In 1997, Clint Eastwood brought the beauty -- and eccentricities -- of Savannah, Georgia, to the masses with 'Midnight in the Garden of Good Evil.' The movie was adapted from John Berendt's best-selling novel, which chronicled his experiences covering an ongoing murder trial in the Southern city. The film adaptation stars John Cusack as journalist John Kelso (whom Berendt based on himself) and Kevin Spacey as Jim Williams, a wealthy art dealer on trial for the murder of local hustler Billy Hanson (Jude Law).

Berendt's book was an instant success when it arrived in 1994, spending 216 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and garnering praise from critics worldwide. Sadly, Eastwood's cinematic edition didn't fare nearly as well, garnering mixed reviews that amounted to a 50 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert, for example, lauded the director's intentions, but aptly explained where it fell short. "[In his book,] Berendt paints a portrait of a city so eccentric, so dripping with Southern Gothic weirdness, that it can't survive for long when it's removed from the life-support system of our imagination," he wrote, adding, "[The] film is a determined attempt to be faithful to the book's spirit, but something ineffable is lost just by turning on the camera."
categories On the Scene