Film told in flashbacks of an older man's obsession for a woman who can belong to no-one but can frustrate everyone. The backdrop is SternbergÍs surreal and fantastic Carnaval in Spain. In ... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Edward Everett Horton
Hank McHenry and Johnny Marshall work on a road crew for the power company. In a freak accident Hank is injured and is promoted to foreman of the gang. One night Hank and Johnny meet Fay ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
Domini, an heiress who has led a cloistered life, visits the North African desert for spiritual renewal. There she meets Boris, recently escaped from a Trappist monastery. Their friendship ripens into love, but he conceals his past from her. Then in a remote oasis, they meet a man who knows his secret. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
I give this movie an A+ for the sheer camp of it! As Dietrich's daughter Maria Riva wrote in the book on her mother, "If one sees The Garden of Allah in the context of high camp, it can be very amusing." And how! I laughed with delight at the overwrought score and the astoundingly, ridiculously, fantastically melodramatic dialogue. Viewers who've read the accounts of Boyer's toupee (it kept coming unstuck in the heat) will snicker every time it makes an appearance.
Dietrich and Boyer rarely look at each other when giving their lines -- instead they gaze dreamily off into the distance, presumably so their faces can be photographed at the best angle and with the most advantageous light (if you're starring in a turkey might as well look good!). Dietrich's costumes are out of this world. As Riva notes in her book, Dietrich managed to steal Paramount's Travis Banton and have him design some of the most divine gowns, such as the chiffon beige dress & cape.
I heartily agree with the other reviewers who rave about the Technicolor. It really is hard to believe the film was done in 1936 -- the color is fantastic.
In short, if you watch The Garden of Allah with a lenient attitude and embrace its silliness, you can't help but enjoy it.
27 of 39 people found this review helpful.
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