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Plot:

Chark, an adventurer comes to small village in the near of a gold digger’s camp. He is arrested by the local police, who accuse him of having comitted a bank robbery in a neighoured town. The police also confiscate the gold mine for the state, due to this the gold diggers start an revolution, but it is beaten. Chark, Father Lizzardi, Castin and his daugher and Djin, a whore to whom castin is in love are fleeing into the jungle. where they start to fight for their lifes.

Also Known As: Labirinto Infernal, La mort en ce jardin, The Diamond Hunters, Gina, Smrt v této zahrade, Der Tod in diesem Garten West, Jungle Attack, La selva dei dannati, Oi pente fygades, La muerte en este jardín, Djungelmorden, Kuoleman puutarha, Smierc w ogrodzie, Døden i junglen, Evil Eden, Смъртта в тази градина, A Morte no Jardim, Halál a kertben, Jungelen dreper, Death in the Garden, Смерть в этом саду Soviet, Smrt u vrtu, Pesthauch des Dschungels West

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  • irena-kratochvilova
    irena kratochvilova

    I often turn to the Time Out Film Guide, to see what they think of films… They got it wrong for this one: “Its garish, vicious action beats Sam Fuller at his own game”. Well it does no such thing. This is sub-par Bunuel at best. The first part, set in the little town in Mexico is easily eclipsed by Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a much funnier and tougher film. Just think of the interplay between Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt and grimace at the clunky efforts of Marchal, Vanel and Piccoli. From a John Huston classic, we pass to a whimsical jungle story that Howard Hawks could have told with much better pace and wit (I think of Hatari!). Oh the waste of all these talented people.Simone Signoret has a thankless part of a prostitute (which she played much better in Dédée d’Anvers), a misconceived part that does not fit in the story very well. Piccoli cannot play a priest and should have known better than to try. He is much better as a libertine–he played Sade in La voie lactée. Gérard Philipe would have been much better as the priest. Marchal is no great shakes but at least fits the part. He reminds me a bit of Stewart Granger. Vanel is somewhat at home as the old prospector; at least he had often played action roles.

  • marin-curic
    marin curic

    It’s only now that we are able to enjoy many of the films Luis Buñuel made during his time in Mexico. Sure, it won’t rank with his classics like Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie or Cet obscur objet du désir, but this South American action thriller has a charm all it’s own, Make no mistake, La mort en ce jardin, also has pure Buñuel elements to it, especially in the third act.Shark (Georges Marchal) and Djin (Simone Signoret) are certainly the most interesting characters in the first act. Shark may be a lout (Shut up Bible thumper!), but his skills come into play later. Djin is just hot.Great action in the jungle and a beautiful setting in Mexico.

  • victoria-barros
    victoria barros

    Acted fairly well, quite entertaining too, this movie however is a disappointment for everyone who expects Buñuel’s uncompromising vision. His eye for detail and appropriate camera-movements cannot compensate cinematographer Jorge Stahl’s goof-ups and the pointless story, unfortunately. Besides the fact that this was the last Buñuel-movie that I could rent from my local video store and that it was Buñuel’s first collaboration with the great Michel Piccoli (also: Voie lactée, Fantôme de la liberté, etc.) were attractive things about this movie for me. ‘Jungle Attack’ is the title under which it is for rent in the Netherlands: in case you were wondering whether this is really a Buñuel-movie or not … that’s how much Buñuel is in here. Finally, Piccoli (la Grande bouffe, 1973) and Signoret (les Diaboliques, 1955) don’t come forward with really intriguing performances, but stay in the mediocrity of the adventurous and light story. I do not regret seeing it though. Enough allright. 6/10

  • darina-fareniuk
    darina fareniuk

    This film is a surprise for those expecting one of the strange and surreal sort of movies that the director (Luis Buñuel) was known for making during the 1960s. Instead, it’s a very direct sort of thing. And, while one of the main characters is a priest, no sort of anticlerical sort of subtext is apparently intended (again, unusual for one of Buñuel’s films).The film is set in some sort of repressive South American country. The local miners are all resentful of the local military that pushes them around and there is talk of a revolution. The priest urges them not to fight, as he thinks they’ll be crushed–which is exactly what happens. Then he and a group of motley folks set off into the jungle to escape the carnage. Unfortunately, things aren’t much better in the jungle, as hunger, torrential rain and madness are their constant companions.Seeing how wet and dirty the actors are during the jungle scenes makes you feel a bit sorry for them. You also might feel sorry for the folks wanting a surreal film or who expect brilliance because of the film’s director. Now I am NOT saying the film wasn’t well made, but it could have been made by just about any director. And, while the jungle scenes were good, the beginning is pretty dull and the ending a bit anticlimactic. Not a bad film but certainly not a film for the novice to Buñuel’s films–more for the seasoned fans who want to see all of his work.

  • jorge-neto-magalhaes
    jorge neto magalhaes

    This is not what we would call ‘vintage’ Bunuel although it is one of his earlier films and made only a couple of years before Nazarin (1959) which would prove to be the start of the most amazing run of cinema classics, certainly half a dozen of the finest films ever made and quite possibly a dozen. This is more mundane, although always of interest and those little Bunuel trademark signs do creep in. Indeed without wishing to spoil anyone’s viewing it does turn out that salvation at the end is at the cost of some 50 lives. It is also interesting to see how the priest is ridiculed throughout and that the seeming good and kind turn out to have interests much closer to their own hearts. It surprises me that after the wondrous El (1953) and hilarious Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955) Bunuel should decide to make this more straightforward literary adaptation but there were undoubtedly financial restraints and it is well documented that he would rather make a lesser film for someone than make nothing at all. And it is surely this perseverance that would lead to that aforementioned fantastic run of films that would establish him as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.

  • taylor-rodgers
    taylor rodgers

    Dear Luis Bunuel, I am surprised you made a seemingly commercial adventure film like McKenna’s Gold. A badass wanderer has to stave off the police (who are in bed with the capitalist mafia), Mexican revolutionaries and a catholic priest. And there are not one but two femme fatales. The wanderer, femme fatales, priest and a cook are all cooped up on a boat as they escape the small town ravaged by fighting between the revolutionaries and the police. Then the action moves to a jungle. Jealousy and suspicion sets in between the members of the group. It is a really nice plot, Luis. One that is worthy of a Western.And it was reasonably entertaining. There are some pretty grotesque scenes in the jungle. Ruggero Deodato must have been watching your movie. I read some of the other reviews and I thought some of the reviewers saw too much into your film and your intentions.Best Regards, Pimpin.(7/10)

  • pan-przemyslaw-korniak
    pan przemyslaw korniak

    Rarely have I been so disappointed in a film. Bunuel *and* Simon Signoret? What could be better? I have seen many of Luis Bunuel’s movies, and consider myself a fan. From his first, Un Chien Andalou (1929), to his last, That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), I have seen more than half the films he ever made.Death in the Garden is undoubtedly the worst I have seen. There are three words for this movie: Violent. Pointless. Boring.There is virtually no surrealism in the film whatsoever. And absolutely none of Bunuel’s unique humor. It consists mainly of two things: people getting shot, and people walking (or running) around.The film is incredibly violent. The vast majority of the action is people being shot. It is not gory by the standards of the twenty-first century, but it sure is for the fifties, perhaps more so than any movie up to its time.There are two good things about the film. First, and to my surprise, it is shot in absolutely gorgeous Technicolor. The scenery is breathtaking, and Edward Fitzgerald’s sets are also quite eye-catching.Second, Simone Signoret has never looked more beautiful. Nor more sexy. I found it interesting that somehow they managed to make her look vaguely South American, although I couldn’t put my finger on exactly how.Sad to say, her outer beauty is nullified by her inner personality. She is a monster. She is motivated solely by greed, completely devoid of any human qualities such as warmth or compassion. She doesn’t care about anyone else, nor anything except her own advancement and security.The only thing I really liked was the interview with Victor Fuentes on the DVD. He is extremely articulate, and his viewpoint is continually interesting. He mentioned The Wages Of Fear (1953), which I immediately thought of as soon as the movie started. However, to compare Death in the Garden with Cluzot’s movie in any respect except the setting is an insult to the latter.If it had not had Simone Signoret in it, I would have turned it off after the first ten minutes. As it was, I watched it till the end, but I am not particularly glad I did so.Want to see a great Bunuel film from his Mexican period? Watch The Exterminating Angel (1962). Want to see a great Simone Signoret movie, where she’s every bit as beautiful and almost as sexy as this one? Catch Les Diaboliques (1955). I can’t think of any reason for even hard core fans of Bunuel or Signoret to watch this one.

  • skujins-paula
    skujins paula

    I haven’t seen all Bunuel’s filmography yet, but I can say this one is pretty different from others I saw as “Un Chien Andalou”, “L’Age d’Or”,… They were completely surrealistic, whereas this one is a much more traditional movie – at least in the coherence of time/space/story.The story : It starts somewhere in South America, during the ’50s, in a village near mines of diamonds. An insurrection begins as the military governement set there decide to close the mines. After a few fights and chasings, an old minor ( Charles Vanel ), his deaf daughter, the prostitute he loves, a monk ( Michel Piccoli ) and a bad boy called ‘Shark’ manage to escape together with a stolen boat. Hunted by soldiers, they decide to cross the jungle in order to reach Brazil, which will reserve them some more surprises. The ending is a bit sad, but on the whole we end up with a good movie of adventures.At first, I haven’t recognized Bunuel’s style here but truth is his personal visions of Religion, Society, (…) are also within.A good movie to watch ‘with all the family’ filled with action, love, adventures,… but merely different from the early Bunuels ( no Salvador Dali here ).8/10

  • dr-molly-walker
    dr molly walker

    Bunuel’s Garden of Eden revisited moves in reverse from the hell of present day back to the Garden en route to the “next life”, where the survivors of the Garden of Death expect a better world.The five escaping through this Garden are (1) the modern evil “Adam” (Chark) who, in a film first, flips the bird to the military, then roughs up (2) The Father for intervening to protect (3) his deaf mute daughter (“Eve”); (4) the handsome Priest/Savior, acting with the authority of a modern corrupt God on Earth taking the side of power and wealth over the oppressed; and (5) the well-named Djinn, Demon Temptress. Examples how well the story works within this paradigm:*The Father explains to his daughter (Eve) his plan to take her with him in a return to Heaven (France), where miracles will occur in ear doctors’ offices. *Adam is (otherwise inexplicably) taken into the chapel where he is forced to kneel before the Savior/Priest before being taken in for interrogation for robbing the bank.*The Savior refuses to try to raise the dying rebel from his death in the dungeon despite Adam’s pleas, instead offering dogmatic prayer which the savvy rebel bitterly rejects.*Just to make sure we see the extent of the “Fall” under the rule of Christianity, justice is delivered against the weak and the dying by the goons of the corrupt in firing squads. *The Savior barges in on Eve while she is half-dressed looking for The Father to convince him to surrender to the corrupt military, and sacrifice himself to save the innocent (his own role in the Bible), even tho The Father is innocent as well. He asks in response to the Savior “What will become of my daughter?” The Savior’s conflict of interest becomes clearer in the Garden as he tries to usurp The Father and take his place in the relationship with Eve. The Savior (inconsistently, as in the Bible) saves The Father by pretending to be the lover of the demon Djinn. *The Father grows increasingly batty throughout the film, falling in love with the demon Djinn and suffering from a head wound. Bunuel suggests the oxymoron of the single male parent/creator is evidently losing his mind. *On the boat to the Garden, the Savior asks Adam to drop him off at a native village. Adam rebukes him, telling him he would become their taskmaster. The Savior replies he would save their souls; Adam counters he would lead them to their exploiters. Clearly Bunuel paints the Savior enjoying zero moral authority in a society where he is worshiped while he works for the benefit of the wealthy. *As soon as he steps off the boat, walking toward the Garden, the Savior loses his power of authority to The Father—because the Old Testament story of the Garden predates him.*Eve’s hair is tangled in the vines of the Garden; The Father rescues her. Adam picks up on her need for care, protecting her asleep in the rain by placing his hat over her head, in a triptych where we see Eve with her head leaning on his right thigh, in the center the rifle as phallus (Adam, according to the myth, being the physical father of us all) standing erect between his legs, with the Djinn leaning on his left thigh, whom he does not protect. *The Father is dying and losing his senses, eventually deciding to kill everyone but Eve, giving up on Heaven as he burns his images of it in the flames warming them in the hellish Garden, its tinder the pages of the Bible torn out by the Savior, who then preaches a parable about (Easter?) eggs no one pays attention to, ending by inexplicably referring to his mother. There is no better image underscoring that this is Bunuel’s take on the Garden of Eden and modern Christianity than when the Savior looks directly into the camera as he informs us he is the son of Mary.*The Father in despair explains to Djinn they’re all guilty of the sins that led them to the Garden and accordingly there is no redemptive future to hope for. *Adam kills a serpent, for food, which only the creatures living in the Garden eat. He then discovers a horn of plenty, the crashed plane, as if a tree of life filled with death, providing them with food and clothing, even extravagant evening dress. *They discover the river crossing to “the other side”, the Savior proclaiming it a miracle from god, the rest wise to his lack of authority, disbelieving and disagreeing with him. *Eve shows jewels to the Savior she found in the wreckage, as shiny as an apple. He seizes them from her, informing her he is taking her Father’s place, giving her his watch in exchange, which she appropriately considers a worthless excuse for his theft. *The Father throws his own wealth in the water, the bag of diamonds he gave to Djinn, telling the Savior their deity is punishing them all. The Father then proves it. The Djinn puts on black evening wear (as if for her funeral), which Adam tells her prepares her for her next life on the other side of the river. The Father unleashes his Old Testament wrath, shooting and killing first the Djinn he had loved, then the Savior with his usual ineffectual pleas.*Eve convinces Adam not to kill her Father, who tries to stop Adam from taking Eve out of the Garden. In self-defense, Adam kills The Father, escaping his wrath by fleeing with Eve to the other side.The otherwise odd ending of this film makes perfect sense as Bunuelian religious allegory.

  • gautm-shriiviml
    gautm shriiviml

    The only Buneul I can recall seeing are Un Chien Andalou and Virdinia. Death in the Garden was a totally different experience but just as eye-opening. Its based more firmly in reality and its similar on the surface to films like The African Queen. Its a hard-boiled adventure in the jungle, told in a 2-act scenario with a great emphasis in setting up the relationships and identities of the cast. That sets it apart from so many films of this nature. You care so much about these people. And Buneul keeps them believable and complex. You have no clue who will survive or betray the team. The answers are shocking but the ultimate climax is refreshing. You get an almost romantic and optimistic payoff that is earned… without being melodramatic.It goes without saying that the film is brilliant technically and stylistically. Bunuel was a true master and this is a masterpiece for its genre. Recommended for fans of well-made adventure/thrillers from any time or place.

  • dr-kim-bishop
    dr kim bishop

    Saw the complete film in new york in the 80’s. 140 min. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> if you see the cut version they are using on dvd you get a very watered down story. Why does IMDB not list the 140 min. version? Everybody must know that is the official French version!? there is alot more to explain the beginning, the army, the jungle. its way better.on tv in the 90’s on kgo-7 Movie Greats Network appeared a dubbed version called DIAMOND HUNTERS. it said 1978 and ran 88 min.

  • roger-etienne
    roger etienne

    An escaped convict named Chark (Georges Marchal) comes to a little town next to gold digger’s camp . In this South American settlement is living a lot of French people . Chark is taken prisoner by local militia , who accuses him of having carried out a bank robbery in a neighboured little village . The police also confiscates the gold mine for the state , due to this the prospectors start a revolt , but it is beaten . As the group of French people must flee the revolution between striking miners and soldiers . There takes place a riot ; all of them have to escape and Chark agrees to lead them to safety but their trek throughout the jungle is fraught with danger and not just from animal life . As Chark , Father Lizzardi (Michael Piccoli) , Castin (Charles Vanel) , his deaf-mute daughter (Michele Girardon) and Djin (Simone Signoret) , a whore to whom Castin is in love are fleeing into the jungle . Where they begin fighting for their lives and suffering lots of perils .Adventure movie by the great Luis Buñuel , it is filled with thrills , action , revolts , drama and gorgeous outdoors from jungle . This isn’t a typical Buñuel film , though there are some symbolism but no surrealism . Interesting and thought-provoking screenplay from Raymond Queen and Luis Alcoriza , Buñuel’s usual screenwriter . Pretty good cast gives fine acting ; it is mostly formed by nice French actors such as Georges Marchal as an adventurer arrested by the local police , Simone Signoret as experimented prostitute , Michael Piccoli as Father Lizzardi , Charles Vanel as an old miner who falls in love for a whore , and Michele Girardon , early deceased at 36 , and probably best remembered for her role in the John Wayne comedy adventure ¡Hatari! . Colorful and glowing cinematography by Jorge Stahl , filmed on location in Texcoco , Catemaco , Veracruz , Mexico . Atmospheric as well as evocative musical score by Paul Misraki .The motion picture was compellingly directed by Luis Buñuel . This Buñuel’s strange film belongs to his Mexican second period . It is between Mexican epoch and French period ; in fact , it’s plenty of known French actors ; as Buñuel subsequently emigrated from Mexico to France where filmed other excellent movies . After moving to Paris , at the beginning Buñuel did a variety of film-related odd jobs , including working as an assistant to director Jean Epstein . With financial help from his mother and creative assistance from Dalí, he made his first film , this 17-minute “Un Chien Andalou” (1929), and immediately catapulted himself into film history thanks to its disturbing images and surrealist plot . The following year , sponsored by wealthy art patrons, he made his first picture , the scabrous witty and violent “Age of Gold” (1930), which mercilessly attacked the church and the middle classes, themes that would preoccupy Buñuel for the rest of his career . That career, though, seemed almost over by the mid-1930s, as he found work increasingly hard to come by and after the Spanish Civil War , where he made ¨Las Hurdes¨ , as Luis emigrated to the US where he worked for the Museum of Modern Art and as a film dubber for Warner Bros . He subsequently went on his Mexican period with “The Great Madcap” , ¨Los Olvidados¨ , ¨The brute¨, “Wuthering Heights”, ¨El¨ , “The Criminal Life of Archibaldo De la Cruz” , ¨Robinson Crusoe¨ , ¨Death in the garden¨ and many others . And finally his French-Spanish period in collaboration with producer Serge Silberman and writer Jean-Claude Carrière with notorious as well as polemic films such as ¨Viridiana¨ , Tristana¨ , ¨The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and his last picture , “That Obscure Object of Desire” .

  • sanur-aslan
    sanur aslan

    This rarely seen Franco-Mexican ‘potboiler’ is perhaps most significant today for being the first of seven collaborations between Spanish director Luis Bunuel and genial French character actor Michel Piccoli – who would practically become an adopted son to the surrealist master’s. Although I am aware of at least one late-night Italian TV screening in the early 1990s, I finally got acquainted with it via the priceless Bunuel retrospective I attended eighteen months ago at London’s National Film Theater; thankfully, I came across the film again recently on DivX and, in spite of the uncharacteristically slangy American subtitles – which were difficult to make out (despite being unusually large) whenever popping up against a white background – I now gladly revisited it to mark the 25th anniversary of Bunuel’s death.The film deals with the escape journey (up the river on a corrupt trader’s barge bound for Brazil) of a band of misfits from a South American revolution triggered by the Fascist state’s retrieval of the rights of any enterprising miner (read down-and-out bums and renegade adventurers) to hunt for diamonds (one of the film’s various international monikers was, in fact, THE DIAMOND HUNTERS – which is how it is listed in the 1996 Leonard Maltin guide I own); incidentally, the country-in-turmoil setting anticipates Bunuel’s next French movie, LA FIEVRE MONTE A EL PAO aka REPUBLIC OF SIN (1959). After a fairly plot-heavy first half which serves to introduce the major characters and, uncharacteristically for Bunuel, gives rise to some well-staged action sequences, the film really starts to hum when the disparate party of six (four men and two women) embark on their riverside trek through the deadly Amazon jungle (the “garden” of the title). Incidentally, the movie is said to have been a hefty 145 minutes long in Mexico, while being reduced to 107 elsewhere – echoing the fate of the not-too-dissimilar THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953), with which it shares co-star Charles Vanel! The undeniable highlight comes towards the mid-point with an extraordinary succession of shots which are distinctly Bunuelian: having finally managed to kill and skin a snake, the famished travelers are unable to light a fire to cook it on so the priest (Piccoli) quietly takes out a Bible from his sack and, just as he is tearing a leaf from it, the flame is ignited; however, their elation is short-lived since their reptilian dinner has seemingly sprung back to life while being ravaged by a multitude of ants (an unforgettable image that harks back to Bunuel’s life-long love of insects); in the resulting delirium from hunger, a photo of the Arch of Triumph held dearly by Charles Vanel (as it reminded him of his dream of owning a Parisian restaurant) is startlingly accompanied by the cacophony of its typical nightlife, before being summarily torn to shreds and thrown away – an act which later alerts the unfortunate bunch that they have been going around in circles! To top it all, we also have Piccoli’s feverish monologue about soft-boiled eggs which, like one of the characters from Bunuel’s later masterpiece THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE (1972), he feels compelled to impart to his fellow companions. In spite of his unsubtle name, Fr. Lizardi is easily the most fascinating character in the film – piously advocating submission to the state and yet confronted by both lust and greed when left to his own devices. Ironically enough, what finally saves the group (albeit temporarily) is the fact that 50 poor souls had to die in a plane crash, a site which they stumble upon in the middle of the forbidding jungle! Georges Marchal (in the second of four films he made with Bunuel) plays an adventurer named Shark who is hilariously introduced by giving the index finger salute to the soldiers holding the miners at bay; arrested by the latter, they step inside a Church to pray but at the same time don’t hesitate to beat their prisoner into a kneeling position, after which he is stroked by Vanel’s lovely deaf-mute daughter whom he had previously mistreated himself (played by Michele Girardon who, despite having no previous acting background, would eventually land a key role amidst another ensemble cast in Howard Hawks’ exhilarating HATARI! [1962]…though, sadly, her life ended in suicide at age 36). Simone Signoret plays Djin – another alternate name for this film was the bland GINA(!) – the locale’s most popular whore whom Vanel seeks to marry, Piccoli is caught ‘with’ her by the townsfolk and Marchal loses no opportunity to beat up (in spite of her declared love for him); perhaps this was Bunuel’s way of punishing Signoret who, reportedly, proved quite temperamental on the set! In any case, it was a nicely ironic and surreal touch to have her impeccably dressed in evening gown and jewelry (pilfered from the plane crash victims, of course) right before being shot dead by a demented Vanel.Ultimately, this must surely be one of Bunuel’s most accessible films and arguably his most enjoyable genre effort which, as was his custom, the director infuses with personal touches that greatly enhance both the fun factor and thematic value of what could have easily been just another throwaway jungle adventure. Judiciously, Paul Misraki’s beautiful acoustic score is only utilized for the start and end credits since the jungle segment is evocatively (yet eerily) accompanied by the sounds of wildlife.

  • ines-buendia-fabregat
    ines buendia fabregat

    This is an astounding movie, and it’s also one of Bunuel’s most accessible films…The only problem I can find with this movie is that there are no good DVD copy’s as far as i know. In the copy I watched, the subs were nearly unreadable in spots and the film had faded badly. Even with those problems, it’s clear that this is one of his best movies. Maybe not in his top 5, but certainly in the top 8.Death in the garden is action packed. There’s almost too much social commentary to call it a simple action film, but in every other way, that’s what it is. This is a movie packed with emotional violence, physical violence, lurid sexuality (for the time)… Blood sweat tears and constant tension.. I think this may be the only Buñuel film with a protracted massive gun battle, and it’s shot expertly. That scene alone proves without a doubt that Buñuel could have went to Hollywood and made big budget commercial films if he had wanted too. His command of cinematic technique would have put him right up there with the best of them, no matter what kind of movie he was working on.But don’t get the wrong idea, this is still a Bunuel film in every way. It’s full of social commentary, it has touches of surrealism, his shooting style is just as awesome as it’s always been and the script is as sharp as a knife.This film has some of Bunuel’s best characters ever. Sometimes the people in his movies serve as symbols for certain classes of people… Archetypal personalities… The characters from “Death in the garden” are molded to fit into certain category’s, but they are more complex and multidimensional than usual. The moral Quandaries they face are difficult and the choices they make are always interesting. He’s still examining the whole human race through the lens of a few characters, but his examination is more even handed than usual, and the characters are VERY memorable.In the end though, I would say this movie has a very pessimistic view of humanity. It’s a movie full of meanness, savagery, and betrayal. Even the more likable characters are portrayed as mostly useless because of their lack of initiative. The second half of this film brings to mind the disintegration into animal behavior that you see in “The Exterminating Angel”…I could probably write for hours… Just suffice to say that this is one of his better works and it should be viewed more often… Hopefully someone like criterion will release this soon. It deserves to be re-discovered.

  • linda-andrews
    linda andrews

    Underseen Bunuel movie starring Simone Signoret and Michel Piccoli, among others. These two, playing a prostitute and a priest respectively, are joined by Charles Vanel, Georges Marchal and Michele Girardon as a group of people in South America trying to escape an oppressive government. Marchal and Vanel, both diamond miners, are two men taken as revolutionaries by those in charge. The first half of the movie is about their getting into trouble, and their attempt to find a way out of the country. The second, and more interesting half takes place in the jungle, where the group gets stranded during their escape attempt. Many of Bunuel’s pet themes come up, and there’s a lot of his signature visual trademarks. The most potent image is that of a python Marchal kills with a machete, thrown down to the ground while they try to start the fire. Piccoli looks over at it and its corpse is writhing with fire ants. It’s a pretty good story, very gripping in its latter half. It may not rank alongside Bunuel’s best, but it’s certainly a worthy film in his canon.

  • derek-mckay
    derek mckay

    Bunuel doing an adventure movie is fine in my book. Why do people have to be such snobs when it comes to pigeonholing directors? Some of the films Bunuel made during this period, he may have been personally disappointed because he might have rather been making pix with subject matter more of his choosing. Nevertheless the things that Bunuel brings to this movie – the subtle deadpan humor throughout, the irreverent politics, the surreal touches (especially in the last third of the film when our fugitive protagonists are in the jungle) — make this a gem. Plus Georges Marchal, Charles Vanel and Michel Piccoli are stupendous. And Signoret is in a class by herself. Not only was she one of the most stunningly gorgeous and sexy actresses in movies anywhere in the world in the 1950s, she was also a great actress and perfect here as the unrepentant, mercenary whore who falls in love. The last jungle sequence has some of the most beautifully surreal images in any film from the decade. The new DVD is highly recommended. A really perfect balance of elements.

  • vladimir-dvorak
    vladimir dvorak

    I love most of Bunuel’s films but “Death In the Garden” is definitely my absolute favorite, ahead of “Los Olvidados,” and even “Viridiana.” For me, this is as close to perfection as you can get doing ‘transcendent realist’ or ‘transcendent existentialist’ cinema (although Bunuel has gotten tagged as a ‘surrealist,’ most of his ’50s work actually has very little to do with that movement and style, and a couple of ‘trippy’ scenes here and there shouldn’t automatically serve to qualify those films in the same boat as “The Exterminating Angel” or “Phantom of Liberty,” etc.). To most critics, when they even bother to mention this great film in talking about Bunuel, this is nothing but a ‘flawed’ film, a commercial chore or ‘assignment.’ To that I’ll have to say: “If only 1 out of a 100 commercial ‘chores’ ended up as fascinatingly timeless as “Death in the Garden,” the cinema would go through a major cultural revival!” The ‘flaws’ in this film are further aspects of its pefection, if taken in the proper ‘absurdist’ perspective the film has toward ‘reality.’ It has its lunatic elements and a few supernatural angles like all Bunuel films, but it also showcases the ‘romantic’ side of the man too often labeled a pessimist. By ‘romantic’ I mean, he’s managed to fit his auteurist obsessions within a colorful, picturesque film about amoral adventurers in the Amazon jungle who descend into ‘the Heart of Darkness.’ Also, for one thing, there is some twisted heroism, or ‘anti-heroism’ going on here. The completely ‘amoral’ yet not unadmirable Georges Marchal character “Shark” is the closest thing to an Yves Montand/Wages-of-Fear type tough-guy ‘hero’ Bunuel ever got. On the surface “Death in the GArden” is a “Wages of Fear” like adventure story (Charles Vanel from Clouzot’s masterpiece is one of the main characters) where a bunch of people are put under pressure and forced to work together and survive. The people putting the pressure on are the military fascists not the industrialist-fascists of “Wages of ear.” The story happens in a South American state, where a bunch of Diamond miners are being chased out by the corrupt military government. When a small-scale civil war breaks out, the leaders of the rebels become hunted men, and they have to escape by boat, ending up in a rain-soaked amazon jungle trying to get to Brazil. The characters have to cooperate and survive under an increasingly hopeless situation and reveal fascinating aspects of themselves in the process. To incorporate Bunuel’s anti-clerical satire, of course, one of them is a Nazarin-like priest, brilliantly portrayed by a very young Michel Piccoli. And like all Bunuel films, there are no moral black and whites to be found anywhere, no stereotypes, but only a dynamically evolving morality shaded in different grays leaning toward the black here, toward the white there, depending on the situation that’s being dealt with. You come to have a deep level of sympathy with almost every rogue main character in the film, even Simone Signoret’s avaricious Madame, but only after examining them as totally flawed human beings capable of many bizzare deeds, some admirable, others despicable, etc.Like most of Bunuel’s films, “Death in the Garden” gets its main tone , originality, relevance, and philosophical strength from the hilariously absurd farcical scenes that constantly frustrate the action (but not in a totally irrational way as in the later allegorical, surrealist films), a deep identification with religion in order to remain that much more strongly anticlerical, and a complete lack of sentimentality; unlike most other Bunuel, this one has ravishingly beautiful color cinematography (very lush and colorful, almost Renoir-like, Renoir being an obvious favorite of Bunuel’s since he not only re-made “Diary of a Chambermaid,” but used Zachary Scott from “The Southerner,” as his lead actor in “The Young One,” his, in some ways Southerner-like foray into and artistic, if not commercial, conquest of American Cinema). Oh yeah! Did I mention the beautiful young deaf girl whose long hair gets stuck in a tree?! What more could you want? This is definitely a MASTERPIECE film that should be transferred to a good DVD as soon as feasible. The Interama video copy uses a scratchy old print, is not letterboxed, and has readable but ugly subtitles; yet, the beauty of this film comes through even in that format.

  • axel-pettersson
    axel pettersson

    I had seen nearly all of Bunuel’s films, including his early “commercial” Mexican ones, but had actually never heard of this one before seeing it. This is really an extraordinary film! The great cast is just the beginning. It starts much like an “A” Western, with lines drawn between diamond miners and corrupt Mexican officials. Leading archetypical characters are introduced in a classic manner: the arrogant lone stranger with a distinctive cowboy hat; the old prospector who just wants to build a nest-egg so he can open a restaurant in Paris; his deaf-mute daughter; the cynical gal who does well by doing the best she can; and the naive priest. This last is, of course, a very Bunuelian character; his every good deed backfires on him, and his proselytizing is financed by big companies who find Christianized natives a cheap source of labor. The events have a classic cast and are filmed with great, stylish skill and action-film panache. But classic Bunuelian touches abound. An example: the soldiers who arrest the stranger on a trumped-up charge stop off at the church to pray, and brutally kick him to a kneeling position. The deaf-mute girl, who he had previously treated cruelly, happens to be kneeling next to him and strokes his face in compassion.When a street battle goes badly, the lead characters all seek escape on a small steamer going up-river, and when a faster patrol boat catches up to them, they take off in the jungle on foot. At this point they quickly become lost. The pace perceptibly slows, and it becomes a film of another sort entirely. Finally, in a Bunuelian ironic ending, death comes to this strange garden. The kicker of the ending (which must have seemed much stronger in 1956) must have been in the original novel and is probably what attracted Bunuel to the story. The final scenes put one in mind of Herzog’s later AGUIRRE; in fact, the whole second half of this film follows a path similar to AGUIRRE.I am amazed that I can find no reference or commentary on this film in print, other than in checklists of Bunuel’s work. I can only assume the film is caught in the classic Catch 22 of being unavailable because it is unknown and unknown because it is unavailable. It should be considered a major film in Bunuel’s oeuvre! The comments of aw-komon-2, dbdumontiel, and UndeadMaster on this site are all right on the mark. This is definitely a film that cries for rerelease and reevaluation.

  • egil-jensen
    egil jensen

    CONTAINS SPOILERS .CONTAINS SPOILERS;CONTAINS SPOILERSAt first sight,”la Mort en Ce Jardin” looks like an adventure yarn for the whole family,but I hope the grown-ups are old enough to know better;it’s for sure a very accessible work,when compared to former ones (un chien andalou,los hurdes,el)but do not believe the great Spanish director has lost his bite:even when he filmed “Robinson Crusoe” (another “family movie”?),Bunuel’s obsessions surfaced.What puzzles the spectator is the big budget:scope,colors(and the cinematography in the second part is absolutely enthralling),big French stars (Simone Signoret and Charles Vanel ,fresh from Clouzot’s “les diaboliques”,George Marshall,and also Michel Piccoli who ,though by no means at the beginning of his career,was not very known yet),and a score by Paul Miraski,one of Edith Piaf’s favorite composers.There are two jungles:the first one is Man Jungle.Its predators are the military men,its bitter fruit is religion.As the colonels humiliate,forbid,imprison,torture and kill,the priests-here represented by father Lizzardi(Piccoli)-urge the population to resign themselves to it.This priest character is very important,because he is the rough draft of what will be completely fulfilled two years later in “Nazarin”-“La Mort en Ce Jardin” will seem more relevant if you know the 1958 film-You’ve got to see Piccoli,bringing religious consolation to the prisoners in their dungeon:The raider Chark (Marshall ),who is practical-minded -and who’s thus akin to “Viridiana”‘s cousin in the 1961 masterwork- will pretend he take the priest’s holy writ seriously,only in order to escape.But the best scene in which Bunuel shows his true face is the one in the church.Chark, prisoner led by the soldiers ,walks across a church where Lizzardi is celebrating mass:with his gun,one of the soldiers forces him to kneel down.Later another character will tell the priest that everywhere he and his religious mates come,begins the exploiters’reign.This first part has often be criticized,because they say it moves too slow,but it’s necessary to make acquaintance with the main characters ,who will leave the first jungle for the second one:outside Lizzardi and Chark,we have an old man( Vanel),who’s forced to escape because the army thinks he is an agitator,his mute daughter,and a prostitute Djinn (Signoret,at her bitchiest).The second part has been praised quite rightly so.Bunuel succeeded in creating a stifling atmosphere full of animal noises -the music is totally absent here and will come back only for the last shots-.The astounding cinematography enhances a green hell garden and these who thinks Bunuel completely jettisoned his surrealistic art should have a second look at it:because it is HERE,even if it’s fleetingly.I will take four examples:the first one is the Paris postcard:for a very short while,we do believe the fugitives are back in their dear country;the second one is the snake eaten by ants (seen through the priest’s eyes).There’s more to the picture than meets the eye:the plane which had crashed in the jungle and which will save some of the characters acquires a surrealistic dimension.”God has saved us!” the priest tells.But the raider is not fooled:”it took fifty people’s lives (the plane passengers) to save us!”.But the most extraordinary picture is Signoret,in the jungle,wearing an evening gown,complete with bright jewels,she’s found in the plane.Here again,the priest will be completely helpless,his bible can only be used to light a fire (always Bunuel’s practical mind).And Bunuel’s religious disgust reaches a climax when the old man goes crazy and yells that God has cursed them .That work ,generally regarded as a minor Bunuel work,is actually extremely intriguing.Although it has not the strength of such works as the ones I mention above ,it includes almost all his recurrent features.Adapted from a José André Lacour novel,dialogue by Raymond Queneau,who wrote “Zazie dans le métro”,which Louis Malle transferred to the screen in 1960.