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The Chalk Garden [DVD]

Deborah Kerr , Hayley Mills , Ronald Neame    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £8.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Deborah Kerr, Hayley Mills, John Mills
  • Directors: Ronald Neame
  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Odeon Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Sep 2014
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00KS47SL2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,885 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

The peculiar antics of Laurel (Hayley Mills), an emotionally troubled young girl, are the focus of The Chalk Garden, a stately household drama set on the cliffs of the English south-coast. Edith Evans plays a matriarchal grandmother who, in raising her granddaughter, has neglected her other love a barren chalk garden. Mayhem ensues as Laurel`s behaviour frightens away a succession of governesses until the enigmatic Miss Madrigal (Deborah Kerr) is hired - in spite of her mysterious references. Madrigal sets about tending to the girl`s reckless emotions and the pitifully failed garden, whilst Maitland (John Mills) plays the compassionate butler working overtime to maintain order in this unpredictable environment.

Review

The literary luxuriance of it, the succulence of its wit, the tangle of its arrangement and the overgrowth of its characters have all been trimmed and weeded by some prudent and skilful hands to make the bright, sweet and aromatic picture. --New York Times

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The judge appears to sleep. 3 April 2010
By bernie VINE VOICE
Format:VHS Tape
I periodically watch this movie based on a play by Enid Bagnold who also wrote the novel "National Velvet".

Every one is well cast. You can see each one of these characters in the real world. The interaction is superb. They had no choice but to place the story in that location to show the chalk.

Now let's get down to specifics. I like action, and this movie has plenty of paraffin. I think Deborah Kerr does well in "King Solomon's Mines" (1950), however I think she does better acting as Miss Madrigal who eventually straightens out relationships between the people she works for. Hailey Mills and John Mills are real life father and daughter.

The one spot in the movie that you forget it is a movie is when Laurel finds out who Miss Madrigal really is and almost gives her away. You can feel what Laurel does at that moment and it is no longer just a movie. You are there. Again Miss Madrigal must reveal her identity to Mrs. St. Maugham for Laurel's sake, as Laurel listens from outside.

The title gets its name from the garden they are trying to plant will not take because the ground is sterile chalk. Likewise Laurel in being brought up in the same environment.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm hard! And I can't be broken!" 10 Oct 2008
By Kona TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:VHS Tape
16-year old Laurel (Hayley Mills) likes to set fires, scream, tell lies, and generally boss around her doddering grandmother and tolerant butler (John Mills). When Miss Madrigal (Deborah Kerr) is hired as the new governess, Laurel begins her usual spying and tormenting in an effort to drive her away, but ends up discovering a tragic secret.

This movie marked Hayley Mills' effort to break away from little girl roles and expand her emotional range. Unfortunately, she isn't quite up to the material and instead does a lot of energetic shouting with no real pain or conviction behind it. Her lack of acting maturity is especially noticeable because the rest of the cast is so good: Edith Evans is impressive as Laurel's stubborn grandmother and Deborah Kerr is flawless as the mysteriously rigid governess. John Mills gives a wonderful performance as the wise and understanding servant who balances all the female hysterics.

While the soundtrack is overly melodramatic and the soulful violins, at times, overpower the dialogue, the scenery near the white cliffs of Dover is stark and lovely. Not up to producer Ross Hunter's usual sentimental soap-opera standards, but still entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Watching, More than Once 23 Mar 2010
By F. S. L'hoir TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:VHS Tape
"The Chalk Garden," based on the play by Enid Bagnold, is available on DVD for those who can play NTSC (Region 1); it can be purchased on Amazon.com [USA].

It is definitely worth buying, primarily for the beautifully understated performance of Deborah Kerr, who is exceptional as the enigmatic governess, Miss Madrigal (Sometimes one forgets what a fine actress Deborah Kerr was). The supporting players, John Mills, Edith Evans, and Felix Aylmer, are also outstanding. Like the reviewer of the VHS version (above), I was less convinced by Hayley Mills (I loved her as a child in 'Pollyanna'), whose overwrought performance--until the final scenes--seemed rather 'Hollywood.'

The widescreen letterbox format is excellent and the transfer is clear--revealing the locations at and near the chalk cliffs in their glory--as is the sound, although there are no "navigational" prompts or other embellishments, such as closed captioning. One simply pops it into the DVD player; it plays, and plays again, since it is on a loop.

Nevertheless, Amazon.com (to which this DVD is, at the moment, exclusive) is to be congratulated for making this fine film available to its customers.
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