A compelling drama about the terrors of schizophrenia, I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN is almost, but not quite, a female version of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. Quinlan is a certified mental case who is taken to a new and what appears to be tranquil hospital by her parents, Gary
and Piazza. The similarity between this film and CUCKOO'S NEST ends in the fact that most of the patients in that one are only mildly afflicted and the ward becomes a microcosm of society. In ROSE GARDEN, there is no question of the horrors taking place inside the brains of the inmates. Quinlan is
counseled by psychiatrist Andersson, and the bulk of the film deals with exorcising her various demons.
ROSE GARDEN falls short in its simplistic analysis of Quinlan's problem. Nor do we ever know much about her interaction with her family except for a brief indication of some resentment toward her brother. Most of our interest is sustained by the relationship between Quinlan and Andersson. Some
casting sidelights include the great Sylvia Sidney as a patient who opts to come back to the hospital after being released; Hasso, who made her name playing what everyone thought was a man in THE HOUSE ON 92ND STREET; horror diva Barbara Steele; and Jeff Conaway, who later became popular on TV's
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