The Garden of Allah (1936)

May 17th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Richard Boleslavski died just short of his 48th birthday – his death probably hastened by the rigours of having recently directed two temperamental stars in the Arizona desert – and is largely overlooked by modern students of the cinema, but left behind him an interesting body of work, including this historic production in Technicolor.

Greta Garbo’s favourite photographer William Daniels once lamented that his greatest regret was that he never got the chance to record her lovely blue eyes for posterity. Fortunately Marlene Dietrich appeared to good advantage in several intermittent Technicolor productions of which ‘The Garden of Allah’ was the first.

Considering the unwieldy nature of Technicolor technology at the time the camerawork is fluid and mobile – and deservedly won an Academy Award – while it’s new-found ability to register the colour blue is seen to good effect in the succession of diaphanous blue gowns worn by Dietrich. @RichardChatten


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