67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gloriously decadent wartime drama
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...
Published on 27 April 2006 by james-Arundel
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reminiscent randy relationships of relatives and friends
The story starts out with people going to Max's (Oliver Cotton) funeral 40 years after WWII. On the way to the funeral each person, several generations of family and friends reminisce on their earlier war years where five cousins gathered at their uncles' house with a chamomile lawn.
The costumes and sets were impeccable and carried you to a different world and...
Published on 2 Dec 2006 by bernie
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gloriously decadent wartime drama,
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.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Viewing,
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!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My copy does have subtitles,
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.
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honorary Auvergnat,
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.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How The War Really Was?,
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!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Transcience Of Life,
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
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to watch over again,
This is one great classic and i never tire of watching it nothing worth watching on the telly out it comes a realy good story.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Drama; Shame About The DVD Presentation,
I first saw this drama when it was first broadcast by Channel Four during the early 1990s. Its still wonderfully entertaining today. Based on a Mary Wesley novel, its a story of families and friends as they prepare for war in 1939. Many fine actors grace this drama, and as far as I know, it was the lovely Jennifer Ehle's debut. The only complaints I have though is that the soundtrack is a little inconsistant; the picture looks smudgy at times, maybe because it was shot in soft focus. And there are no extras or even sub titles for the deaf and hard of hearing which is inexcusable. Still, its a good buy and can be bought at a good price. Fans will probably buy this anyway.
4.0 out of 5 stars A faithful adaptation and great fun.,
The Camomile Lawn tells the story of how members of one large extended family go through a progressive loss of innocence prior, during and after WWII. The opening chapter is concerned with family holidays to Uncle Richard's house in Cornwall where Oliver, Calypso, Sophy and Polly enjoy fabulous visits and carefree experiences. Once war is declared, that idyllic existence is tarnished as one by one they all feel the effects of the war. Subsequently, many years later, the older versions of the main characters all congregate for a funeral where they share their experiences and reopen old wounds and rivalries.
its hard to believe that its been 22 years since this excellent mini series was aired on channel 4. Although relatively low budget, the actors do a great job with a sharp script and inject a real vibrancy into their characters. Jennifer Ehle and Tara Fitzgerald stand out as the beauties of the piece, but the whole cast are good and the "oldies" are a faithful representation of what the younger characters would likely evolve into.
Mary wesley always liked to blow a long, protracted raspberry at the upper classes in her novels, but in "The cammomile lawn" she exchanges her sarcasm for fondess of the courage (although often flawed) of the war generation. As with any Wesley novel, she shows characters who are deeply complicated and have differing measures of virtue and deceit. This translates well to the screen in this adaptation.
The 80's and early 90's produced some wonderful T.V. period pieces which I think would be difficult to make with the same degree of affection today. Perhaps it's just the years passing, but as that period becomes less relevant to the modern generation, I have noticed the shift from warm nostaglia to matter of fact story telling in subsequent productions of recent years.
Great fun and has something for every "Mad dog and Englishman!"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!!,
Only need one word to sum it up.
British cast and location at its very best.
Why oh why don't we make more of this quality.
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The Camomile Lawn [VHS]  by Felicity Kendal (VHS Tape - 2003)