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A good time that had not yet been had by all....

  • Jun 5, 2000
  • by
Pros: The Lady, of course

Cons: probably Eastwood

What makes a great movie? Transvestites, homosexuals and murder .... what else? First I read the book and then I saw the movie, which in this case was fine. Many details were left out of the movie which fortunately I retrieved from the book.

The setting is historic Savannah, we are entering the back doors and bedrooms of the filthy rich and powerful. Naughty and bizarre and just a bit eccentric. John Cusack is the writer from New York who comes to Savannah to cover a glamorous Christmas party given by Kevin Spacey, a homosexual antiques dealer. One of the most sought after parties of the year .... honey, people are dying to attend in their ball gowns and tiaras.

Cusack is living next door to the infamous Spacey, therefore able to view the pre-party endeavors. Slightly fed up with this mundane assignment, Cusack has that great American novel under his belt aching to get out. After Spacey kills his lover, Jude Law, in a little tiff over some unknown thing, claiming self-defense, Cusack decides to blow off his job in New York and stay on for the trial, praying for that book.

It is unfortunate that this book was turned into a frigging two + hour movie. It deserved a mini-series to incorporate all the richness and eerie shadows that weave through the book. Forced to compress it into movie form, we loose some of the power of the main characters. Cusack (not even in the book) becomes the wide-eyed hick that stumbles his way through the underbelly of Savannah society. He is supposed to be from NEW YORK for Gods sake, why should homosexuals and transvestites leave him standing slack-jawed and bug-eyed? Even in Ohio we have ‘em!

Spacey, as the slow moving don't give a damn, money will come when money comes, let's live life to its' fullest antiques dealer is a good study. He has that normal somewhat devil-may-care attitude to him anyway. Kinda of laid back and taking it easy kinda guy.

Of course the true star of the entire movie is the incomparable Lady Chablis. She adapted her role from the book and decided to play it herself because, after all darling......who else could be The Lady except The Lady? You have to love the way she shoves her way into Cusacks' life until suddenly SHE becomes HIS responsibility. He is hauling her around town, taking her to shows - honey, The Lady knows how to work a room! Another example of life reflecting art and art reflecting life.

Even with the sad adaptation we are presented with this movie, I was pleased nonetheless. Probably helped I had previously read the book, I was able to insert the missing pieces as I went. So entranced with the beautiful architecture of Savannah, I made a trip there the last time in stayed in Charleston. I don't even know if the filming took place in Savannah, but I found the wonderful homes - the noted ‘Painted Ladies' stand to this day.

Maybe some of the problem with the movie was Clint Eastwood who served as producer and director. I generally find most of his productions slow and lacking, similar to the pitiful ‘Unforgiven'. This is unfortunate because I enjoy some of his work - for a gritty squint eyed little cowpoke.


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September 13, 2011
Hi, Susi....
September 18, 2011
hi Woo
More Midnight in the Garden of Good... reviews
review by . September 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
In this movie, John Cusack plays "Esquire' witer John Berendt who travels to Savannah to attend the annual holiday event hosted by antique dealer, Jim Williams.      Clint Eastwood directs the movie and stays close to the action in the book.      The setting is excellent and the characters are well placed and memorable.      I recently watched the movie and then re-read the book and was impressed by how they compimented each other.
review by . July 05, 2009
John Kelso (John Cusack) is a writer who has come to Savannah to cover a big party given by socialite Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey).  The next day, however, Williams is arrested for murder and John stays on to get to the bottom of the case.         Despite being a true story, directed by Clint Eastwood, and based on a successful novel, this movie left me bored and annoyed.  The plot is quite slim so the story is filled out with quirky …
review by . August 10, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I watched MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL for the first time about five years ago. At the time, I found it to be a very strange and bizarre movie, but one that was also fascinating. It captured my imagination. After finally being able to read the book that the film is based upon, I re-watched the movie again. After having read the book, my impressions of the film didn't change much. I was a little bit disappointed that some of the best characters from the book were compressed or totally …
review by . April 25, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: VERY unusual characters     Cons: adult situations     ...and Julia replied, "both!"      Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil touches this southern girl's heart and tickles her funny bone. My beautiful friend Michael told me a while back that it was a very interesting story about a Savannah "bachelor." Knowing my friend, I knew just what he meant.       I waited for it to come out on video, …
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About this movie


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a film directed by Clint Eastwood based on the book. The film features Kevin Spacey as Jim Williams and Jude Law as Danny Hansford. He was called Billy Carl Hanson in the movie, so as not to offend members of the Hansford family. The Lady Chablis appeared as herself.

Several changes were made from the book. Many of the more colorful characters were eliminated or made into composite characters. The reporter role, played by John Cusack, was based upon Berendt. However Cusack's character was given a love interest not featured in the book, a role played by Eastwood's daughter Alison Eastwood. The multiple Williams trials were combined into one on-screen trial. Jim Williams real life attorney Sonny Seiler appeared in the movie in the role of Judge White, the presiding judge at the film's trial.

Advertising for the film became a source of controversy when Warner Bros. used elements of Jack Leigh's famous photograph in its posters for the movie without his permission. They later settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

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Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Drama
Release Date: November 20, 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: John Lee Hancock, John Berendt
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (June 02, 1998)
Runtime: 2hr 35min
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