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The Garden of Allah

USA 1936
produced by
David O.Selznick for Selznick International
directed by Richard Boleslawski
starring Marlene Dietrich, Charles Boyer, Basil Rathbone, C. Aubrey Smith, Joseph Schildkraut, John Carradine, Alan Marshal, Lucile Watson, Henry Brandon, Tilly Losch
screenplay by W.P. Lipscomb, Lynn Riggs, based on the novel by Robert Hichens, music by Max Steiner

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After her father has died, Domini (Marlene Dietrich), who has been brought up in a monastery, follows her Mother Superior's advice and makes a trip to the Sahara to find peace and happiness. She soon attracts the attention of one of her travelling companions, Count Anteoni (Basil Rathbone), but Domini herself has taken interest in someone else, Boris (Charles Boyer), a weird man lacking even the most basic social skills who seems to have a dark secret. Domini though somehow brings Boris to opening up towards her, and before you know it the two of them fall in love and marry ... and embark on an expedition through the desert as their honeymoon. Eventually, they meet Captain De Trevengniac (Alan Marshal) and his battalion from the French Foreign Legion who have lost their way in the desert, and they invite them for dinner - and during dinner, De Trevegniac keeps insisting he knows Boris from somewhere, and when Domini turns her back on the two of them for a minute, they get into a rowe, and the Captain and his soldiers leave in a hurry and not on the best of terms.

The enxt day, Count Anteoni, who has since met De Trevegniac, arrives, and he reveals Boris's dark secret: Boris is a Trappist monk who has escaped his monastery after his final vows, and has since been a man on the run from his duties towards the church and from his own convictions. All of this leads to much crying, especially since Domini is such a devout Christian, and in the end, Boris, at the express advice of Domini, returns to the monastery to become a monk once more, even if that means never seeing her again ...


Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer in the leads, supported by Basil Rathbone and John Carradine, in an early Technicolor film set in the desert, carried by some pretty impressive cinematography - now that sounds like a surefire winner ... but unfortnuately, the film is anything but: The problem is the trainwreck of a script this film is based on. All the characters in the movie completely lack motivation, the central conflict is as ridiculous as it is unexciting and furthermore must have been long outdated even in the 1930's, and the resolution of the film is nothing short of pathetic. And what's even worse, the film is pretty much boring as can be.

Avoid at all costs ... though you'll probably want to see it for its cast anyways.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD