::Marlene Dietrich Internet Museum
by Michael Puettner Language English Language German



::1936 - The Garden of Allah / Der Garten Allahs

USA 1936

After the death of her invalid father, wealthy Domini Enfilden returns to Le Couvent de Ste. Cecile, where she was reared, to seek counsel from Mother Josephine about her loneliness. The Mother Superior tells her that in the solitude of the Sahara Desert, she might find herself. Meanwhile, at a Trappist monastery at el Lagarnine in Tunis in Northern Africa, a visitor, Captain de Trevignac, tastes the liqueur for which the monastery is famous. The liqueur is made from a secret formula by Brother Antoine, who has just fled the monastery, taking the secret with him. En route to the city of Beni Mora, Algeria, Domini meets Antoine on a train, but he is silent. Later, in a cafe, Antoine is entranced by an exotic dancer named Irena. When Irena pulls a knife on her lover, Hadj, who will not marry her, Antoine helps Domini flee, and introduces himself as Boris Androvsky. The next day, they ride to the Oasis of the city Azur, where they meet Count Ferdinand Anteoni, who tells Domini to wait to venture into the desert until the urge is very strong. When native girls admire the crucifix around Boris' neck, he gives it to them by casting it in the water. Although Boris attracts Domini, he shocks her by his violent antipathy to religion. Anteoni warns Domini, "a man who fears to acknowledge his God is unwise to set foot in the desert," and tells them that the Arabs have a saying that the desert is the garden of Allah. Later, a sand diviner tells Domini that something glorious is in store for her during her pilgrimage into the desert, but also gives her a grave warning. As the weeks pass, Domini and Boris fall in love, and Boris still keeps his past a secret. While out riding, they come to a church, as the seer foretold. There, Father J. Roubier, who promised Mother Superior he would look out for Domini, notices Boris' fear and anger toward the church. Although the priest warns Domini not to make friends with Boris, after Boris threatens to leave, he and Domini swear their love, and the priest agrees to marry them the next day. Following the wedding, Boris and Domini take a caravan into the desert with Domini's guide, Batouch, and Hadj. One night, Domini lights a torch to guide Boris back to the camp, and inadvertently saves a patrol that has been lost for three days. Among the men is de Trevignac. Boris returns and de Trevignac is sure they have met before. After Batouch serves a bottle of the Lagarnine liqueur, de Trevignac remembers who Boris is and leaves the table in anger. Domini, confused, pleads with Boris to tell her the truth, but he refuses. At dawn, Domini asks de Trevignac to tell her what happened between him and Boris, but he merely crosses himself and walks away. De Trevignac and his men depart, but he tells Anteoni where the caravan is camped. At dinner, Anteoni tells the story of the Lagarnine liqueur, which will never again be manufactured as the monk who knew the secret of the liqueur disappeared after taking his final vows. Domini is horrified by the story, but Boris asserts that the man had a right to love, then cries at the realization of what he has done. After Anteoni leaves, Boris falls on his knees in the sand and tells Domini about his life at the monastery, where he had lived since childhood under the vow of silence, and spoke with people for the first time when, as an adult he was put in charge of the monastery's hotel. Believing that no one who loves will be punished by God, Domini agrees to let Boris return to the monastery and make reparations, promising that they will be together forever. At the gates of the monastery, Boris and Domini embrace for the last time.

Franchot Tone (Howard Malloy)
Marlene Dietrich (Domini Enfilden)
Charles Boyer (Boris Androvsky)
Basil Rathbone (Count Ferdinand Anteoni)
C. Aubrey Smith (Father J. Roubier)
Joseph Schildkraut (Batouch)
John Carradine (Sand Diviner)
Alan Marshal (Capt. De Trevignac)
Lucile Watson (Mother Superior Josephine)
Henry Brandon (Hadj)
Tilly Losch (Irena)
Eric Alden (Anteoni's Lieutenant)
Louis Aldez (Blind Singer)
Harlan Briggs (American Tourist in Hotel)
John Bryan (Brother Gregory)
Ann Bupp (Girl)
Pedro de Cordoba (Gardener)
Corky (Bous-Bous the Dog)
Nigel De Brulier (Lector at Monastery)
Marcel De la Brosse (Member of De Trevignac's Patrol)
Barry Downing (Little Boris)
Helen Jerome Eddy (Nun)
Irene Franklin (American Tourist's Wife)
Robert Frazer (Smain)
John George (Waiter)
Ann Gillis (Convent Girl #2)
Ferdinand Gottschalk (Hotel Clerk)
Betty Jane Graham (Convent Girl)
Bonita Granville (Convent Girl)
Edna Mae Harris (Oasis Girl)
Marcia Mae Jones (Convent Girl #1)
Jane Kerr (Ouled Nails Madam)
Leonid Kinskey (Voluble Arab)
Michael Mark (Coachman)
Andrew McKenna (Mueddin)
Louis Mercier (Member of De Trevignac's Patrol)
Russ Powell (Proprietor)
Frank Puglia (Man)
Maria Riva (Young Girl Sewing)
Adrian Rosley (Mustapha)
Marion Sayers (Oasis Girl)
David Scott (Larby)
Robert R. Stephenson (Member of De Trevignac's Patrol)
Frances Turham (Oasis Girl)
Betty Van Auken (Oasis Girl)
Charles Waldron (Abbe of Monastery)

Richard Boleslawski (director)
W.P. Lipscomb and Lynn Riggs (screen play)
Willis Goldbeck (contributor to treatment)
David O. Selznick (producer)
Max Steiner (original music)
W. Howard Greene (cinematography)
Virgil Miller (director of photography)
Harold Rosson (cinematography)
Hal C. Kern (film editor)
Anson Stevenson (film editor)
Sturges Carne (settings)
Lyle R. Wheeler (settings)
Edward G. Boyle (settings)
Ernest Dryden (costume design)
Sam Kaufman (makeup artist)
Eric Stacey (assistant director)
Otto Brower (second unit director)
Chauncy Pyle (assistant director)
Lansing C. Holden (color designer)
Irving W. Sindler (props)
Earl A. Wolcott (sound recordist)
T.A. Carman (boom operator)
Jack Cosgrove (special effects)
Clarence Slifer (special effects cinematographer)
W. Howard Greene (photographer)
Robert Carney (associate photographer)
Wilfred M. Cline (associate photographer)
Nelson Cordes (assistant camera)
Don Dickey (grip)
Frank Leavitt (grip)
Oran McPherson (electrician)
Morris Rosen (electrician)
Bill Bowman (wardrobe)
Jeannette Couget (costume maker)
R.H. Bassett (orchestrator)
Hugo Friedhofer (orchestrator)
Bernhard Kaun (orchestrator)
George Parrish (orchestrator)
Edward B. Powell (orchestrator)
Willis Goldbeck (assistant to producer)
Natalie Kalmus (technicolor color supervisor)
Harold Rosson (photographic advisor)
Joshua Logan (dialogue director)
based on a novel by Robert Hichens

80 Minutes

15 April - 3 July 1936, Chatsworth, Selznick Studios
Outside Filming: Desert at Yuma, Arizona

New York premiere: 15 Oct 1936, Radio City Music Hall
World premiere, London: 15 Nov 1936
Los Angeles premiere: 2 Dec 1936

Oscar 1936:
W. Howard Greene, Harold Rosson (Camera Special Award)

Oscar-Nominations 1936:
Eric G. Stacey (Best Assistant Director)
Max Steiner (Best Music)