Chalk Garden, The (1964)

The Chalk Garden (1964), directed by Ronald Neame.

Terror-teen Hayley Mills meets her match in formidable governess Deborah Kerr, a mysterious woman with a secret history. She sees her younger self in the girl, whose problem is that she needs a mother's love and isn't getting it. This flaw runs in the family.

Fine little drama with great performances all around. Adapted from a stage play so the little speeches are emphasized, but they open up the scenes and get outdoors and in to town so the story is not so confined. John Mills, Hayley's father, is the decent, sensitive butler. They did several films together and made a good team.

The title is a gardening metaphor for raising a child. Plants won't grow in chalky soil unless they are properly nourished.

Malcolm Arnold score. The DVD is 4:3 letterboxed. A Universal Vault Series title, available for rent from ClassicFlix.