Pleasure Garden (1925)

“That girl knows exactly what she’s doing — and she likes it.”

Pleasure Garden poster

Synopsis:
An aspiring dancer (Carmelita Geraghty) befriends a kind chorus girl (Patsy Brand) who falls for the duplicitous friend (Miles Mander) of Geraghty’s upstanding fiance (John Stuart); meanwhile, the socially climbing Geraghty leaves Stuart behind for a chance to marry a prince (Karl Falkenberg).

Genres:

Review:
Hitchcock’s first feature film as a director — made after years of working as a title designer, set designer, writer, and assistant director — is a rather standard romantic melodrama distinguished only by the occasional evidence it provides of Hitch’s incipient creative genius. The storyline (based on a novel by Oliver Sandys) is frustratingly disparate: at first we believe we’re watching a movie about an ingenue (Geraghty) struggling to gain a foothold in the entertainment business, only to quickly realize that Geraghty is savvier and more calculating than she appears, at which point Brand inexplicably becomes the film’s primary protagonist, as we follow her romantic travails, and watch her eventual betrayal by a man she senses (well, her dog senses!) may not be as forthright as he appears. With exotic infidelity, madness, and murder thrown in for good measure, the result is basically a jam-packed 60-minute potboiler. With that said, as noted above, Pleasure Garden is primarily of interest for the glimpses it affords of Hitchcock’s early directorial sensibility at work; see the CineMonkey review for a detailed analysis of themes and motifs which foreshadow many of Hitchcock’s later films.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Incipient evidence of Hitchcock’s creative genius
    Pleasure Garden Spiral

Must See?
No; this one will really only be of interest to Hitchcock fans.

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One Response to “Pleasure Garden (1925)”

  1. Not a must.

    Hitchcock purists may differ, but there’s little evidence of his dominant interests here. ‘TPG’ is something of a cautionary tale re: how one approaches love. As such, it’s not a bad film though, at 60 minutes+, it’s a bit rushed. Of course, Hitch is in here somewhere (there’s a murder and duplicity), but the film comes off more as the work of a filmmaker who had to start *somewhere*.

    I hadn’t seen this before. I’m not sorry I saw it. I just don’t think it’s that much of a film.

    It *is* interesting that almost the first image in a Hitchcock film is that of an older gentleman immediately obsessed with a blonde. 😉

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