Wednesday, August 03, 2011

"Death in the Garden", is a garish 50s French film in the spirit of "Sorcerer"

The idea of characters thrown together to survive in a wilderness has inspired quite a few movies of the “Sorcerer” type;  in the spirit of “Wages of Fear” there is a similarly spirited film by Luis Bunuel, “Death in the Garden” (“La mort in ce jardin” which translates to “this garden”, 1956), based on the novel by Jose Andre LaCour.  The film, originally released in French and Spanish, was filmed in Mexico, is shot in garish Eastmancolor.  The film also plays on the political instability and lawlessness of Latin America.

Shark (Georges Marchal) is an “adventurer” and prospector, exploring an unnamed Latin American country bordering Brazil. He is arrested and falsely accused of a bank robbery. But then the corrupt police seize the gold, leading to a revolt and a chance to escape through the jungle with several other people.  Simone Signoret,  Charles Vanel, Michel Piccoli, and Tito Junco star. In the end, there are themes familiar from other films since: friendly fire, a crashed plane (“Lost”), and limited survivors.

There is an interesting line to the effect that family men, with kids, don’t take ridiculous risks. That idea could be challenged.

The original distributors were Cenedis and Astor; the DVD comes from Microcinema.

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