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Chalk Garden [Import]

Deborah Kerr , Hayley Mills , Ronald Neame    Unrated   VHS Tape
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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The Chalk Garden (1964) Director: Ronald Neame Stars: Deborah Kerr, Hayley Mills, John Mills

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful film July 13 2000
By Ed N
Format:VHS Tape
I've always like Hayley Mills movies. "Pollyanna" was achingly sweet, and "The Parent Trap" was corny but delightful. However, I believe her performance in "The Chalk Garden" is her best. This well-crafted film deals with the relationship between a young girl, played by Hayley Mills, living with her grandmother and the new nanny, played by Deborah Kerr, hired to care for her. The young girl is a pyromaniac who compulsively manipulates and lies, perhaps as her way of handling what she feels is a loveless existence. Kerr's character, who has a dark secret, is able to identify with the young girl, and the movie follows her attempts to win the girl's friendship and eventual trust and to teach the girl that there is still love in her life.
This is a moving film which deals seriously with its themes. It is a little melodramatic in a 1960's sort of way, but nonetheless remains quite involving and absorbing for the audience. I enjoyed it very much. Interestingly, John Mills (Hayley's father) also has a supporting role in this film as the butler and is quite good in his capacity. Overall, a high 5 stars recommendation for the whole family!
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4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm hard! And I can't be broken!" Oct. 10 2008
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 noticed because the rest of the cast is so outstanding: 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Poginant Drama With Intrigue And Humor April 18 2006
Format:VHS Tape
Enid Bagnold's play, directed for the big screen by Ronald Neame in 1964, is a touching story about a mystery woman, Madricle (Deborah Kerr) who answers an ad for a companion for a teenage girl. But this is no prim and proper young English lady - Laurel (Hayley Mills) is a troubled youth who resides with her wealthy grandmother (wonderfully portrayed by Dame Edith Evans, who plays a crusty aristocratic Briton like no one can), and who spins lies, sets fires and steals without a thought to consequences. Obsessed with murder and criminal cases, she is accustomed to having her own way, and sets out to expose her new governess as a madwoman or something worse. Despite the child's negative attitude, Kerr stays on, trying to reach out to Laurel, who in reality, feels so unloved and unworthy that her anger could get her into deep trouble later on. Miss Madricle attempts to bring Laurel's mother, Olivia (Elizabeth Sellars) back into the picture, but this only adds to the tension within the household. Maitland (Sir John Mills), the butler, seems to have an uncanny understanding of all the goings on and a wry sense of humor that most likely keeps him from blowing a gasket.
Laurel begins to unravel Madricle's secret, which comes full circle when a distinguished judge and family friend comes for a visit. The realization of her conviction for murder (it is never really confirmed whether she was guilty of the crime or not), serves as a reason as to why she has been so determined to save Laurel - she fears that the girl will end up on the same path she did. Madricle opens the eyes of all around her - "You should be frightened - you see before you the woman Laurel may yet become! The child who lied, cheated and hated, because she could not believe the simple fact that she was loved!
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4.0 out of 5 stars WEIRD AND WONDERFUL. June 9 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This is a rather unusual little film which is based on an unusual play by Enid Bagnold. Kerr is a mysterious woman who is applying for the position of governess at a stately old house. Kerr hasn't any experience nor references to give to her staid but essentially tender-hearted employer (played carefully by Dame Edith Evans, grotesquely dressed in lavender much of the time). Hayley Mills plays the troubled Laurel, a sprited, lying adolescent girl of 16 - who is much like Miss Madrigal (Kerr) was at the girl's same age.....There is an astonishing twist and a fairly satisfying ending - however, this movie is hardly high on most people's list of favourites, somehow. The symbolic film title refers to the chalk dominated soil of the garden - in which nothing can grow without additional nourishment - Evans hired Kerr because of the latters knowledge that nothing will possibly grow in a chalk garden without potash and other necessary and vital nutrients essential for thriving flowerbeds -an allegorical parallel to Laurel herself: the girl will never grow to be a gentle, loving and giving soul without her mother's love - which is cruelly withheld from her by her seemingly devoted and selfless Grandmother...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars AWSOME MOVIE
I finally managed to get this movie, this is one of hayley mills best, along with her father john mills and deborah kerr. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2011 by Kevin W. Edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The film is quite good. I enjoyed it, the actors/actress' fit their parts extremely well. The music is a bit too much. Read more
Published on Dec 22 2003 by Lucy Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Good.
Not my favorite of Hayley's movies but it's good, just a little weird compared to most of her movies. Read more
Published on May 8 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars the chalk garden
Great Classic .
But then I love any movie Haley Mills stars in.
Thought the screenplay was great as well and the settings to be lovely.
Published on Nov. 20 2001 by phillip smart
2.0 out of 5 stars very distorted messages
Although this film did have some good metaphors (garden = a child who needs to be nurtured), and some good potential for depth, as a whole it failed miserably! Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2001 by Daniel Mackler
5.0 out of 5 stars You will never guess the ending!
This extremely interesting story stars Deborah Kerr, Hayley Mills, and John Mills. Hayley Mills play the troubled teenager caught between her grandmother and her own mother in a... Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2001 by M
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Chalk Garden Brings Out Father And Daughter Together"
I have noticed Hayley and John Mills in "Tiger Bay",but in "The Chalk Garden",it brings the togetherness of the two. Hayley plays Laurel St. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Best Hayley Mills Movie Ever!"
"The Chalk Garden" is a great movie,because for Hayley Mills,she had to balance her Disney work with more serious movies. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Chalk Garden Is Hayley Mills' Greatest"
"The Chalk Garden" tells the story of Laurel St. Maugham,a 16-year-old girl with problems of her own. Her grandmother and her butler Maitland take care of her. Ms. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars "Hayley Mills Is Great in 'The Chalk Garden"
The world might know Hayley Mills from films like "Pollyanna" and "The Parent Trap",but as the girl who has troubles in "The Chalk Garden" is another... Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2000
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