EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|PLEASURE GARDEN, THE (director: Alfred Hitchcock; screenwriters: from the novel by Oliver Sandys/Eliot Staannard; cinematographer: Gaetano di Ventimiglia; music: Lee Erwin; cast: Virginia Valli (Patsy), Carmelita Geraghty (Jill), Miles Mander (Levet), John Stuart (Hugh Fielding), Ferd Martini (Mr. Sidey), Florence Helminger (Mrs. Sidey), George Snell (Oscar Hamilton), C. Falkenberg (Prince Ivan), Nita Naldi (Native girl); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Michael Balcon/Erich Pommer; Network; 1925-silent-UK/Germany)|
|"It's a standard romantic drama,
with no other interest except it's the Master's beginning."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
By the age of twenty-five Alfred Hitchcock ("Psycho"/"Rear
Window"/"Vertigo") worked his way
up the studio system from title designer to be given his first solo
feature film to direct by his promoter Michael Balcon, the
film's producer. It's
an English-German co-produced film, shot in London, Munich and Lake
Como, Italy. It's a standard romantic drama, with no other
interest except it's the Master's beginning. It was restored in 1966
and added a musical score by Lee Erwin.
It's based on the novel by Oliver Sandys (her
real names was Marguerite Florence Barclay) and is
written by Eliot Stannard.
girl Patsy Brand (Virginia Valli) is a chorus
girl at the
Pleasure Garden music hall. When Jill Cheyne (Carmelita Geraghty) comes to
London to get a job as a dancer, she loses all her money to a
pickpocket and the sympathetic Patsy gets her a tryout with her
Pleasure Garden boss Mr. Hamilton (George Snell) and lets her
share her small flat.
turns out to be a cunning social climber who works her way up the
chorus girl ladder and moves out of the flat, becoming the kept woman
of a Russian aristocrat (C.
Falkenberg). Jill snubs her sincere fiance Hugh
Fielding (John Stuart), who goes to
serve two years working on a plantation in the Far East. Meanwhile
Patsy is courted by Hugh's plantation colleague Levet (Miles Mander),
who visited London with Hugh. She marries him despite not being in love
with him and that her dog Cuddles doesn't like him. After they
honeymoon in Lake Como, Levet leaves her in London and returns to his
native girl mistress on the plantation. After not hearing from him for
a long time, Levet finally writes he's sick. Wishing to be with her
hubby in his time of need, she asks her now rich former roommate Jill
for a loan to buy boat passage but is snubbed, but her kindly
landlords, Mr. and Mrs.
Sidey, loan her the cash and she sails to the
plantation. There she finds hubby with his native mistress and calls
him a "filthy animal." Patsy remains to nurse Hugh back to health from
the fever. When her crazed lunatic hubby kills his mistress and then
attempts to kill his wife, Hugh fatally shoots the wacko and the couple
return to London to marry.
The Pleasure Garden contains ideas (on voyeurism, sexual violence & lust), images (influenced by German expressionism) and contrasts (use of symbolism) that H. used in his later films. It moves from a theatrical setting to an exotic locale. It might be thought of as a Hitchcockian film, but it lacks the power of his later films and only contains a few of his noteworthy signature technical touches.
REVIEWED ON 9/14/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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