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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 28,296 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 205 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.

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Title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Medianoche en el jardín del bien y del mal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£125,235 (UK) (17 April 1998)

Gross:

£125,235 (UK) (17 April 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Mercer House, the house Jim Williams lived in, was originally built for Hugh Weedon Mercer. Hugh Mercer was the great-grandfather of Johnny Mercer, who co-wrote most of the songs included in the movie's soundtrack. The movie's opening shot, by the way, is of Johnny Mercer's gravestone. See more »

Goofs

(at around 2h 09 mins) In the courtroom the lawyer, Sonny, refers to his client as "Tim" not Jim. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

References La Bamba (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Rain Or Come Shine
Written by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen
Performed by Alison Eastwood
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good Lord, I can't take my eyes off Kevin Spacey
13 April 2005 | by (Lille, France) – See all my reviews

Like every film Clint Eastwood makes, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is fascinated by the mystery of masculinity: what it means to be a man, and what you have to do to be the kind of man you think you need to be -- whether that's a father, a member of a cultural group, or the ideal man in a certain social situation. Two highly-acclaimed recent Eastwood films -- "Mystic River" and "Million-Dollar Baby" -- mildly disappointed me by sinking into oversimplification and predictability. Possibly Eastwood's directing hand is more interesting when less "self-assured," because 1997's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" follows these questions down less well-defined, and thus less predictable, paths. Maintaining a scrupulously neutral eye, the film recounts a complex tale of murder, involving characters who are recognizable types on the surface but carry deep difference underneath. It unfurls a slow, rich, and troubling narrative which answers the mysteries of its crime premise even as it opens much more difficult questions about the very things that murder stories are supposed to make simple: innocence, guilt, motivations, affection, and its characters' so-called morality.

Thanks in large part to a literally mesmerizing performance by Kevin Spacey (I'm riveted every time he appears on screen) and a well- balanced turn by John Cusack as the sympathetic investigating reporter, who charms us even as he maintains a total and focused receptivity to new information and strange events, the movie fills its two and a half hours with a slow-paced and carefully balanced story that brings us into the suffocating green world of Southern Gothic, with its all its mannered refinements, thick silences and passionate secrets. There's something in this film that would have pleased Tennessee Williams or Truman Capote, those cool-eyed investigators of the closeted South. John Berendt's nuanced book, Spacey's restrained, smoldering performance and Eastwood's lucidly hands-off direction have created a strange, slow gem of a film. It's not a gem appreciated by everyone, but two years before Spacey's turn in "American Beauty" struck a chord that resonated with the wider public, "Midnight in the Garden" asks similar questions in a context that is, at the same time, more precise, more exotic, and equally American.


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Why did they make John Cusak's character straight? mnuzzoshop
Jim William's death Lannan
Favorite Line VogonCaptain
Savannah is a real charachter thedeadpoet
YES it IS a TRUE story. Here are pix of the real people northwestchick
What was handed to Kelso in the end? sutats

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