Garden of Evil (1954)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Garden of Evil Photos
as Luke Daly
as John Fuller
as Leah Fuller
as Vicente Madariaga
Critic Reviews for Garden of Evil
The character dynamics are what make this tale interesting, and it's never hard to watch these A-listers in their patented roles -- Cooper as the voice of reason, Widmark full of wisecracks and wit, and Hayward exuding fiery independence.
All-star cast, headed by Gary Cooper and Susan Hayward, elevates this Henry Hathaway's B Western
Audience Reviews for Garden of Evil
Great actors in the midst of new technology. The plot is average. The main reason is that it was the movie studio's (Fox) first use of cinemascope. The land is the real protagonist of the film. The musical score is up and center in the film and it rides with the land. (The composer Bernard Hermann worked on Citizen Kane and a many Alfred Hitchcock films) It takes place in Mexico through open and uninhabited territory. This choice of land allowed it to make use of the widescreen shot that surrounded the moviegoer to make him feel like he was really in the screen. There are great dialogue lines uttered by Richard Widmark. I can't fault the acting, it's just that the film was meant as a tribute to the landscape more than a story. There are great subtexts throughout, but they do not really come out or are a part of the narrative. It is an enjoyable film despite its limitations. Cooper and Widmark arrive at a small town in Mexico when their ship has to dock for unexpected repairs. Hayward walks into the cantina where Cooper and Widmark settle in to ask for help to save her trapped husband at a gold mine. She will repay the help handsomely. No one wants to go there because it is a cursed land but four men take Hayward up on her offer. The rest of the film slowly proceeds as they make their journey through the rough terrain to the place where gold is abundant, but so is death: the Garden of Evil. On their trip back the group has to try to escape from the natives of the land to survive. It left me with a big question on the use of the natives. Their presence and motivations seemed superficial; so I question the historicity and probability of the second act of the film. Again, it just seemed like the narrative was at the mercy of the land and so much of it might comes across as contrived. Despite that, it is an entertaining film for fans of the genre.
A movie that doesn't really go anywhere or have a purpose, except as a travel film. The premise is that Hayward hires a group of men, Cooper and Widmark among them, to help get gold from a mine. Of course there is Indian trouble once they get back to the gold. So a good part of the movie is the journey getting to the gold and then running away from it once the Indians show up. Now Cooper's group totals 6 and they have firearms while the Indians have bows and arrows, some monster arrows really, but they have numbers and know the terrain. It gets odd because the Indians have them surrounded, we know this because arrows kill a couple of people by striking them from behind, but that's it the group does not react like they are surrounded nor do the Indians take advantage of surrounding them. It seems to be a movie that takes advantage of CinemaScope for the great western scenery and not much else.
Typical Western with no surprises along the way, but some impressive stuntwork and truly magnificent use of the then-new Cinemascope widescreen photography. Richard Widmark is also quite good as the smart-aleck side-kick which he always did so well.
Garden of Evil Quotes
|Hooker:||If the earth was made of gold...I guess men would die for a handful of dirt|
|Hooker:||If the earth was made of gold... I guess men would die for a handful of dirt.|
|Fiske:||I've found that pretty women speak the same language all over the world.|
|Hooker:||What about the ugly ones?|
|Fiske:||Look at her. Taking four men like us to a mountain of gold.|
|Hooker:||She took what there was.|
|Fiske:||Yeah, that's true. The barrel was empty; she scraped the bottom.|
|Hooker:||Vicente is marking the trail.|