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The Garden of Allah (1936)

Marlene Dietrich , Charles Boyer , Richard Boleslawski  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Price: $35.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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The Garden of Allah + Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection (Morocco/ Blonde Venus/ The Devil Is a Woman/ Flame of New Orleans/ Golden Earrings)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Marlene Dietrich, Charles Boyer, Tilly Losch, Basil Rathbone, C. Aubrey Smith
  • Directors: Richard Boleslawski
  • Writers: Lynn Riggs, Robert Hichens, W.P. Lipscomb, Willis Goldbeck
  • Producers: David O. Selznick
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: November 28, 2000
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Y6AM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,785 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Garden of Allah" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer play a pair of lost souls who meet in the desert. She is the sheltered Domini, looking for spiritual enlightenment in the Sahara. He is Boris, a young monk who has abandoned the monastery, wanting to experience the outside world. Together, they fall in love and try to come to terms with their mutual guilt while having a passionate affair. C. Aubrey Smith and Basil Rathbone serve as guides for Domini. John Carradine cameos as a bizarre fortune teller.

Unfortunately, even an excellent cast can't save this sandy soaper from itself. Although the Technicolor cinematography is gorgeous, and Dietrich sports a new and more stunning gown for every desert occasion, viewers will find no oasis to quench their thirst. Basically, this is a very early version of Hollywood's "sex and sand" films, so popular in the 1950s--lush, unusual, and ultimately silly. --Mark Savary

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic is Reborn December 15, 2000
Producer David O. Selznick let the viewer know from the beginning of his films that they were "in the tradition of quality" from the colonial-like logo at the beginning all the way through to the end. THE GARDEN OF ALLAH was his first film in the then-rather new three-strip Technicolor. Up to now, one could only wince at prints that belched muffled sound and greeted the eye with unbalanced color and fuzzy optics. One was left to wonder just what standard of "quality" Selznick settled for in this expensively mounted films of the 1930s and 1940s.
Fortunately, with Anchor Bay's DVD release, ALLAH is a classic literally reborn. Thanks to the Disney company, the current owner of the picture and responsible for restoring it, ALLAH is an entirely new film--sharp focus, vivid, stunning Technicolor, and a soundtrack that not only has a tremendous presence, but brings out all of the instruments and subtle tones in the great score by Max Steiner that provides at least half of the mood and atmosphere of this film.
Yes, the story is old-fashioned about a trappist monk (Boyer) who renounces his vows and marries a lonely rich woman (Dietrich) who goes into the desert to find her meaning in life. But ALLAH shows just why Boyer and Dietrich were hot stuff in those days. This fatalistic story has a charm all its own, due in large part to the magnificent presentation of Anchor Bay's tremendous print.
Anchor Bay's ALLAH sets a completely new standard for the DVD of a Technicolor film from the 30s. Enjoy
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Lovers of doomed exotic Romance October 2, 2002
Handsome movie, breathtakingly filmed in color, in fact, one of the first full length films in technicolor.
The image of the dvd edition, is so near perfection that it's difficult to believe that this picture was released in 1936!
The plot is for sure outdated, but nevertheless the story of the doomed love affair between convent-educated Domini Enfilden and russian Boris Androvsky, a tormented trappist monk, who's just fled from his monastery, set against the beautiful background scenery of the desert, is enjoyable due to its aforementioned technical qualities and the "continental"appeal of both stars, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer.
Although Dietrich looks stylish and alluring as Domini Enfilden, I feel she never looked as good again, as in her early `30s black & white Paramount films, directed by Von Sternberg. Boyer is effective as the troubled monk, who wants a taste of the "outside world".
Excellent support by Basil Rathbone, Joseph Schildkraut and C. Aubrey Smith, plus a spectacular exotic arab dance sequence by then newcomer, Tilly Losch.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A DIETRICH CURIOUSITY. August 26, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
An unusual film which will appeal to some for that very reason. The production values were obviously first-rate: the photography, musical score and direction are fine while the plot and characterisations are fairly rich and deep. As Domini, Dietrich is all nobility here. Seeking a spiritual rest after caring for her dying father, her advisor tells her to seek peace in the Algerian desert where she meets a trappist monk - who has broken his vows - in the person of Charles Boyer...This film wasn't one of Marlene's personal favourites: she thought the dialogue was in parts ridiculous - i.e. having to say such lines as "Nobody but God and I know what is in my heart" during a romantic interlude with Boyer. "The conceit of it! I tell you I very nearly died"! was her remark. Based upon the 1904 novel by Robert Hitchens, this curious film was shot on location near Yuma, Arizona. The film was sensitively directed by Richard Boleslawski and the still - gorgeous colour cinematography won an AA for Howard Greene.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT COLORS September 17, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
At a time when making black and white movies was the norm, The Garden of Allah stands out on its own as it was made in 1936 in gorgeous color. I have nothing against black and white movies, as a matter of fact, I'm a fan of the old movies, but this movie would not be as effective if it wasn't in color. The strength of this movie lies in the outstanding sceneries just bursting with color. The crimson yellowish Sahara desert during sunset, seductive nights under dark purplish blue skies filled with thousands of sparkling jewel like stars and let's not forget the gorgeous and colorful flowing wardrobe of Domini Enfilden played by Marlene Dietrich. Charles Boyer plays the tourtured monk, Boris Androvsky and the two of them are caught in a whirlwind of passion for eachother in the hot desert. So, sit back, relax and let the movie transport you to another time and place. Enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful restoration of a classic film July 1, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
All classic films deserve to be seen on their own terms. "The Garden of Allah" is a product of 1936 Hollywood and an excellent product it is!

Early in the film we learn that a Trappist monk has run away from the monastery and forsaken his vows. When this is revealed to his brother monks their shock is almost palpable through the camera and across the decades. The runaway priest (Charles Boyer) soon crosses paths with a beautiful, kind and wealthy woman (Marlene Dietrich) who is going on a spiritual retreat into the desert. One thing leads to another and the couple soon fall in love. She doesn't know his secret, but the audience does. (Frankly, I did find the premise shocking, especially considering the era in which it was made.)

"The Garden of Allah" is a visually stunning film. The MGM print has been superbly restored. The palette is warm and rich without looking oversaturated as was the case with many other Technicolor films of the same era. (The way Technicolor is used in "The Garden of Allah" makes "Gone With the Wind" look garish by comparison.)

The cinematography is astonishing! There are plenty of gorgeous shots of Buttercup Dunes, California sanding in for the Sahara. But even more impressive are scenes such as the one in which the dancing girl first sees Boyer's character and her eyes literally sparkle; the play of light and shadow across the faces of the lovers under the palm trees of an oasis; or the unshed tears in Boyer's eye at the end of the film.

Domini Enfilden may not have been Marlene Dietrich's finest acting role, but I've never seen her look more exquisite than she does here. The costumes, the color, the lights - all show her off to maximum advantage.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Boyer and Dietrich - Nothing better!
Beautiful photography. Boyer outstanding as usual. Deitrich beautiful. Shildkraut (not spelled right) unrecognizable in light of his later screen roles, but very good in this... Read more
Published 2 months ago by PegP
3.0 out of 5 stars silly-ish story
Movies of that era tend to be cheesy. But I'm a fan and at least she played opposite Charles Boyer and not Ray Milland.
Published 2 months ago by marilyn higginson
5.0 out of 5 stars Anchor Bay Release
My god, it's gorgeous, the color and print quality are wonderful! The story is more or less interesting, though to be perfectly honest it's far too beautifully told to matter.
Published 2 months ago by jacob
4.0 out of 5 stars garden of allah
this movie is very nice, acting the story wonderful love story and the sacrifice they face. the only thing I didn't like was the way my dvd was me . Read more
Published 10 months ago by mary jane thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars An historic film which captured the glory of the young actors.
This performance really brought back fond memories of Marlene and Charles Boyer in their prime, and helped us reminisce about the grand old days of films. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Recumbent
1.0 out of 5 stars Of interest to those who wish to see Marlene Dietrich wear a variety...
Of interest to those who wish to see Marlene Dietrich wear a variety of clothing.

For the rest, watch Blue Angel again.
Published 11 months ago by V. R. Padgett
5.0 out of 5 stars yildiz
A vintage film with all sorts of content errors, but all the Hollywood glamour of the time. I very much enjoyed the film.
Published 11 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Marlene Dietrich is Breathtaking...
Beautiful story...stunning visuals...superb acting. They literally don't make movies like this any more. Such depth and emotional sensitivity is so rare in this world now.
Published 13 months ago by LDN
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful technicolor
I'm so glad that I read the reviews that described how beautiful this film is. They did not exaggerate one bit. It is a gorgeous example of the original technicolor process. Read more
Published 17 months ago by JJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Super color and actual drama
What a nice surprise. This movie actually had real drama, as opposed to the trite fare currently produced by special technological feats. It produces no weeping but it might. Read more
Published on October 21, 2011 by Schnauzerbark
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