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The Pleasure Garden (1953)

People quietly or campily pass the time in an overgrown garden full of statues, while a puritanical, funereal gentleman posts bills prohibiting all leisure activities.



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Credited cast:
Jean Anderson ...
Aunt Minerva
Maxine Audley ...
Lady Ennui
Jill Bennett ...
Miss Kellerman
Gontron Gouldon ...
Dr. Hemingway
Victoria Grayson ...
Miss Greaves
Derek Hart ...
Lord Ennui
John Heawood ...
Mr. Nurmi
Daphne Hunter ...
Girl in grass
Hattie Jacques ...
Mrs. Albion
Col. Pall K Gargoyle
Hilary Mackendrick ...
Miss Wheeling
Diana Maddox ...
Mary Lee Settle ...
Mme Paganini
Kermit Sheets ...


People quietly or campily pass the time in an overgrown garden full of statues, while a puritanical, funereal gentleman posts bills prohibiting all leisure activities. Written by David Stanko

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Release Date:

27 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il giardino del piacere  »

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User Reviews

18 August 2004 | by (Leicester, England) – See all my reviews

It's difficult for me to comment on this movie. My primary reasons for seeing it were to see the ruins of the Crystal Palace before most of the remaining statues (after the fire) were removed. And, to see both Hattie Jacques and John Le Mesurier in early, and unusual, roles. Both of these requirements are amply fulfilled. It's difficult for me to imagine how I'd react to this movie if it was set somewhere I've never seen, and if I didn't know any of the actors. But, as there are no other comments for this movie yet, I'll try.

As a movie, I'd compared it to other non-traditional movies such as Robinson in Space, or Derek Jarman's The Garden. Except that The Pleasure Garden is very, very dated. Quaint doesn't even begin to describe it. The plot is simple, and knowing the plot ahead of time is no spoiler. A number of characters (and they are definitely characters) meet up in a strange ruined landscape (that this is Crystal Palace is not part of the story), and discover themselves and each other, all clearly heading in the direction of discovering the, shall we say, joys of intimacy. John Le Mesurier's character Col. Pall K Gargoyle rushes around putting up signs banning almost any sort of fun, and admonishing (and even locking in some sort of prison) those who would dare to enjoy themselves. Into this comes Hattie Jacques' character, Mrs Albion. She is some sort of magical fairy cupid godmother figure who uses her magic to liberate people and set them on the road to, it must be said, intimacy. The climax is a battle between the forces of repression and the forces of quaint hedonism.

This movie could be described as a strange mixture of carry on films, Disney, and art house. But, it is dated. Seeing a woman posing in her petticoat is not exactly shocking in the 21st century. And, did I say it was dated? It's more than just the movie not being explicit. The movie has a fair number of songs on the soundtrack, and they are dated. No pulsating rock track here. The dialog sounds dated. The whole concept is dated.

But, if you're interested in seeing a true curio of a movie. Or, if you just want to see early performances of Hattie Jacques and John Le Mesurier. Or, if you want to see what Crystal Palace looked like in the early 50s, this movie is worth checking out. If you want a Hollywood Blockbuster, you'll be well advised to look elsewhere.

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