# Similar Movies Like The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart
The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart 1970
About: Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Robert T. Westbrook, the film is about 23 year old Columbia University dropout (Stanley Sweetheart) who seeks his identity during the sexual revolution.
Released: 05 Apr 1971 Director: Leonard J. Horn Writers: Robert T. Westbrook (screenplay), Robert T. Westbrook (novel) Actors: Linda Gillen, Michael Greer, Dianne Hull, Holly Near Genres: Drama
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The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart Reviews:

The extremely rare and often peculiar movie "The Magic Garden Of Stanley Sweetheart" succeeds greatly as a cult film. It has all the ingredients for the excellent midnight movie. Based on the semi-autobiographical 60's drug n' love counterculture ebook by Robert T. Westbrook, it remains quite faithful to storyline and context. The storyline concerns a man Stanley (a very young Don Johnson in his debut acting role) in his early 20's who goes to college in Fresh York to become a movie maker. He spends his time usually lost in daydreams and masturbation until he starts a relationship with classmate Cathy (well acted by Dianne Hull) who brings slight contentment and romance to his insecure life. Though through the relationship, Stanley later finds boredom and starts an affair with her plump roommate and greatest mate Fran (Holly Near) while still carrying on with Cathy. The stage where he's trying to movie Fran for one of his independent short movies (apropriately titled "Masturbation") is at times funny, awkward, and clumsily executed. Stanley also occasionally meets up with mates Danny (well acted by Michael Greer who interestingly replaced Joe Dallesandro in the role, after Joe was fired from the set on one day of shooting!), Barbara (Linda Gillen) and Andrea (exotic Victoria Racimo) who he'll sometimes receive high with. One night while Stanley and Cathy are sleeping, the uninvited three mates stop by to receive Stanley and Cathy loaded. During the stoned experience you search Danny picking up on Cathy and Stanley becoming increasingly jealous. Later however, Cathy will leave Stanley to pursue her fresh crush, while Stanley is left all alone to his daydreams. The "Magic Garden" refers to the zone in his mind that he somehow finds solace and peace through his imagination and daydreams. The ebook will create this mission clearer, than in the movie. At this mission Stanley will fall into a hallucinagenic menage a trois with the two girlfriends Barbara and Andrea, only changing the direction of the movie from light comedic romance to drug addict casualty. But these scenes are fantastic. Where else (but in the 60's) can you search such photos as group sex, body painting, drugs galore, and psychedelic light shows all wrapped up with the most sugary bubblegum pop song in the world? (the song in question being "The Gingerbread Man"!) These scenes for counter culture freaks are absolutely priceless! What's really interesting is how downbeat the endings of films were in the late 60's or early 70's. Why gotta each movie from that era everytime be a casualty tale or sort? Also, other interesting aspect of the movie is the tips of homosexuality in the script. Danny's leering at Don Johnson's bare chest suggests something that is never totally developed until the surprise ending which in itself has also got homosexual undertones (the sparing of the rabbits life signifying sensitivity, and the barrel of the gun signifying the phallus???). It's fitting that an actor like Joe Dallesandro (from Andy Warhol Factory and Paul Morrissey movie fame) would have played the role of Danny. Because at times the movie resembles some of Paul Morrissey's movies in the depiction of Fresh Yorker drop outs. Don Johnson at the time was a famous actor amongst gays, due to the exposure he received from the enjoy "Fortune In Men's Eyes" a gay prison storyline directed by Sal Mineo. And one time TV present director Leonard Horn does each shot in an exploitative manner. You'll see numerous shots of Don bare chested, bare butt, or just plain nude. Also the obligatory gay pick up stage (ie: "Midnight Cowboy") in a cafe (which seems slightly out of place), where actor Brandon Maggart tries to pay Stanley for sexual services. All these scenes create for an awkwardness that the movie either suffers or benefits from. (depending on your tastes?) I found myself slightly unsure of the director's intention with some of the material, which pleased the thinking side of me, to create me wish to see the movie again. Was this a coming of age, sexual awareness film? A romantic comedy or drama? A drug counter culture film? I found it to be all these things. The movie is by no means excellent (the acting is slightly shoddy at times), but I do think it's a tad underrated. I kept seeing these really horrible reviews of the film, but it wasn't too terrible at all. It's everytime entertaining and interesting, and never dull. It's got a nice soundtrack, (especially "Magic Mountain" by Eric Burdon and War) the clothes look great, and some of the filming is quite imaginable. It's a storyline that probably a lot of younger guys should and would relate to. Check out the stage when Stanley's short movie named "Headless" is played for Cathy, it's a cute funny and far out. Watch it late at night, if you can search it. It's definitely got cult film appeal. I quite dug it myself!!!


At university I was part-time apsirant film-maker, part-time aspirant womaniser, and full-time aimless waster. Unsurprisingly this movie struck a large chord with me, when I stumbled across it during those bewildering days!A nice tiny film, lots of fun, just don't expect any niceties like, erm, a recognisable plot or a meaningful ending. The film-within-a-film - Stanley's outrageously terrible student short "Headless" - is a true hoot and worth the price on its own!Oh and if you like this, check out student rebellion in "The Strawberry Statement" and more of the young Don Johnson in "A man and his dog", both recommended.


A lot of large name actors have started their careers in some risque material (Sylvester Stallone, Ellen Burnstyn, Shannon Elizabeth), but I was surprised to see Don Johnson's name. I thought The Harrad Experiment (1973) was the furthest he got, but this one is more adult than that one. Don is Stanley Sweethart, a Columbia student, and the film is about his lovelife in the "Free Love era" of the 60's. When not making love to the different girls he charms or two-times, he makes a career of filming Russ Meyeresque epics. The acting is a hell of a lot better than an Andy Warhol production; Don still had that distinctive voice coming out of his mouth even then, but there are some pointless scenes. Yes, there's a lot of skin, Don included, but at the time, he didn't know he'd create it big. A curiosity piece, probably impossible to rent on video, but it could be shown on Canadian T.V. on occasion.



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