Watch The Garden of Eden
- 1 hr 15 min
The Garden of Eden, released in 1928, is a silent drama film set in the early 1900s. Directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Corinne Griffith, Louise Dresser, and Lowell Sherman, the movie delves deep into the lives of three individuals belonging to three distinct social classes in America. The movie begins with the introduction of Alitha (Griffith), a young and beautiful southern girl who is married off to a wealthy lawyer, Arthur Jerrold (Sherman). From the onset, the audience is exposed to the stark contrast between Alitha's warm Southern upbringing and her new life in the cold and austere North. Her new husband, though charming, is distant and more interested in his work than his wife. Arthur's mother, Mrs. Jerrold (Dresser), takes an immediate disliking to Alitha, and the tension between the two women only grows stronger as the movie progresses.
As the story unfolds, Alitha's vivacious and carefree nature begin to clash with Arthur's uptight and serious demeanor. Her husband's overbearing working hours and the lack of affection from him push Alitha towards shirking her duties as a proper wife, and she starts to lead a life of her own. Eventually, Alitha's reckless behavior leads her to develop romantic feelings for another man, Tony Graddon (Charles Ray), an easy-going and fun-loving artist.
The movie portrays the complications and consequences of extramarital affairs in a time where social etiquette reigned supreme. Alitha's dalliance with Tony sets off a chain reaction of events that threaten to destroy not only her own life but those of the people around her. Throughout the movie, the audience is exposed to the different perspectives of the characters as they navigate their lives through the sins, judgment, and forgiveness.
As the movie progresses, the garden becomes an underlying theme. It's the one place where Alitha can find solace and quiet, away from the unhappy and stressful domestic life. The Garden of Eden is a metaphor for the beauty of nature and its association with calm and peace. The garden is a place where the characters find their true selves among the flowers and greenery.
The movie's treatment of adultery is quite modern for its time, as the production code, which governed the portrayal of sin, did not yet exist in Hollywood. The Garden of Eden explored taboo subjects such as extramarital affairs and spousal estrangement. The film showcased how these issues created internal conflict among the characters and how they turned to the outside world and sought refuge in something, anything that made sense.
The Garden of Eden's lead actress, Corinne Griffith, delivers a brilliant performance as Alitha, bringing her character alive with her magnetic presence and captivating smile. She illuminates the screen with her charm and variation in expression, capturing the audience's attention as she sinks further into the depths of the morality tale. Meanwhile, Dresser delivers an equally praiseworthy performance as Mrs. Jerrold, capturing the essence of the character with her icy glares and sharp tongue.
The conclusion of the movie serves as a reflection on the characters' choices and the cost of their mistakes. The movie ends with a message about regretâwith Alitha coming to terms with her affairs and asking for forgiveness from the people she hurt. The Garden of Eden is a movie that explores the inner turmoil that comes with living a life of deception while searching for happiness and escapism.
In summary, The Garden of Eden is a brilliant example of Hollywood's exploration of complex issues through quality storytelling. The movie delicately navigates through the taboo topic of marital infidelity, creating a riveting tale that is as relevant today as it was when it was first released. With exceptional performances, a gripping storyline, and beautiful visuals, The Garden of Eden is a film worth watching.
The Garden of Eden is a 1928 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 15 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.