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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  21 November 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 30,701 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 210 user | 91 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

A visiting city reporter's assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire, whom he befriends.



(book), (screenplay)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lady Chablis ...
Chablis Deveau (as The Lady Chablis)
Dorothy Loudon ...
Betty Harty
Luther Driggers
Henry Skerridge
Detective Boone
Finley Largent


This panoramic tale of Savannah's eccentricities focuses on a murder and the subsequent trial of Jim Williams: self made man, art collector, antiques dealer, bon vivant and semi-closeted homosexual. John Kelso a magazine reporter finds himself in Savannah amid the beautiful architecture and odd doings to write a feature on one of William's famous Christmas parties. He is intrigued by Williams from the start, but his curiosity is piqued when he meets Jim's violent, young and sexy lover, Billy. Later that night, Billy is dead, and Kelso stays on to cover the murder trial. Along the way he encounters the irrepressible Lady Chablis, a drag queen commedienne, Sonny Seiler, lawyer to Williams, whose famous dog UGA is the official mascot of the Georgia Bulldogs, an odd man who keeps flies attached to mini leashes on his lapels and threatens daily to poison the water supply, the Married Ladies Card Club, and Minerva, a spiritualist. Between being Jim's buddy, cuddling up to a torch singer, ... Written by Teresa B. O'Donnell <sun.moon.stars@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Welcome to Savannah, Georgia. A City Of Hot Nights And Cold Blooded Murder.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief violence | See all certifications »





Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Medianoche en el jardín del bien y del mal  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,233,658 (USA) (21 November 1997)


£125,235 (UK) (17 April 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Despite the fact that this was filmed in the standard spherical format, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits. See more »


When John drives Lady Chablis home, the rearview mirror in the car disappears and re-appears. See more »


[first lines]
Minerva: Quit eye balling me, Flavius. I knew you when you was a two bit hustler on Bull Street.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing disclaimer: This film is based upon John Berendt's book "MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL". Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatization. See more »


This Time The Dream's On Me
Written by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen
Performed by Alison Krauss With Charlie Haden Quartet West
Alison Krauss appears courtesy of Rounder Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A slow, unrecognizable adaption of a wonderful book
12 May 1999 | by (california) – See all my reviews

Like many other fans of the novel, I decided to see 'Midnight' despite the unflattering reviews. After all, I reasoned, Kevin Spacey is a wonderful actor, and even a bad adaption of a wonderful novel might be tolerable. HOW BAD COULD IT BE??

I was wrong.

Regardless of whether you're a fan of the book or a 'newcomer', this movie is sure to disappoint. The novel, which consists of a number of hilarious character sketches followed by a short mystery, has been mangled into a remarkably mundane mystery plot. The screenwriter also threw in a romantic subplot, presumably because the filmgoing public demands it (or perhaps because the director's daughter needed a role?). Finally, Savannah's grace, charm, and quirkiness--conveyed so well in the book--has completely eluded the moviemakers.

Oh, and the movie is 2 hours too long.

The only saving grace of this movie is watching the charismatic Lady Chablis, played by herself. Still, it's much more fun to read about her, so save yourself the misery and grab the book.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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