6.6/10
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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

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0:31 | Trailer
A visiting city reporter's (John Cusack's) assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire (Kevin Spacey), whom he befriends.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

John Berendt (book), John Lee Hancock (screenplay)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cusack ... John Kelso
Kevin Spacey ... Jim Williams
Jack Thompson ... Sonny Seiler
Irma P. Hall ... Minerva
Jude Law ... Billy Hanson
Alison Eastwood ... Mandy Nicholls
Paul Hipp ... Joe Odom
Lady Chablis ... Chablis Deveau (as The Lady Chablis)
Dorothy Loudon ... Serena Dawes
Anne Haney ... Margaret Williams
Kim Hunter ... Betty Harty
Geoffrey Lewis ... Luther Driggers
Richard Herd ... Henry Skerridge
Leon Rippy ... Detective Boone
Bob Gunton ... Finley Largent
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Storyline

This panoramic tale of Savannah, Georgia's eccentricities focuses on a murder and the subsequent trial of James Arthur Williams (Kevin Spacey): self made man, art collector, antiques dealer, bon vivant, and semi-closeted homosexual. John Kelso (John Cusack) a magazine reporter, finds himself in Savannah amidst the beautiful architecture and odd doings to write a feature on one of William's famous Christmas parties. He is intrigued by Williams from the start, but his curiosity is piqued when he meets Jim's violent, young and sexy lover, Billy Hanson (Jude Law). Later that night, Billy is dead, and Kelso stays on to cover the murder trial. Along the way, he encounters the irrepressible Chablis Deveau (Lady Chablis), a drag queen commedienne, Sonny Seiler (Jack Thompson), lawyer to Williams, whose famous dog, Uga, is the official mascot of the Georgia Bulldogs, an odd man who keeps flies attached to mini leashes on his lapels and threatens daily to poison the water supply, the Married ... Written by Teresa B. O'Donnell <sun.moon.stars@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Welcome to Savannah, Georgia. A City Of Hot Nights And Cold Blooded Murder.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Medianoche en el jardín del bien y del mal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,233,658, 23 November 1997

Gross USA:

$25,105,255

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,105,255
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The famous Bird Girl statue shown at the beginning of the movie is not one of the original four. It is a replica. The hands are backwards. The statue's thumbs are facing the camera, when they should not be visible while holding the bowls. See more »

Goofs

Billy's grip on the liquor bottle at the Christmas party changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Minerva: Quit eye balling me, Flavius. I knew you when you was a two bit hustler on Bull Street.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing disclaimer: This film is based upon John Berendt's book "MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL". Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatization. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK Region 2 multi-DVD box set titled "CLINT EASTWOOD 35 YEARS, 35 FILMS" (EAN 5051892017114) released on August 16, 2010 makes reference to the inclusion of a Director's Cut. Eastwood has admitted to shooting a "love scene" between Kevin Spacey and Alison Eastwood and then cutting it from this film and although not confirmed it is suspected this is included to make some or all of the Director's Cut. The latter information sourced from http://www.screenit.com/movies/1997/midnight_in_the_garden_of_good_&_evil.html See more »

Connections

Referenced in Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag: Bon Appétit, Y'all (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Jeepers Creepers
Written by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren
See more »

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User Reviews

Eastwood, the Gothic cowboy, hits Savannah.
31 October 2000 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

A clever but flawed example of the black art of adapting a very literary work to film. The plot has been streamlined (one trial instead of four), some of the characters given expanded roles, others dropped out, a fictitious affair inserted. However the essentially journalistic narrative remains, and the theme remains – outsider tries to understand an inward-looking society bent on preserving their environment and way of life and resisting outside influence. Healthy decadence, if there is such a thing.

The Jim Williams case is really just a framework for author Berendt's enquiry into what makes Savannah tick, and the film tends to ignore that, concentrating on the trial(s) and Jim's relationship with the author figure, who is given a much bigger role than in the book. Hence some of the color bits, Minerva the voodoo lady, Joe the feckless party giver, even the Lady Chablis (played by herself) seemed kind of irrelevant.

Some nice acting was evident. Kevin Spacey as Jim Williams in a silver waistcoat and bushy moustache looked a bit like a riverboat gambler, but he held our attention, if not our sympathy. Jack Thompson as his lawyer showed his courtroom manner has come a long way since 'Breaker Morant' and almost had me convinced he really was a good ole boy from the American South instead of a Melbourne bred actor. The bulldog was good too.

Savannah is truly a cute town and deserves a visit; the film does not really do it justice. It's done the tourist industry there some good though. On a recent visit your correspondent was unable to get into Clary's, a fairly ordinary diner made famous by the book and the film, for lunch (they don't do dinner) due to the busloads of tourists that had descended on it. Never mind, there's better food elsewhere - try the deli on Drayton – Parker's, I think.


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