Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil, John Berendt, book review, movie review, film review, Savannah, entertainment

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"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"

Three years after its publication, "The Book", and I don't mean the Bible, I mean 'THE BOOK', is having a resurgence in sales, particularly in the South where all bookstore window's carry the signs saying, 'Yes, we have the book'.

Of course they are referring to John Berendt's mystery non-fiction novel, "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil". One of the reasons for its continued success, may be the fact that Warner Bros. is planning a December release for the movie version, which is directed by Clint Eastwood, starring none other than that Academy Award winning actor, Kevin Spacey, and what a nice stretch it will be for him as the antiquartian, with a passion for a young man, played by Jude Law. He was the young man who drew raves on Broadway, in the Kathleen Turner play "Indiscressions", by doing a frontal nude scene coming out of the bathtub and lingering and languishing drying himself with not much of a towel. When I saw him on Broadway, all the opera glasses went up during this scene. So I imagine that Clint Eastwood made a great choice when he cast him, in this movie. Of course it will be interesting to also see the challenges that this movie provides for Mr. Eastwood. This is no western, like his, "The Unforgiven". What with, Minerva a voodoo priestess, that practices the most primitive black magic, played by Irma P. Hall and a drag queen, with the unlikely name of The Lady Chablis, seems her mother saw this name on a wine bottle and decided to give her that name.

The real star of the flick of course is the city of Savannah; it reeks with Spanish moss. John Berendt did not want to write the screenplay of his book because he felt the movie would end up being twenty-five hours long, so the job went to the screenwriter, John Lee Hancock, who proceeded to do research of the city for almost a year and half, before he could translate, the book into a screenplay. Now that it is in the can, Kevin Spacey, who seems to be just about every movie since he won the Oscar, says, "This is a film about tolerance, and I hope my performance will stop people from referring to Jim Williams, (His character in the film) in this limited way and defining him by his sexuality." Well, well hasn't Hollywood yet come to grips with the main character being gay. Here's one garden that is crawling with all kinds of weird, wicked, wild and demented characters, with John Cusack as the storyteller. The month of December is going to be a sensational month for movies.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story
by John Berendt
Published by Random House
Publication date: January 1, 1994
Warner Brothers

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Updated Tuesday, 16 September, 1997