NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977)

Based on the novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg, this was directed by Anthony Page (AbsolutionChernobyl: The Final Warning) and written by Gavin Lambert and Lewis John Carlino (Where Have All the People Gone?The Mechanic).

It stars Kathleen Quinlan as Deborah Blake, a borderline schizophrenic who lives in a world of fantasy that is rudely intruded upon when she ends up in a brutal institution. Luckily, she’s saved by Dr. Fried (Bibi Andersson), who helps her learn what’s real and what isn’t.

After One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was a success, Roger Corman was able to get this made. All of the Jewish content was removed, including the anti-Semetic abuse that the protagonist endures. How did Greenberg feel about that? She said that the Jewish moments left the producers “terrified” and the way that mental illness was treated “stank on ice.” Of the actors, only Andersson contacted her to learn the character and she claimed that the producers had told her that the author was “hopelessly insane.” She’d know, as the novel was based on her life.

One of the most expensive New World Pictures, this was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and won two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress for Quinlan and Best Picture.

This movie also has Dennis Quaid, Susan Tyrell, Lorraine Gary (Ellen Brodie!), Martin Bartlett, Ben Piazza and Sylvia Sidney in the cast. I want to know more about the deleted scenes, as Barbara Steele was in those. And when the movie shows scenes in Blake’s imagination — The Kingdom of Yr — the warriors ‘Anterrabae’ and ‘Lactameaon are Robert Viharo and Jeff Conaway.

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