A rather undiplomatic British diplomat takes up his new post in Spain accompanied by his son Nicholas. The posting is something of a disappointment to the father, who was hoping for a ...
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A clever fortune-hunter with a penchant for murder does in his elderly, supposedly rich, wife and manages to get away with it. After an investigation results in a decision of 'accidental ... See full summary »
On the H.M.S. Defiant, during the French Revolutionary War, fair Captain Crawford is locked in a battle of wills against his cruel second-in-command Lieutenant Scott-Paget whose heavy-handed command style pushes the crew to mutiny.
A rather undiplomatic British diplomat takes up his new post in Spain accompanied by his son Nicholas. The posting is something of a disappointment to the father, 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, Jose. The apparently "delicate" Nicholas becomes attached to Jose, and father's jealousy leads him to bar Nicholas from even speaking to the gardener. As tensions mount, another servant frames Jose for theft forcing everyone to review the situation.Written by
Dirk Bogarde is "The Spanish Gardener" in this 1956 film also starring Michael Hordern, Cyril Cusack and Jon Whiteley. Hordern is Harrington Brande, a low-level diplomat sent, against his wishes, to Catalunya. His marriage is over, and his young son Nicholas (Whiteley) is everything to him - so much so, that he cannot see that his son needs to be with children his own age and participate in the same types of activities that other children do.
He hires a gardener, Jose (Bogarde) who befriends the boy and becomes almost a surrogate father to him, letting him help with the planting and digging, talking with him and playing with him. When Nicholas' father finds out how close the gardener and his son have become, he forbids the boy to speak to him any longer. When that doesn't work, he takes further steps to make sure that Jose doesn't steal the love of his son.
"The Spanish Gardener" is a wonderful character study of a gentle soul with a kind heart, the gardener, coming up against a class-conscious, jealous, embittered man who thinks the best way to keep his son's affection is to make sure he never socializes with anyone else who may pose a threat. He doesn't realize that the worse he treats Jose, the more his son hates him, and that love sometimes means letting go.
The acting is superb. Hordern is fabulous as a person whose career hasn't progressed because he hasn't progressed as a person, and Whiteley is sympathetic and earnest as the young boy, whom the gardener calls Nico. Bogarde is at the peak of his handsomeness in this film, and gives a beautiful performance, playing a man of humility but not submission.
Interestingly, I doubt a film like this could be made today. I'm sure in the '50s, the friendship between the gardener and Nico was taken for what it was without suspicion of sexual misconduct, which would certainly be an element now and add another dimension. Simpler times.
Definitely worth seeing.
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