featurettes as extras, including interviews with critic Tony Rayns and star Michel Piccoli, charming and sharp-witted in his nineties. The film has been restored: the majority of shots look very fine indeed.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1864 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: