The Pleasure Garden (1953)

Article 5346 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-15-2017
Directed by James Broughton
Featuring Jean Anderson, Lindsay Anderson, Maxine Audley
Country: UK
What it is: Experimental film

Several people converge on a public park in search of pleasure, but a cadaverous man tries to prohibit them from experiencing it. Can a witch undo the damage?

Not all experimental films are difficult or incomprehensible; it’s pretty obvious what this one is about. If the title alone doesn’t clue you off, it’s about sex; specifically, it’s about battle between the forces of repression (personified by a group of people in black who want to turn the park into a cemetery) and those of expression (led by the witch and her magic shawl). It’s about as daring as a movie could be made on this subject in 1953. It’s also quite a bit of fun, and since it only runs about 38 minutes, it doesn’t wear out its welcome; a bit longer and the movie would start to bore. It makes fun use of music and has some surreal visual touches. On looking up the oeuvre of director James Broughton, I suspect he made something of a career making shorts on this subject.


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