5.9/10
1,249
43 user 22 critic

The Garden of Allah (1936)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 19 November 1936 (USA)
The star-crossed desert romance of a cloistered woman and a renegade monk.

Writers:

Robert Hichens (novel), W.P. Lipscomb (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlene Dietrich ... Domini Enfilden
Charles Boyer ... Boris Androvsky
Tilly Losch ... Irena
Basil Rathbone ... Count Ferdinand Anteoni
C. Aubrey Smith ... Father J. Roubier
Joseph Schildkraut ... Batouch
John Carradine ... Sand Diviner
Alan Marshal ... Capt. De Trevignac
Lucile Watson ... Mother Superior Josephine
Henry Brandon ... Hadj
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Storyline

Domini, an heiress who has led a cloistered life, visits the North African desert for spiritual renewal. There she meets Boris, recently escaped from a Trappist monastery. Their friendship ripens into love, but he conceals his past from her. Then in a remote oasis, they meet a man who knows his secret. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

desert | monk | monastery | secret | oasis | See All (43) »

Taglines:

They loved each other with the fierceness of those who have been denied love! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Garten Allahs See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor High Fidelity System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his biography: In and Out Of Characters, Basil Rathbone reports that during the shooting of this film, he had a severe argument with the Producer David O Selznick, because the mogul wanted to insert a scene not written on the screenplay, a scene that would have reduce the importance of Rathbone's character. Rathbone eventually inclined himself in front of the mogul who swore that Rathbone would never work for him again. That's what happened. See more »

Goofs

As the abbot and the major are walking down the hall, the shadow of the boom microphone keeps pace with them on the lower left. See more »

Quotes

Count Anteoni: A man who fears to acknowledge his god, is unwise to set foot in the desert. The Arabs have a saying, Madame, the desert is the Garden of Allah.
See more »


Soundtracks

Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6
(1825)
Composed by Franz Schubert
Played on an organ at the wedding
Reprised as background music in the desert
See more »

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User Reviews

Glamour and Romance To The Max.....Surrender!
7 July 2004 | by Doghouse-6See all my reviews

Much abuse has been heaped upon this film in users' comments here ("tripe," "hokum," etc.) and, yes, in later years even Marlene herself called it "twash," (along with most of the rest of her movies). But it's gweat twash and, in all fairness, much-loved weepies like "An Affair To Remember" have got nothing on this picture. The fabulousness (that's definitions 1 & 2 in Webster's) of the plot, the emphatic performances, the overblown dialogue and the sheer absurd audacity of full silver service and "dressing for dinner" in a tent in the middle of the Sahara; these are the very things for which you watch such a film. After all, if life was never like this anywhere, at any time, it sure should have been.

The user who suggested the "right mood" is necessary is absolutely correct, and it helps to remember the perspective of audiences of the time who, while the Depression dragged on, desired escapism that bore no resemblance to their real lives. We certainly have our escapist fare today and, believe me, "Spiderman," "The Matrix" and "The Fast and the Furious" are going to look at least as ridiculous - if not more so - after a half-century (if not before). So, please, let's not have any more carping about implausibility.

The aspects that have garnered the most criticism are some of the very elements that make it so much fun, but you must abandon your jaded cynicism and surrender yourself to the experience. I'd never recommend this film to everyone I know, but of those to whom I have done - people I knew could appreciate it - not one has gotten all the way through it without choking back a tear or two (if not outright bawling like a baby).

One thing everyone does seem to agree on is the ravishingly beautiful look of this picture, and they're oh-so-right about that. The DVD from Anchor Bay is particularly stunning - there are scenes that look like they were shot yesterday - so, if you decide to see the film, try to get your hands on a copy of that release.

Incidentally, this was not the first Technicolor picture in the three-strip process (as opposed to the two-strip, which goes back to 1922) shot on location, as one comment said. That honor most likely belongs to "Trail Of the Lonesome Pine," which was shot and released a few months earlier.


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