Holiday Films: Vintage Movies for Garden Lovers

Searching for a vacation picture this week, to watch? Here’s a roundup of our favorite classic movies  featuring landscapes or gardeners (good and evil):

Gardeners are much better box office than the type, but a simple, fair gardener walks to the spotlight. Peter Sellers’ Chauncey Gardiner (aka Chance the gardener), ” the presidential idiot-savant at Being There is very appealing in these uncertain times and we’re only too keen to think his calming words: “All will be well in the backyard.”

Let’s take some time away and revel in the part that gardening plays in a number of our films, though the weather is cold.

All That Heaven Allows

From the films, gardeners are either “simple” or “unsuitable.” Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows  functions up snobbery at the nation club for Jane Wyman’s wealthy widow  however Rock Hudson, the gardener with whom she falls in love, is now a handsome version of actual gardeners everywhere. “It isn’t just a question of whether he is a gardener…” a  friend advises; he is youthful and un-monied. Part of this set was recycled as Wisteria Lane at  Desperate Housewives,  incorporating further sexual encounters of a wealthy company along with her gardener.

Further screening:Blue VelvetEdward Scissorhands, Atonement, The Help.

A Room With a View

Filmed novels of British, early 20th century classic, perhaps filmed by Merchant Ivory or a version of Jane Austen, often include gardens.   Back in A Room With a View, skinny dipping and nude wrestling were all part of a Sunday at the backyard in Surrey.

Additional screening: Howard’s End, The Go-Between, Brideshead Revisited.

American Beauty

Roses, whether plucked  at a fantasy bathroom in American Beauty,  or climbing obediently in Annette Bening’s front yard, are a potent symbol in the films. In Cyrano de Bergerac, our hero laments, “While I was under in the shadows, others grew up to kiss the sweet rose” (and the rose ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ is a climber). Mrs Miniver includes a rose named from the admiring gardener master. And ‘American Beauty’ is a profound in 1875 and called ‘Madame Ferdinand Jamin’.

The Garden of this Finzi-Continis

Costumes compete for attention but are not always the winners. They’d be nothing. Believe Orlando, where the Tilda Swinton character runs out the end, and turns on her cure at the entrance to a maze, then dressed as a glistening 18th century courtesan, dressed in widows’ weeds. In The Garden of those Finzi-Continis, the 1930s are portrayed from the point of view of the late 60s. Although the garments are deflecting, the danger and folly of this period are reflected in the decadence of the backyard.

Additional screening: The Draughtsman’s Contract, The Great Gatsby (1974), ” The Age of Innocence, anything from Henry James.

Dark Victory

Movie digging is more like grave digging in the event of Rear Window, if the rose tree varies height instantly. When Joan Crawford, in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? , sees her neighbor digging out she attempts to throw down an SOS note however is thwarted. The boundless tweeking and preening of this bourgeois spouse in Mon Oncle is debilitating  in a more funny manner, while George the terrier leads Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn about on all fours at Bringing Up Baby.  We know it is presumed to be a Connecticut backyard, although it is dark and featureless, with a indoor audio   effect strongly resembling a solid studio.

Dark Victory  chooses the prize–arguably–as many kitsch backyard movie. “Perhaps you have planted the hyacinths, nevertheless?” Trills a Bette Davis of the buddy. “You dig the holes, I’ll put them in.” Her voice rises as she desperately barks out instructions prior to being led away: “You’ll water the flowers, won’t you Anne? And just take care of those? And Anne, you may care for my doctor, won’t you? You see, it is so much worse for him than it is for me personally…”

Additional screening, where not all is rosy in the garden: Jean de FloretteThe Wizard of Oz and obviously Don Corleone’s passing in the tomato garden of Godfather II.

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