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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOMETHING NASTY HAPPENED IN THE WOODSHED...
This is a marvelous and fairly faithful adaptation of Stella Gibbons' 1932 novel of the same name. The film brilliantly captures the quirkiness of the novel, which is a hysterically funny, tongue in cheek parody of the heavy handed, gloomy novels of some early twentieth century English writers who had previously been so popular. The film is likewise hysterically funny and...
Published on 5 Nov 2002 by Lawyeraau

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars d v d
Bit of a strange one until you get into it, but then I mostly enjoyed it quite different and quirky. great acting.
Published 7 months ago by dave morrison


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOMETHING NASTY HAPPENED IN THE WOODSHED..., 5 Nov 2002
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is a marvelous and fairly faithful adaptation of Stella Gibbons' 1932 novel of the same name. The film brilliantly captures the quirkiness of the novel, which is a hysterically funny, tongue in cheek parody of the heavy handed, gloomy novels of some early twentieth century English writers who had previously been so popular. The film is likewise hysterically funny and itself seems to parody British costume dramas.
The film starts out innocuously enough, when well educated Flora Poste (Kate Beckinsale) finds herself orphaned as a young woman. Discovering that her father was not the wealthy man she believed him to be, she is resigned to the fate of having to live on a hundred pounds a year. After some discussion with her good friend, the wealthy Mrs. Smiley (Joanna Lumley), Flora opts to live with relatives, rather than earn her bread. She seeks out a most unlikely set of relations with whom to do so, the decidedly odd Starkadder family who live in rural Howling, Sussex.
Therein begins what is certainly one of the funniest movies to grace the silver screen. When Flora arrives in Howling, she meets her odd relatives, who live in neglected, ramshackle "Cold Comfort Farm", where they still wash the dishes with twigs, and have cows named Graceless, Pointless, Feckless, and Aimless. Headed by a matriarchal old crone, Flora's aunt, Ada Doom Starkadder (Sheila Burrell), who has not been right in the head since she "saw something nasty happen in the woodshed" nearly seventy years ago, they are a motley and strange crew indeed. Confronted with their dismal and gloomy existence, Flora sets about trying to put things to right.
Peppered with eccentric, memorable characters, this film will take the reader on a journey not easily forgotten. Kate Beckinsale is delightful as the practical, no nonsense Flora Poste. Joanna Lumley is delicious as the sophisticated and wordly Mrs. Smiley. Eileen Atkins is a standout as Flora's gloomy first cousin, Judith Starkadder, Ada's daughter. Rufus Sewell is well cast as Judith's son, Seth Starkadder, the oversexed ladies man. The role of the fire and brimstone preacher, Amos Starkadder, is played to perfection by Ian McKellen, while Shiela Burrell is nothing short of sensational as the imperious Ada Doom Starkadder. The rest of the supporting cast is likewise uniformly excellent.
All in all, this is a hilariously funny film and every bit as brilliant as the novel upon which it was based. It is certainly worth having in one's personal collection, as it is a keeper by any standard.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She can't endure a mess, 21 Feb 2012
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] (DVD)
"Cold Comfort Farm," Stella Gibbons' hilarious literary satire, is brought to life in this polished TV adaptation. Faithful to its source but never stuffy, the adaptation is full of solid performances and entertaining subplots and romance, even if it is a bit slow at times.

Flora Poste (Kate Beckinsale) is suddenly orphaned with only 100 pounds a year -- a piddling amount of money in high-society London. She aspires to be the next Jane Austen, and has no skills besides writing. (And given the number of times we hear "golden orb," writing isn't too good either) So she agrees to go live at Cold Comfort Farm. The farm is well-named -- it's dirty, primitive, and broke.

The backwater inhabitants include sex-and-movies-obsessed Seth (Rufus Sewell), hellfire preacher Amos (Ian McKellen), his depressed wife Judith (Eileen Atkins), and the unhinged old Aunt Ada Doom (Sheila Burrell), who "saw something nasty in the woodshed." Not to mention Elfine (Maria Miles), a farm girl in love with a young blueblood. With practicality to spare, Flora sets up love matches, fixes up the family feuds, and tidies up the homestead.

Take some nineteenth century novel's most primitive farms, and plop a practical, thoroughly independent young woman in the middle of it. Add a few dark mysteries -- what are Flora's "rights?" What did Aunt Ada see? -- and you have "Cold Comfort Farm." Stella Gibbons had a subtle, wry sense of humor, and the movie adaptation keeps the spirit alive.

It's lots of fun to see Flora cleaning up house, both literally and figuratively. She keeps trying to arrange everyone's lives so, in the long run, they'll be happy -- while postponing what might make herself happy. The plot moves at a rather slow clip, sprinkled with fun scenes like Elfine's makeover, or Amos's frenetic sermon (complete with graphic descriptions of hell's torments). Not to mention the dozens of funny lines, like Amos's deadpan, "Seth, you drain the well -- there's a neighbor missing."

Kate Beckinsale does a wonderful job as the no-nonsence Flora Poste. She's backed up by good performances: Stephen Fry's obnoxiously overenthusiastic Mr. Mybug, an unwanted suitor of Flora's, and Joanna Lumley as Flora's best pal and bra collector. Ian McKellen is particularly good as a wild-haired hellfire preacher. And Eileen Atkins drifts around in a morbid, pop-eyed stupor as Judith Starkadder.

"Cold Comfort Farm" is jolly good fun, a warm-hearted satire with plenty of excellent acting. Good fun for anyone who likes to poke fun at costume dramas and gothic family secrets.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 27 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] (DVD)
This is an excellent film, playing out an imagined awful time in the deepest English countryside of the 30s, tongue in cheek throughout and very funny without being a straight comedy. Everything is first rate, great names, a big director and wonderful evocative sets, and all the time the script is played for real - however ridiculous and bizarre.

After my previous copy was given away some years ago, I was then irritated to find that it had been discontinued and I couldn't replace it, even chasing up the BBC and the holder of the DVD rights to find when it would be reissued - "no plans". I was therefore delighted when the regular Amazon email of available DVDs brought it to my notice a few weeks ago as once again in stock - proof that Amazon's computer mailings can be very helpful indeed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The questions are not important, the answers are brilliant, 23 Sep 2004
By 
Darren Harrison "DVD collector and reviewer" (Washington D.C.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I was first attracted to this movie due to the presence of Kate (VAN HELSING, UNDERWORLD) Beckinsale who plays chic London socialite Flora Poste in this wonderful, funny and heart warming adaptation of the 1932 Stella Gibbons novel.
Flora, with dreams of becoming a novelist, moves to the rural countryside to live with her great Aunt and her family on Cold Comfort Farm, a down-on-its-luck farmstead deep in the English countryside. There she encounters a number of wonderful eccentric characters who seem to be living in the past - one of them uses a twig to clean the dishes. Flora sets about lifting the doom and gloom that surrounds the farm and bringing 'enlightenment' to the inhabitants by helping to make their suppressed dreams come true.
What makes this movie so much fun is the characters that Flora encounters, and as with such character-driven movies, the choice of actors is so important. Thankfully some strong caliber acting talent was brought in and they equip themselves wonderfully. From Ian McKellen of the LORD OF THE RING'S trilogy to Rufus (A KNIGHT'S TALE) Sewell the results are exemplary.
Raised for the first ten years of my life on my grandfathers farm on the English-Scottish border, I found the movie a particular delight. Though clearly over-the-top some of the observations of country living (from Gibbons) awakened a strange sense of nostalgia and wondering how life had been for my grandfather back in the 1930s and 1940s.
This is a gem of a movie and I encourage everyone to give this movie a chance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More a Constant Chuckle Than a Guffaw, 17 Sep 2012
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Carolina Beach, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] (DVD)
"Cold Comfort Farm, (1995), a 105 minute period romantic comedy, is a real odd duck among British films. It was, firstly, made as a television movie, as a collaboration of the BBC and Thames International, ordinarily rivals. I don't know what that's all about, never seen that partnership elsewhere. But perhaps putting together the remarkable aggregation of talent before and behind the camera in this enterprise was so expensive that the production required the resources of the two firms. At any rate, somebody took a look at that talented collection of people, and gave the film a theatrical release, in which it did quite nicely.

In 1930s London, 20-year old Flora Poste, a pretty young debutante with ambitions to write, suddenly finds herself orphaned, and she's inherited only ₤100/year. So she must go to live on the farm with the Starkadders, a group of her nutty, unsophisticated rural cousins, who apparently believe they've done her father and family some unspecified injury. Ada Doom, the bed-ridden, iron-willed matriarch of the farm objects strongly, but Flora, who loves cleanliness, tidiness and order, tries to achieve some in the tumbledown higgledy-piggledy house, in the lives of its occupants -- and in her own life.

For a TV movie, the investment in talent must have been quite substantial. The production is, of course, based on the beloved novel of the same name Cold Comfort Farm (Penguin Classics), by Stella Gibbons, who collaborated on the screenplay with Malcolm Bradbury, author of at least one very funny novel that I've loved for years, The History Man. The enterprise was directed by the big-screen prize-winning John Schlesinger (Darling, Midnight Cowboy). Kate Beckinsale made her film debut in the production, giving no hint of the sort of movies she was later to star in, such as the Underworld Quadrilogy . The greatly talented Dame Eileen Atkins (Cranford Collection Box Set) stars as the gloomy Judith Starkadder. Sheila Burrell (SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII) creates a vigorous Ada Doom, who saw something nasty in the woodshed as a child. Comic Stephen Fry (Stephen Fry Collection 6 DVD Set) gives us an unbuttoned Mybug, novelist vacationing in the area. Freddie Jones ( THE CAESARS]]) is an endearing Adam Lambsbreath, farm hand. Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous - Absolutely Everything Box Set) makes an impression as Flora's wealthy, glamorous aunt, Mrs. Mary Smiling. The great Sir Ian McKellen (Richard III ) gives us a spirited Amos Starkadder, preacher of hellfire and damnation, who discovers he yearns after a Ford van. Miriam Margolyes, (IMMORTAL BELOVED) whom many considered the best actress living in her time, plays Mrs. Beetle. The uncommonly tall, dark, charismatic and handsome Rufus Sewell plays the uncommonly tall, dark, charismatic and handsome Seth Starkadder, just as he plays the similarly gifted title character in Zen . Rupert Penry-Jones (WHITECHAPEL) turns up as Dick Hawk-Monitor, beloved by the Starkadder girl; Angela Thorne and Tim Myers play his none-too happy about it mother and father. Christopher Bowen is Charles Fairford, airplane-flying minister to be, who is a little in love with Flora. Many viewers will find some more familiar favorites in smaller parts.

The film's nicely done, with quite a light touch, while showing us lovely panoramas of the countryside that Schlesinger, often considered an urban filmmaker, was entirely capable of delivering. Clothes, cars, airplanes, kitchen tools all look era-appropriate. Mind you, the film's more of a constant chuckle than a guffaw. There is an older version of this film, also quite entertaining; starring Dame Judi Dench, but it's hard to get hold of now. Luckily, this one will do quite well, thank you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not half bad!, 10 May 2012
By 
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] (DVD)
This is a remarkably successful adaptation of a difficult book to capture. Although perhaps not having the sophistication of the TV series several years ago which tried to demonstrate the literary origins of the work and the fact Stella Gibbons demarcated the different writing styles in a hysterically funny manner, this TV film works well. The cast is strong, the direction accomplished and the design impressive. The transfer is perhaps not as well encoded as it could be and was certainly not up to the quality of a recent TV screening of the " film" but it just about passes.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny Film, 5 Sep 2011
By 
J. S. Page (Staffordshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw Cold Comfort Farm when it was shown on TV. It has taken me ages to track it down and had to pre-order it from Amazon, but the wait was worth it. My Husband wasn't too keen to watch it at first, but he laughed all the way through it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars easy watching, 10 Mar 2013
By 
L. Gibson (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] (DVD)
This was a bit unusual, most enjoyable - excellent casting - and with a happy ending! Would happily watch this again...............
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must See!!, 23 April 2012
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This review is from: Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] (DVD)
My sister first showed me this when I was in Australia! It is quirky - and very funny!! We have converted others, and now you will often hear "I saw something nasty in the woodshed" whenever we are around!!
Brilliant fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great dvd, 26 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] (DVD)
Brilliant film, quite unique and well written.
Sort of film you don`t get tired of watching.
Is there a follow up??
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Cold Comfort Farm [DVD]
Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] by John Schlesinger (DVD - 2011)
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