Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Poster
Theatrical Poster

Release Date: November 21, 1997 (USA)

Director: Clint Eastwood

MPAA Rating: R

Genre: Crime Drama

Running Time: 155 minutes

Box Office: $25,078,937 Domestic Gross

Plot Summary:

Clint Eastwood directed this adaptation of John Berendt's non-fiction best-seller about a Savannah, Georgia, murder case. As the film begins, New York journalist John Kelso (John Cusack), alter ego of author Berendt, arrives in Savannah to do a brief 'Town and Country' article on the annual Christmas party given by sophisticated, urbane antique dealer Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey), who restored many mansions in Savannah, including the famed Mercer House where he lives.

After the party, Williams kills his rude, violent lover Billy Hanson (Jude Law), explaining it as a necessary act of self-defense. Kelso decides to stay in Savannah to cover the trial, encountering a variety of colorful locals, including black transvestite nightclub performer Lady Chablis (appearing as herself), financially challenged bon vivant Joe Odom (Paul Hipp), vocalist Mandy Nichols (Alison Eastwood), voodoo priestess Minerva (Irma P. Hall), and Williams's deceptively powerful defense attorney Sonny Seiler (Jack Thompson).

Playing themselves in the film along with The Lady Chablis, were Emma Kelly, Jazz musician and Savannah native, James Moody, who had a small role as Mr. Glover, and Uga V, the University of Georgia's bulldog mascot, played his sire. Savannahians filled many minor roles and rounded out crowd and party scenes. Eastwood also made good use of Savannah's tree-lined streets and historic squares, and several scenes were shot at Mercer House itself, a mansion built in the 1860s by Hugh W. Mercer, Johnny Mercer's great-grandfather.


"I sang an old Frank Sinatra song once when I hosted 'Saturday Night Live', Clint Eastwood saw the show and called to say that I had a nice set of pipes. That's how I came to do 'That Old Black Magic' in his film 'Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil'. -- Kevin Spacey, FILMINK, July 2006


Main Cast
Kevin Spacey - Jim Williams
John Cusack - John Kelso
Jack Thompson - Sonny Seiler
Lady Chablis - herself
Alison Eastwood - Mandy Nichols
Jude Law - Billy Hanson
Paul Hipp - Joe Odom
Irma P. Hall - Minerva
Dorothy Loudon - Serena Dawes
Anne Haney - Margaret Williams
Kim Hunter - Betty Harty
Geoffrey Lewis - Luther Driggers
Shannon Eubanks - Mrs. Hamilton
Award Nominations
Society of Texas Film Critics Awards - 1997
Category Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey
   
QuoteLivin' here pisses off all the right people. Quote -- Jim Williams