Shot in early 1936, and released in October, Richard Boleslawski’s The Garden of Allah, was an extremely important film in the history of cinema.
It was one of only five three-strip Technicolor productions released in 1936, and along with Wings of the Morning, a superbly produced example of the technology.
Keep in mind that the previous year, saw only a single Technicolor film, Mamoulians’ Becky Sharp.
It was the first Technicolor film to come from The Selznick Studio, which would continue using the technology to make a few other films. (See Ronald Haver’s book for more details).
The film was stunningly photographed (think Marlene Dietrich) by W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson — who were strangely un-billed, but received special Academy Awards for their work.
The score was by Max Steiner, who also did some other work for Selznick.
The original elements survive, were combined a decade or so ago, and the results, with minor exceptions are magnificent. That film element has been mastered for Kino’s new Blu-ray, and for those who appreciate true Technicolor…
It’s a short (at 79 minutes), and magnificent piece of cinema history.
The Garden of Allah is a film that needs to be experienced.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from DVD – Absolutely
Can't wait for this!
By the way, I can only come up with four Technicolor movies for 1936...TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE, DANCING PIRATE, RAMONA and this one....what title am I missing?
Mark, I'm assuming that you saw the 35mm print that played in NYC some 40 years ago, I forget where. Was it at MoMA during the Selznick series, or at Radio City? At any rate, it was an unforgettable experience.Me too..that's what I was waiting for! I've been dying to see this film in a decent home video edition for ages.
Yes, I did. I think it was at MOMA during the Selznick retro. I was holding off on ordering it until Mr. Harris posted a review, and I must say that reading about how wonderful the original production was had me on the edge of my seat, wondering whether this Blu-Ray would hold a candle to the original prints. This is the first time that I've experienced a Hitchcockian frisson reading "A Few Words."Mark, I'm assuming that you saw the 35mm print that played in NYC some 40 years ago, I forget where. Was it at MoMA during the Selznick series, or at Radio City? At any rate, it was an unforgettable experience.
Being on the journey to take in every Oscar Winner for Best Cinematography, I find it compelling to learn that W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson were un-billed. Due to the "Special Academy Award", as listed on the AMPAS Database, this purchase is already a given; but having yet seen it, I can only wonder about the credits. Who, then, is given credit; or are there no DP credits given at all? Looking forward to this one, though; as each of the remaining entries from the list that actually are making it to BD feels farther and fewer between. But, with that said; Kino has been doing an excellent job in their output and offerings from the first decade of DP winners.The film was stunningly photographed (think Marlene Dietrich) by W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson -- who were strangely un-billed, but received special Academy Awards for their work.
And oh for a Blu of the YCM/Gitt restoration, which I had the incredible good luck to see screened years ago; it was like seeing something from an Egyptian tomb come to life.Keep in mind that the previous year, saw only a single Technicolor film, Mamoulians' Becky Sharp.
I'll never forget Josh Logan telling the story - I believe on THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW - about refereeing a battle over dialogue between Boyer and Dietrich. He went to director Boleslawski for help and was told "Can't you see I'm busy with these damn camels!"
PS - Does the Blu-ray have the original trailer in color? My print of the trailer is B&W.
- Feb 8, 1999
- Real Name
- Robert Harris