24 user 11 critic

The Chalk Garden (1964)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery | 21 May 1964 (USA)
An elderly woman hires a governess with a mysterious past to look after her disturbed and spoiled teenage granddaughter, who eventually understands the meaning of self-sacrifice, as an example of love, and grows into a better person.


Ronald Neame


John Michael Hayes (screenplay), Enid Bagnold (from the play by)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Deborah Kerr ... Miss Madrigal
Hayley Mills ... Laurel
John Mills ... Maitland
Edith Evans ... Mrs. St. Maugham
Felix Aylmer ... Judge McWhirrey
Elizabeth Sellars ... Olivia
Lally Bowers ... Anna
Toke Townley Toke Townley ... Shop Clerk
Tonie MacMillan Tonie MacMillan ... Mrs. Williams


A grandmother (Dame Edith Evans) seeks a governess for her sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Laurel (Hayley Mills), who manages to drive away everyone so far by exposing her past, with a record of three in one week. When an applicant with a mysterious past manages to get the job, Laurel vows to expose her. Meanwhile, Laurel's mother Olivia (Elizabeth Sellars) tries to get her back. Written by Nasser <NasKU@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


One was defying life and grasping for love...the other one was defying love and fleeing from life! See more »


Drama | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


In an early 1960s interview, producer Ross Hunter deemed the original English setting "dreary" and announced he was resetting the movie in scenic Carmel, California, but had second thoughts. See more »


As Maitland and Miss Madrigal leave the village shop the view through the car's rear window shows them go round a corner and then straighten, however Maitland does not move the car's steering wheel. See more »


[first lines]
Anna: Excuse me. Would Mrs. St. Maugham live here?
Maitland: She would.
Anna: [pointing to the newspaper in her hand] I'm sorry, I came in answer to the advertisement.
Maitland: There's no need to be sorry... at least not yet. Come in please.
Anna: [entering the house] Ooh, goodness me, it's very grand, isn't it.
Maitland: Built like a fort. It has to be.
Anna: [grabbing Maitland's arm] Pardon me, but are there many others?
Maitland: You're number six.
Anna: [shocked] So many?
See more »


Referenced in What's My Line?: Louis Armstrong (2) (1964) See more »

User Reviews

Terrific Hayley Mills performance
6 October 2002 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

In her A&E "Biography", it was revealed that child actress Hayley Mills apparently got her first mediocre notices from critics with this film, but I do not know why. Mills is engaging and colorful as a 16-year-old with a mind of her own: willful, stubborn, and bratty, she's wonderful on-screen. Deborah Kerr is also very fine, cool-headed and mysteriously reserved playing the new governess in an emotionally-unbalanced household run by haughty matriarch Edith Evans. Talky but entertaining, lively adaptation of Enid Bagnold's play (the title a metaphor for growing something in an improper environment). Exceptionally well-directed by Ronald Neame, who carefully allows the story to unfold like a marvelous novel--one you can get lost in. All the performers, including John Mills as the chief caretaker, are first-rate. Worth finding. ***1/2 from ****

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Release Date:

21 May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Chalk Garden See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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