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HTF REVIEW: "Gardens Of Stone" (with screenshots) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

Senior HTF Member
Jul 3, 1997
Real Name
Ronald Epstein

Gardens Of Stone

Studio: Columbia
Year: 1987
Rated: R
Film Length: 111 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

The story of the war at home and the
people that lived through it

When you take a look at Director Francis Coppola's
enormous body of work it may be easy to overlook
Gardens Of Stone. It was one of those films
that critically didn't fare as well as his other
great films. Watching it for the first time since
its release, I can see why.

Though a movie about Vietnam, Gardens of Stone
doesn't focus on the details of combat nor does it
ever set foot in the country. It's the story of a
green recruit named Jackie Willow (D.B. Sweeney) who
joins the Army in '68, at the peak of the American
involvement in Southeast Asia, only to be assigned
to Fort Myer with the Old Guard, a unit whose duty
it is to plant the honored dead at Arlington.

Clell Hazard (James Caan) is a military officer
working as a home guard at Arlington National
Cemetery during the casualties of America's most
tragic conflict. A much-decorated vet from Korea,
Clell wants to make certain that the kids assigned
are properly trained for what he knows to be a
deadly and unwinnable battle. Hazard gets into a
relationship with a Washington Post reporter
(Anjelica Huston), who opposes the war in Vietnam.

Though the film's primary focus is the struggles
that soldiers and their families faced in the
United States during the Vietnam War, the entire
movie rolls along very awkwardly, leaving the
audience a bit detached.
How is the transfer?
Generally, the transfer is very good. Once you
get past the title sequence that is filled with
blemishes and video noise, the rest of the transfer
looks adequate. The movie looks soft and a sometimes
a little too dark, but this is not the fault of
the transfer. The only fault I did find was a
noticeable amount of video noise in the background
in a few scenes.

The 2-channel Dolby Surround is just fine for
a film with no action sequences. My receiver
switched to a pro-logic mode where all the dialogue
remained in the front channels and all the music
played through the rears.
Special Features

Gardens Of Stone is presented on a
dual-sided DVD, offering WIDESCREEN and FULL FRAME
There are no added supplements, only TRAILERS
for Birdy, Glory and Brian's Song.
Final Thoughts
I hate to say that I didn't particularly care
for Gardens Of Stone. Though the film
dealt with the attitudes of Americans at home,
it all seemed a little too sedated for my tastes.
Release Date: June 25, 2002

R. Kay

Second Unit
May 11, 1999
You should mention that this was James Caan's comeback film.

He hadnt done a film in a long time before this was released.

Personally, I liked the film. Caan was great.

Jeff Pryor

Supporting Actor
Mar 5, 2002
I saw this movie back in the summer of '87, when I was in Army training at Fort Jackson, SC. So it's kinda got a nostalgic feel for me. I gotta pick this release up.

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