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Three Americans are headed by ship around the cape to the California gold fields when they are put ashore for several weeks in a sleepy little Mexican village. While there, they are offered the job of following a lady deep into the indian infested mountains of Mexico to rescue the ladies husband trapped by a cave-in at their gold mine. For the job they are promised two thousand dollars each. While each contemplates their own chances for getting the lady and /or the gold mine, if they can survive to enjoy it. Written by
Ronnie L. Hyde
Henry Hathaway made so many and such a variety of films, that when he did something outstanding like this western, people were kind of anesthetized and did not give it the value it deserved. 'Garden of Evil' has a great story, great actors, and a fabulous scenery. Not even Anthony Mann achieved this perfection of blending scenery and story. The story is about three men, Cooper, Widmark and Mitchell which are on a steam ship that breaks down and has to be fixed on the coast of Mexico, at a time where there was no Panama Canal, and they had to pass through Cape Horn, so the Pacific Coast was kind of unreachable and mysterious. There, while they have to wait, they are hired by Susan Hayward to free her husband stuck on a gold mine on a territory full of Apaches. They all desire the gold and also the woman, and she uses her power of seduction to command them. When they get to the place, which is called Garden of Evil, and realize that they might not come out alive, each one makes a choice about higher or lower values. There is an impressive fight between Mitchell and Cooper where Mitchell is repeatedly thrown into the fire. Rita Moreno in a small part where she only has a chance to sing half of two songs, is breathtakingly beautiful. Susan Hayward is excellent, Hathaway was able to bring out the best in her as he did in 'Rawhide'. One of the best lines is when Cooper says to Hayward referring to her husband, that what counts is what one does and not what he speaks. This film should be on any list of the all time best westerns.
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