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The Chalk Garden (1964)

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  • The Chalk Garden (1964)

    First, I will say there are things about this film that I don't like: it is not faithful enough to the brilliant Enid Bagnold play; it has a truly terrible musical score that sounds like a parody of a horror movie and a parody of an old romance, in turn; it has a cornball ending that doesn't match the material; it is produced by Ross Hunter - - which is the equivalent of Alfred Hitchcock producing The Wizard of Oz. And it is turned into a vehicle for Hayley Mills, in order to introduce her to older roles. It was made in 1964.


    With all of that said, it is well worth seeing. So much of the play remains, and the story is a compelling one.

    Also - Deborah Kerr and Edith Evans and John Mills and Felix Aylmer are all in it, and Ronald Neame is the director. That, plus the filming at the MGM studio in England and surrounding location shooting, make it at times even a memorable film.

    Hayley Mills is given a thankless role, but she has some effective scenes, and she plays very well with Deborah Kerr. It's a pleasure to watch them. It is also a pleasure to watch Kerr and John Mills together - two professionals under playing scenes that might have been melodrama.

    Edith Evans has a truncated role. But she still has great power as a self-absorbed matriarch.