6.6/10
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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
A visiting city reporter's assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire, whom he befriends.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

John Berendt (book), John Lee Hancock (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,442 ( 1,062)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cusack ... John Kelso
Kevin Spacey ... Jim Williams
Jack Thompson ... Sonny Seiler
Irma P. Hall ... Minerva
Jude Law ... Billy Hanson
Alison Eastwood ... Mandy Nicholls
Paul Hipp ... Joe Odom
Lady Chablis ... Chablis Deveau (as The Lady Chablis)
Dorothy Loudon ... Serena Dawes
Anne Haney ... Margaret Williams
Kim Hunter ... Betty Harty
Geoffrey Lewis ... Luther Driggers
Richard Herd ... Henry Skerridge
Leon Rippy ... Detective Boone
Bob Gunton ... Finley Largent
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Storyline

This panoramic tale of Savannah, Georgia's eccentricities focuses on a murder and the subsequent trial of James Arthur Williams (Kevin Spacey): self made man, art collector, antiques dealer, bon vivant, and semi-closeted homosexual. John Kelso (John Cusack) a magazine reporter, finds himself in Savannah amidst 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 Hanson (Jude Law). Later that night, Billy is dead, and Kelso stays on to cover the murder trial. Along the way, he encounters the irrepressible Chablis Deveau (Lady Chablis), a drag queen commedienne, Sonny Seiler (Jack Thompson), 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 ... 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character played by Jude Law is named Billy Hanson in this movie. However, in the book, he is named Danny Lewis Hansford. See more »

Goofs

John and Jim are walking UGA (the dog) to Jim's home. They go into the workshop and UGA is not with them. See more »

Quotes

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

Alternate Versions

The UK Region 2 multi-DVD box set titled "CLINT EASTWOOD 35 YEARS, 35 FILMS" (EAN 5051892017114) released on August 16, 2010 makes reference to the inclusion of a Director's Cut. Eastwood has admitted to shooting a "love scene" between Kevin Spacey and Alison Eastwood and then cutting it from this film and although not confirmed it is suspected this is included to make some or all of the Director's Cut. The latter information sourced from http://www.screenit.com/movies/1997/midnight_in_the_garden_of_good_&_evil.html See more »

Connections

Referenced in Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag: Bon Appétit, Y'all (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Marvelous For Words
Written by Johnny Mercer and Richard A. Whiting
Performed by Joe Williams
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User Reviews

 
Spacey rocks. Think of it as an art-house film.
24 October 2000 | by smatysiaSee all my reviews

I haven't read the book. Might have hated the film if I had. But I liked it. I did read some reviews before viewing the film, and I was prepared to dislike it. A lot of the criticism has some validity. The movie isn't really a linear type of murder mystery. It's partly that and partly a quirky travelogue of Savannah. The Lady Chablis character gets way too much screen time, apparently because Eastwood thinks that it will entertain us. It does, but only to a point. However, this is a different sort of movie, so I understand why Eastwood includes so much of Chablis, and the voodoo woman, and the fly guy. Also, John Cusack plays it with the same dead-fish expressionlessness that he brings to most of his roles. This isn't really bad, it's just that he's always the same.

I had never seen one of Kevin Spacey's films before, and I am impressed at how he really nailed the role. I thought his performance made this film.

A word or two about the accents. Most non-Southern actors really murder Southern accents. I'm from Texas, not the Georgia coast, but I thought Spacey hit the accent just right all the way through. It was always there, but was never the focus. (Streepian in its apparent effortlessness) Jack Thompson did his accent very well, also, particularly since I understand that he's an Aussie. Some other cast members didn't do well with the Southern accent, like Alison Eastwood. She overdid it. It seemed strained. And oh, yeah, Cusack sounds like an accentless Californian rather than a New Yorker.

Overall, I guess I've written a lot more criticism than praise, but that wasn't my intent. This was a good movie. Think of it more as an art-house film rather than a mass-market picture, and you might have more realistic expectations.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,233,658, 23 November 1997

Gross USA:

$25,105,255

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,105,255
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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