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The Camomile Lawn [DVD] [1992]


Price: £14.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Camomile Lawn [DVD] [1992] + Harnessing Peacocks [DVD] + Love in a Cold Climate - The Complete Series [DVD] [1980]
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Product details

  • Actors: Felicity Kendal, Claire Bloom, Jennifer Ehle, Richard Johnson, Rebecca Hall
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Vci
  • DVD Release Date: 14 April 2003
  • Run Time: 264 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005LM9W
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,651 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

In 1939 England, the Cuthbertsons - Helena (Felicity Kendal) and Richard (Paul Eddington), a war cripple - live in Cornwall with their orphaned niece, Sophy. Sophy is resented by Helena, and has little in common with Richard, and so is pleased when her four cousins arrive in August for a holiday. They talk excitedly about the possibility of war, and look forward to the 'Terror Run' - a night-time spree along a cliff path. Austrian refugees Max and Monika Erstweiler are invited to the traditional family dinner which takes place before the run, but the evening comes to an abrupt end when the news arrives that the outbreak of war is imminent.

From Amazon.co.uk

Adapted from the novel by Mary Wesley, The Camomile Lawn proved one of Channel Four's most successful dramas, telling an intricate story set during World War II and over two days in 1984. In this portrait of the Home Front in Cornwall and London in the Blitz, the titular lawn becomes a symbol for halcyon pre-war days, and also for a lost innocence on a personal level. For this is very much about growing up and sex, including rape and child abuse (both handled tactfully, mainly in dialogue), adulatory, ménage á trois, bisexuality and rampant promiscuity. The attitudes, from the war-damaged, nihilistic Oliver, (a powerfully charismatic Toby Stephens) to the mercenary Calypso (an incendiary Jennifer Ehle), and some individual scenes, shock in their very matter-of-factness. What could be salacious soap is leavened by a comic touch, intensified by tragedy and elevated to intensely moving drama during its final half hour set around a funeral in 1984. Generally excellent production values make the best of the television budget, and there are outstanding performances by a large cast including Felicity Kendal and Paul Eddington (reunited from The Good Life), Tara Fitzgerald in her first starring role, and especially Rebecca Hall as Sophy.

On the DVD: The four episodes are presented on two discs, with a total running time of approximately four hours 22 minutes. There are no special features of any sort. The picture is standard television 4:3, and while marginally better than VHS has a slight softness, with occasional after-images to shots with moving lights betraying that the series was made on video rather than film. Some scenes are rather grainy and there is the occasion brief instance of MPEG artifacting. The sound is stereo and appears to have been remixed from mono, some elements such as the music remaining in mono, while some sound effects are stereo. --Gary S Dalkin

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By james-Arundel VINE VOICE on 27 April 2006
Format: DVD
The Camomile Lawn is a production bursting with delicious characters superbly portrayed by a quality cast. The "action" is split between the early years of World War 2 and the "present": 1980's/1990, telling a number of individual but interlinked stories that are by turns touching, shocking and humorous. The lovely Jennifer Ehle as the promiscuous and self seeking Calypso, Tara Fitzgerald as Polly and Felicity Kendall as Helena all bring glamour to their excellent performances as the three leading ladies in the earlier period. Rebecca Hall shines as the naive but worldly child Sophie, trying to make sense of the adult world around her. There are also some cleverly observed turns from the male cast, including the irrascible Richard (Paul Eddington), Oliver (Toby Stephens), and some lovely supporting roles, especially that of no-nonsense, heart of gold Aunt Sarah played marvellously by Polly Adams (Aunt Helen, A Dark Adapted Eye).
Kendal reprises her role in the "present" with grey wig and heavy makeup, while Calypso and Polly are played by Rosemary Harris (Ehle's own real life mother) and Virginia Mckenna respectively, giving a convincing likeness to aid continuity whilst showing that time has most definitely moved on. Claire Bloom seamlessly takes the role of the older Sophie after a gap of forty years, giving a new perspective on the events she witnessed as a child.

The plot and characters are perhaps slightly frivolous against the backdrop of war, but nevertheless capture the essence of the time. The character of Calypso, a woman who most definitely "had a good war" is a very likeable but recogniseable stereotype.

The Camomile Lawn certainly contains some potentially shocking material, both in terms of language and sex, but it is a highly enjoyable and entertaining story of a family's survival and thirst for life under the shadow of World War 2, and their recognition in peacetime forty years later that some things were less complicated then than now.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Linda on 13 Jan 2010
Format: DVD
I am always very worried about watching screen adaptations of my favourite books - this is absolutely spot on. This is a DVD to cherish and bring out every couple of years when you are indoors with flu and a hot toddy!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J on 16 Jan 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched the first episode of this wonderful series simply because as a great fan of The Good Life I wanted to see what Paul Eddington and Felicity Kendall would do with rather more serious material. Halfway through this episode I ordered the DVD immediately! There is nothing I can add to previous reviews except that one reviewer bemoans the lack of subtitles, (so would I!), but the DVD I have must be the newer (2008) edition as it does have them.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Honarary Auvaergnat on 6 Oct 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this DVD of Mary Wesley's Camomile Lawn very much more than the book, presumably greatly to the credit of its Director Peter Hall but also to the strong cast. All are good but of particular note are Felicity Kendall who gives a tremendous performance, the eye-pleasing Jennifer Ehle whether clothed or not, her sensible counterpart Tara Fitzgerald, similarly eye-pleasing but in a quieter way, and Rebecca Hall as the juvenile star. And of course there is the coast of Cornwall - contrasting with scenes of London in the blitz with a memorable scene of Tara and Rebecca on the phone to Cornwall from under a table while near-hit bombs (and the ceiling) were falling. Its the sort of film that lives with you for days after the viewing and which you want to go back to and relish.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ms. S. D. Bonner on 28 Oct 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is set in two time scales: now and during WW2. The characters are played by the same actors in both, just aged in the "now" time frame. The story revolves around a group of teenage cousins who spend summer at their aunt (Felicity Kendal) and uncles (Paul Eddington) house in Cornwall, where there is the Camomile Lawn. Then war breaks out and they all go their own ways leading their own (fascinating) lives. This really is a whole lot of individual WW2 experiences which intermingle. As far as I can tell they portray the desparation of war very well, the whole "live for today, because you don't know if there will be a tomorrow" attitude. Each character is very strong and played by actors who have gone on to greater things. It tackles some rather "touchy" subjects very well. You really will not be able to stop watching it when you start!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Jun 2013
Format: DVD
Once you have read Mary Wesley's book 'The Camomile Lawn', you must view this series. Filmed in 1992, it brings to life the characters that we grew to love. Each character looked as I thought they should. Nudity was unexpected, but seemed correct in the context.

Beginning on the eve of WWII, 1939, this film unfolds as a history of the family. It gives us strong, characters and luxurious, rich clothes and scenery. The house in Cornwell on the cliff is as beautiful as we would want. Felicity Kendall is Aunt Helena, at once a snob, but wonderfully lovable in her way. Jennifer Ehle as Calypso, is the beautiful,sexy daughter who would rather pretend she married her husband for wealth than admit to any feelings of love. Oliver, Polly, Sophy, Richard, and the entire family are just the best.

Once war breaks out, things stay the same. The characters play out their lives at home, or at work in London or in Cornwall. News of the war and life and death arrive via radio or by telegram. No nasty war scenes, only the bombings as Calypso gives birth beneath a kitchen table. The film as the book, alternates between the present, as the family proceeds to the funeral of Max. Then alternates back to the significant events of the character's lives. It s a lively, loving family filled with their foibles and their lives. A remarkable story encompassing 45 years. We see the characters as teens and then as mature adults. This is a story of the privileged during the war. War has come home but does not bother us too much. War is tangible but not many of these characters suffer because of it.

Wonderful film written and directed as Mary Wesley would approve. Do see it, you will be the better for it.

Recommended. prisrob 06-14-13
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