The Chalk Garden
Directed by Ronald Neame
From Ronald Neame, the acclaimed director of The Horse’s Mouth, Tunes of Glory, Gambit, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Poseidon Adventure and Hopscotch, comes this critically acclaimed drama starring screen legend Deborah Kerr (Separate Tables), with Hayley Mills (Endless Night), John Mills (Great Expectations) and Edith Evans (The Whisperers) in an Oscar-nominated role. The peculiar antics of Laurel (Hayley Mills), an emotionally troubled young girl, are the focus of The Chalk Garden—a stately household drama set on the cliffs of the English south coast. Evans plays a matriarchal grandmother who, in raising her granddaughter, has neglected her other love—a barren chalk garden. Mayhem ensues as Laurel’s behavior frightens away a succession of governesses until an enigmatic one (Kerr) is hired in spite of her mysterious references. She skillfully sets about tending to the girl’s reckless emotions and the pitifully failed garden. John Mills (Hayley’s real-life father) plays the compassionate butler working overtime to maintain order in this unpredictable environment. Beautifully photographed by Arthur Ibbetson (Where Eagles Dare) with a screenplay by the great John Michael Hayes (Rear Window), adapted from a play by Enid Bagnold (National Velvet).