Nicholas is a `sensitive' British pre-teen, an overprotected only son who is forced by circumstance to accompany his unfamiliar father to a new posting as Ambassador to a Spanish region.
The residential estate's handsome gardener, Jose (played by Dirk Bogarde), takes the boy under his wing, teaching him to enjoy his physicality, the beauty of nature and the joy of life itself.
Even though the father appreciates the burgeoning health and happiness in his son, he allows jealousy and internalised homophobia to determine his actions.
In a dramatic conclusion father, son and friend all prove their integrity and devotion.
Over the years, each time I've seen this film I'm amazed by its beautiful colour and enthralled the interplay of the characters. I get a greater feeling of the father as a self-loathing homosexual - but there is no evidence that this is the case. Certainly the audience must expect an accusation of paedophilia - but when Jose is accused of stealing and imprisoned, then that still gets him out of Nicholas' life.
The Spanish Gardener is, above all, a fine film about the value of `mentoring'. - Brisbane, Australia
John Bryan (screenplay)
A.J. Cronin (novel)
Cast (in credits order)
Dirk Bogarde .... Jose
Jon Whiteley .... Nicholas Brande
Michael Hordern .... Harrington Brande
Cyril Cusack .... Garcia
Maureen Swanson .... Maria
Lyndon Brook .... Robert Burton
Josephine Griffin .... Carol Burton
Bernard Lee .... Leighton Bailey
Rosalie Crutchley .... Magdalena
Ina De La Haye .... Jose's Mother
Geoffrey Keen .... Dr. Harvey
Harold Scott .... Pedro
Jack Stewart .... Police Escort
Richard Molinas .... Police Escort
Susan Lyall Grant .... Maid
John Adderley .... Taxi Driver
David Lander .... Policeman
Runtime: 97 min / Spain:88 min / USA:91 min
Color: Color (Technicolor)
Sound Mix: Mono
Certification: Finland:K-8 / Spain:7 / UK:U