The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)

R   |    |  Drama

The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) Poster

A daydreamer convinces his radio personality brother to help fund one of his get-rich-quick schemes.

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  • Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
  • Jack Nicholson and Scatman Crothers in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
  • Jack Nicholson and Arnold Williams in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
  • Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
  • Jack Nicholson and Ellen Burstyn in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
  • Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

21 November 2006 | SenoritaTorres
| This movie is a hidden gem!
What can I say about this film? I may not have given it 10 out of 10 but it is definitely one of Jack's better films. It is so different to anything else he has done before, in my opinion, that some people may not know how to respond but all in all they should watch it anyway, because, more than anything else, it's impressionable and very, very interesting.

The character of David Staeblar (Jack Nicholson) comes across as your average, slightly middle-class male, seeming settled in his usual daily routine of life and living comfortably with his grandfather. When he meets up with his ambitious older brother, he seems somewhat disdainful of his pathetic dreams of success in Atlantic City. You never quite understand whether David is dismissing these pipe dreams because he doesn't believe they can happen or because he is slightly jealous of his brother.

The film, above all, highlights the relationship between four people, and how they react to each other. The two brothers and the two women. Between the brothers you can sense there is a love there but there is also an underlying current of bitterness and regret, almost as though they were never that close in childhood.

Sally (Ellen Burstyn) is clearly in love with Jason but she is also terrified that his 'upcoming success' will leave her out in the cold and, despite coming across as independent and feisty, you can see she is desperately trying to cling on to a stability she craves with him. She wants people to think she's okay but really she craves security. There is anguish and real suppressed emotion there. She was considered beautiful in her day but her looks are fading and she's not getting any younger. She's constantly reminded of that when she looks at her stepdaughter Jessie. I think Ellen Burstyn played this role beautifully and truly think she deserved to win an Oscar.

Both the direction and screenplay on this movie were impeccable, and I would strongly suggest to anyone who hasn't seen this film that they rent it or buy it because it is definitely not one to be missed.

Critic Reviews

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