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The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970)

 -  Drama  -  5 April 1971 (Uruguay)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 88 users  
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Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Robert T. Westbrook, the movie is about 23 year old Columbia University dropout (Stanley Sweetheart) who seeks his identity during the sexual ... See full summary »



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Title: The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970)

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Credited cast:
Linda Gillen ...
Barbara / Shayne
Michael Greer ...
Holly Near ...
Brandon Maggart ...
Man in Cafe
Stanley Sweetheart
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sandy Baron ...
Man telling joke in bar
Parker McCormick


Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Robert T. Westbrook, the movie is about 23 year old Columbia University dropout (Stanley Sweetheart) who seeks his identity during the sexual revolution. Written by Pfyre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Stanley Sweetheart needs a new head. He's growing one in his magic garden.




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 April 1971 (Uruguay)  »

Also Known As:

Amor a su manera  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Did You Know?


The film was chosen to be screened at the New York Film Festival in October of 1971. See more »


The shadow of one of the crewmembers is visible as Stanley walks through the psychedelic corridors of Danny's underworld to arrive at the place where the song "Water" is played. See more »


Stanley Sweetheart: [as a film director] I think you're going to enjoy this. It's an interesting character study of life.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tht title credit is followed directly by the music credits without even a passing mention to the actors. Only the crew members are credited in the opening credits. See more »


References Doctor Zhivago (1965) See more »


Nobody Knows
Music by Michel Legrand
Lyrics by Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman
See more »

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User Reviews

Extremely rare and often peculiar sleeper.
14 August 2000 | by (Brooklyn, New York) – See all my reviews

The extremely rare and often peculiar film "The Magic Garden Of Stanley Sweetheart" succeeds greatly as a cult film. It has all the ingredients for the perfect midnight movie. Based on the semi-autobiographical 60's drug n' love counterculture book by Robert T. Westbrook, it remains quite faithful to story and context. The story concerns a boy Stanley (a very young Don Johnson in his debut acting role) in his early 20's who goes to college in New York to become a film maker. He spends his time usually lost in daydreams and masturbation until he begins a relationship with classmate Cathy (well acted by Dianne Hull) who brings slight contentment and romance to his insecure life. Though through the relationship, Stanley soon finds boredom and begins an affair with her plump roommate and best friend Fran (Holly Near) while still carrying on with Cathy. The scene where he's trying to film Fran for one of his independent short films (apropriately titled "Masturbation") is at times funny, awkward, and clumsily executed. Stanley also occasionally meets up with friends Danny (well acted by Michael Greer who interestingly replaced Joe Dallesandro in the role, after Joe was fired from the set on one day of shooting!), Barbara (Linda Gillen) and Andrea (exotic Victoria Racimo) who he'll sometimes get high with. One night while Stanley and Cathy are sleeping, the uninvited three friends stop by to get Stanley and Cathy loaded. During the stoned experience you find Danny picking up on Cathy and Stanley becoming increasingly jealous. Soon however, Cathy will leave Stanley to pursue her new crush, while Stanley is left all alone to his daydreams. The "Magic Garden" refers to the place in his mind that he somehow finds solace and peace through his imagination and daydreams. The book will make this point clearer, than in the movie. At this point Stanley will fall into a hallucinagenic menage a trois with the two girlfriends Barbara and Andrea, only changing the direction of the film from light comedic romance to drug addict casualty. But these scenes are fantastic. Where else (but in the 60's) can you find such images as group sex, body painting, drugs galore, and psychedelic light shows all wrapped up with the most sugary bubblegum pop song in the world? (the song in question being "The Gingerbread Man"!) These scenes for counter culture freaks are absolutely priceless! What's really interesting is how downbeat the endings of movies were in the late 60's or early 70's. Why must every film from that era always be a casualty tale or sort? Also, another interesting aspect of the film is the hints of homosexuality in the script. Danny's leering at Don Johnson's bare chest suggests something that is never fully developed until the surprise ending which in itself has also got homosexual undertones (the sparing of the rabbits life signifying sensitivity, and the barrel of the gun signifying the phallus???). It's fitting that an actor like Joe Dallesandro (from Andy Warhol Factory and Paul Morrissey film fame) would have played the role of Danny. Because at times the film resembles some of Paul Morrissey's films in the depiction of New Yorker drop outs. Don Johnson at the time was a popular actor amongst gays, due to the exposure he received from the play "Fortune In Men's Eyes" a gay prison story directed by Sal Mineo. And one time TV show director Leonard Horn does every shot in an exploitative manner. You'll see numerous shots of Don bare chested, bare butt, or just plain nude. Also the obligatory gay pick up scene (ie: "Midnight Cowboy") in a cafe (which seems slightly out of place), where actor Brandon Maggart tries to pay Stanley for sexual services. All these scenes make for an awkwardness that the film either suffers or benefits from. (depending on your tastes?) I found myself slightly unsure of the director's intention with some of the material, which satisfied the thinking side of me, to make me want to see the film again. Was this a coming of age, sexual awareness film? A romantic comedy or drama? A drug counter culture film? I found it to be all these things. The film is by no means perfect (the acting is slightly shoddy at times), but I do think it's a tad underrated. I kept seeing these really horrible reviews of the film, but it wasn't too bad at all. It's always entertaining and interesting, and never dull. It's got a great soundtrack, (especially "Magic Mountain" by Eric Burdon and War) the clothes look great, and some of the filming is quite imaginable. It's a story that probably a lot of younger guys could and would relate to. Check out the scene when Stanley's short film called "Headless" is played for Cathy, it's a pretty funny and far out. Watch it late at night, if you can find it. It's definitely got cult movie appeal. I quite dug it myself!!!

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