The Garden of Allah

The Garden of Allah

DVD - 2004
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A woman decides to begin a new life after spending years caring for her father. She meets a traveler who is actually a monk who has left the monastery after taking his oath. They are married, but she soon learns of his secret.

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Nursebob
Dec 13, 2014

Ridiculously overplayed yet oddly irresistible technicolor melodrama exposing forbidden passions beneath the fiery desert sun! Wealthy spinster Marlene Dietrich, still mourning the death of the invalid father she nursed for years, travels to northern Africa seeking solace and a spiritual recharge. She meets Charles Boyer instead, a disgraced Trappist monk who has fled the monastery for a bit of earthly temptation. When lonely socialite and bewildered friar eventually lock eyes temperatures rise and vows are shattered (after a hasty marriage of course). But when Dietrich discovers Boyer’s true identity all heaven breaks loose and the naive couple must come to a heart-rending decision. Despite a studio backlot vision of the “mysterious orient” (including some running around in Californian dunes), a supporting cast of gaudily dressed extras spouting gibberish, and a few glaring examples of sloppy editing, this remains a lush and highly watchable weeper seventy-five years after it was first released. Perhaps it’s the operatic performances and extravagant dialogue, or the cloying orchestral score highlighting a sensuous world of starlit oases and gauzy close-ups, or maybe it’s just the sheer audacity of the plot which places two of Hollywood’s greatest stars smack in the middle of an American housewife’s fever dream. Glaring religious metaphors aside (Dietrich’s character is named “Domini” after all) this is one of those romantic oldies you simply have to accept on its own terms. Frankly I enjoyed every frame!

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