THE CHALK GARDEN
(Ronald Neame, 1964)
Release date: 19 April 2021
Limited Edition Blu-ray (UK premiere)
Ronald Neame (The Odessa File) directs this stately adaptation of Enid Bagnold’s play which tells of a haughty matriarch (Edith Evans, The Whisperers) who employs a governess (Deborah Kerr, The Innocents) with a shadowy past to take care of her troubled teenage granddaughter (Hayley Mills, Take a Girl Like You, Endless Night), and her neglected garden. John Mills (Town on Trial, The Wrong Box) plays the butler who develops a soft spot for the governess, and navigates the fraught interpersonal relationships of the house. A hit with audiences upon its original release, The Chalk Garden benefits from a nuanced screenplay by the great John Michael Hayes (Rear Window) and tasteful photography by Arthur Ibbetson (Where Eagles Dare, Fanatic).
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono soundtrack
• Audio commentary with film historians Jo Botting and Lucy Bolton (2021)
• The BEHP Interview with Ronald Neame (1991): an archival audio recording, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring the acclaimed director in conversation with Roy Fowler
• An appreciation of Malcolm Arnold’s score by author and musician David Huckvale (2021)
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: promotional and publicity material
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Melanie Williams, extracts from interviews and autobiographies, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited edition of 3,000 copies
• All extras subject to change
BBFC cert: PG
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5 posts • Page 1 of 1
- Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
- Location: Worthing
- Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm
I can't say I enjoyed this very much but it did provoke an interesting view on reform that pretends like it's progressive when it's really retroactive, whereby observing action only in hindsight does a person earn forgiveness from conservative seasoned characters. The action of hiding while proving value is what's subtly championed here. The alternative mindset comes from the young and malleable, as the granddaughter is intrigued by mystery isolated by itself, but this becomes a personal passionate drive as soon as respect is established, which is done through active behavior. Character gives way to acceptance devoid of history, treated as such even with proof of deceit and hiding shameful secrets, and that this comes from the character who should be the most naive and immature is a statement in itself about how Christian principles of unconditional affection and willingness to entertain forgiveness from ground zero become worn as people age and become more introverted and numb to empathy. The film itself is a bit dry and never really comes together in an interesting way, but I found myself reflecting upon its subliminal implications well after finishing.
- Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 9:17 am
I think the film is a good example of tonal dissonance. On the one hand you have a somewhat dark story with pointed and evenThe film itself is a bit dry and never really comes together in an interesting way, but I found myself reflecting upon its
subliminal implications well after finishing.
acidic dialogue. On the other hand the film has mostly sunny exteriors and overlit interiors (with a very lush color palette) and
an invasive music score (which I understand director Ronald Neame loathed). I think the film would've benefited more from being
more like other contemporaneous films such as Seance on a Wet Afternoon or The Pumpkin Eater.
That being said, the performances are excellent. Deborah Kerr and John Mills in particular.