Rather undiplomatic British diplomat Harrington Brande (Sir Michael Hordern) takes up his new post in Spain accompanied by his son Nicholas (Jon Whiteley). The posting is something of a ...
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During World War II, Flight Lieutenant Michael Quinn (Sir Dirk Bogarde), a British officer stationed in Asia, is recruited by Army Intelligence, is tasked with learning Japanese to interrogate Japanese P.O.W.s and he falls in love with his pretty Japanese teacher "Sabby" (Suzuki San) (Yôko Tani).
At Oxford, Austrian student Anna von Graz (Jacqueline Sassard) is dating fellow student William (Michael York), whom she plans to marry, but she ends up sleeping with two unhappily married Oxford professors instead.
During World War I, Army Private Arthur James Hamp (Sir Tom Courtenay) is accused of desertion during battle. The officer assigned to defend him at his court-martial, Captain Hargreaves (Sir Dirk Bogarde), finds out there is more to the case than meets the eye.
Rather undiplomatic British diplomat Harrington Brande (Sir Michael Hordern) takes up his new post in Spain accompanied by his son Nicholas (Jon Whiteley). The posting is something of a disappointment to Harrington, who was hoping for a promotion. That his wife had left him seems to have affected his career. Nicholas sees it all as something of an adventure, and soon becomes fast friends with the new gardener, José (Sir Dirk Bogarde). The apparently "delicate" Nicholas becomes attached to José, and Harrington's jealousy leads him to bar Nicholas from even speaking to José. As tensions mount, another servant frames José for theft, forcing everyone to review the situation.Written by
Nicholas is a `sensitive' British pre-teen, an overprotected only son who is forced by circumstance to accompany his unfamiliar father to a new posting as Ambassador to a Spanish region.
The residential estate's handsome gardener, Jose (played by Dirk Bogarde), takes the boy under his wing, teaching him to enjoy his physicality, the beauty of nature and the joy of life itself.
Even though the father appreciates the burgeoning health and happiness in his son, he allows jealousy and internalised homophobia to determine his actions.
In a dramatic conclusion father, son and friend all prove their integrity and devotion.
Over the years, each time I've seen this film I'm amazed by its beautiful colour and enthralled the interplay of the characters. I get a greater feeling of the father as a self-loathing homosexual - but there is no evidence that this is the case. Certainly the audience must expect an accusation of paedophilia - but when Jose is accused of stealing and imprisoned, then that still gets him out of Nicholas' life.
The Spanish Gardener is, above all, a fine film about the value of `mentoring'.
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