Cold Comfort Farm
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Product Description

Rural british eccentrics change their ways under the influence of a chic cousin from 1930s london. From the stella gibbons novel. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 07/01/2003 Starring: Sheila Burrell Stephen Fry Run time: 104 minutes Rating: Pg Director: John Schlesinger

This hilarious spoof on British costume dramas based on great literature stars Kate Beckinsale (Much Ado About Nothing) as a strong-willed, young woman named Miss Flora Poste, who finds herself orphaned and without means in the 1930s. Moving in with some half-savage relatives on a country farm, Flora is hardly daunted by their primitivism (as she might have been in a novel by Thomas Hardy) but instead takes charge and imposes hygiene, order, and good manners on the dirty, superstitious lot. John Schlesinger directs this brisk, infectious adaptation of the 1932 novel by Stella Gibbons. Beckinsale is wonderful, and the rest of the savvy, inspired cast perfectly send up a host of literary clich¨¦s. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews:

  • movie fan
    Didn't expect much, was recommended by a co-worker. Very funny with a set of characters that were all so intereting in their own right that you couldn't help but love them! Highly recommend ths one!...more info
  • Cold Comfort Farm
    One of the all time best comedy/satires. This story ruined the genre of noble peasant writing and with good reason. Witty, clever, with great characters.Cold Comfort Farm...more info
  • Both amusing and diverting.
    This is one of my very favorite little films. Friends come over and want to borrow a DVD and ask - "what's good?" I tell them "Cold Comfort Farm." They invariably return it with high praise and hearty thanks for having turned them on to it. This is a wonderful spoof of Jane Austin, full of indelible characters and performances. Joanna Lumley is divine as Mrs. Smiley. Eileen Atkins (every bit as good here as she was in "Gosford Park"), Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry are wonderfully broad and eccentric. John Schlesinger directed a number of fine films including "Billy Liar," "Darling," "Far From the Madding Crowd" (another favorite of mine), "Midnight Cowboy" (for which he won an Oscar), "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Day of the Locust" and the underrated "Madame Sousatzka." "Cold Comfort Farm" was his final 'great' film and deserves to be acknowledged as such. Don't miss this almost forgotten gem. ...more info
  • Cold Comfort ?? ...please this movie is awesome !!
    I watched this movie so far at least twelve times ! I love the period of time that this was set in. The quirkiness of the family made me laugh over and over again... I highly recommend this movie to those who appreciate times past. ...more info
  • The woodshed is the happening place.. lol
    It has been years since I saw the movie.. I love it. It is that type of movie that you can watch over and over. It can pick you up when you are down. Oh, I can give a review of how the story is effective to that of the novelist style, but why should I? It has its storyline stereo-types, but it's something that we can relate to and identify with with those around us. It's wonderfully funny. The woodshed adds the special little craziness to a group of people who are very escentric but very loveable. Each character is protrayed to fill in the need for Flora in her quest to bring them into the current century. We never do learn what was in the woodshed, but one can get an idea. lol. And what did the family do that they felt they needed to atone to for Flora's father? Who knows, but it was nice of them. To sum this up, watching Cold Comfort Farm gives one a good feeling and can make one laugh him- or herself....more info
  • Can't endure a mess
    "Cold Comfort Farm," Stella Gibbons' hilarious literary satire, is brought to life in this polished TV adaptation. Faithful to its source but never stuffy, the adaptation is full of solid performances and entertaining subplots and romance, even if it is a bit slow at times.

    Flora Poste (Kate Beckinsale) is suddenly orphaned with only 100 pounds a year -- a piddling amount of money in high-society London. She aspires to be the next Jane Austen, and has no skills besides writing. (And given the number of times we hear "golden orb," writing isn't too good either) So she agrees to go live at Cold Comfort Farm. The farm is well-named -- it's dirty, primitive, and broke.

    The backwater inhabitants include sex-and-movies-obsessed Seth (Rufus Sewell), hellfire preacher Amos (Ian McKellen), his depressed wife Judith (Eileen Atkins), and the unhinged old Aunt Ada Doom (Sheila Burrell), who "saw something nasty in the woodshed." Not to mention Elfine (Maria Miles), a farm girl in love with a young blueblood. With practicality to spare, Flora sets up love matches, fixes up the family feuds, and tidies up the homestead.

    Take some nineteenth century novel's most primitive farms, and plop a practical, thoroughly independent young woman in the middle of it. Add a few dark mysteries -- what are Flora's "rights?" What did Aunt Ada see? -- and you have "Cold Comfort Farm." Stella Gibbons had a subtle, wry sense of humor, and the movie adaptation keeps the spirit alive.

    It's lots of fun to see Flora cleaning up house, both literally and figuratively. She keeps trying to arrange everyone's lives so, in the long run, they'll be happy -- while postponing what might make herself happy. The plot moves at a rather slow clip, sprinkled with fun scenes like Elfine's makeover, or Amos's frenetic sermon (complete with graphic descriptions of hell's torments). Not to mention the dozens of funny lines, like Amos's deadpan, "Seth, you drain the well -- there's a neighbor missing."

    Kate Beckinsale does a wonderful job as the no-nonsence Flora Poste. She's backed up by good performances: Stephen Fry's obnoxiously overenthusiastic Mr. Mybug, an unwanted suitor of Flora's, and Joanna Lumley as Flora's best pal and bra collector. Ian McKellen is particularly good as a wild-haired hellfire preacher. And Eileen Atkins drifts around in a morbid, pop-eyed stupor as Judith Starkadder.

    "Cold Comfort Farm" is jolly good fun, a warm-hearted satire with plenty of excellent acting. Good fun for anyone who likes to poke fun at costume dramas and gothic family secrets....more info
  • Cold Comfort Farm is wonderful
    This is a terrific film Have seen it three times. Invited over some friends to watch the film with us. We howled with laughter at the doings of the family. What did she see in the shed? Love love love all the wild characters. Kate Beckinsale is lovely as the homeless orphan who "fixes" her weird and wonderful relatives. The Hollywood producer visiting and discovering Seth is a highlight of the film, as is the hilarious wedding scene. ...more info
  • Farm house with a view....
    Kate Beckensale might be best remembered for her role in PEARL HARBOR, but I first became aware of her in EMMA. I am very happy to see that CCF has finally been 'uncoupled' from the porm film one used to find for sale with it. I have been replacing my lazer disks one by one as films become available on DVD and had waited for a long while for this DVD.

    The film is a gem. Joanna Lumley makes a rather brief appearance although she is pictured on the DVD cover. I suppose Universal Studios thought we Americans might recognize Lumley before Eileen Atkins, who also plays in this film although she was recently seen in COLD MOUNTAIN as the 'old goat woman' or Ian McKellen who played Gandalf in the Ring triogy, or Stephen Fry who played Jeeves in the JEEVES AND WOSTER series.

    CCF is funny and sentimental in a British sort of manner. Who else but the British could envision the salvation of one of their own farm oafs as an offer from Hollywood to play in what undoubtedly will be romantic film productions. (Hey, we aren't all boobs who shoot from the lip!!). And, Joanna Lumley is superb as a slightly weird single girl who spends her down time fondling mannequins.

    In spite of the tongue and cheek sexual innuendo, I think this film is suitable for family watching. The sly sexy humor is probably over the heads of most American kids. But what do I know, I don't watch American tv, I watch BBC America....more info

  • Good English movie fun!
    This movie was pure delight if you love (which I do!!) the subtlety of English humor. ...more info
  • Amazing Comedy
    This film is an amazing British comedy of ridiculousness. If you have a bit of an odd sense of humor then this film is for you....more info
  • not quite the forsyte saga
    a change of pace from director john schlesinger, more familiar for dark pieces like "darling" or "sunday bloody sunday", this is one of those off-beat british comedies wherein a supposedly "normal" person (herein kate beckinsale as an impoverished smart set 1930s girl) gets plopped down in the midst of a parochially isolated village replete with quirky characers. while lacking the bite of bill forsyths "local hero", it holds up quite nicely among the genre, and if you enjoy this type of movie, you will enjoy this one.
    ...more info
  • An Impossibly Fun Movie
    Kate Beckinsale plays a character very similiar to her title role in "Emma" One wonders if this wasn't her audition for the role of Emma (or vise versa since I don't know which role came first!). Those of you who are familiar with the delightful "Vicar of Dibley" series, will no doubt recognize the actor who plays Ruben.

    Stereotype casting of character actors aside, it was a fun movie full of colorful characters and crazy circumstances. Predictable, impossible and moving too fast to be even vaguely contemplated as possibly being within the realm of probability......just let yourself go with the flow and enjoy it.

    Definately a highly recommended popcorn movie !!!!! : )
    ...more info
  • Just OK
    I love English movies, but the accents in this one are so thick, I believe I only understood half of what was being said--and there were no captions available on the DVD. So perhaps that is why, although it wasn't bad, I would just say this film was okay--nothing special. ...more info
  • Delightful cast
    This movie is an absolute delight. It's one of my favorites. And the cast is stellar! Kate Beckinsale is wonderful in the role of "Robert Poste's child." I find myself quoting lines from this movie all the time.

    ...more info
  • Love this film!
    The British wit makes this film wonderful. The film follows the novel closely. I recommend this movie to anyone seeking an intelligent comedy....more info
  • One of the BEST movies of all times!
    This is one of my very favorite films, and I'm so glad to have a copy on DVD now. If you like Jane Austen, quirky Brittish films, or oddball humor, this movie is for you!...more info
  • A Twitter of a Movie
    This is one to watch when you just need to FELL GOOD.
    It's a twitter of a movie with a dash of brilliant camera work.
    Totally worth watching again and again.
    Cheers,
    Alexandra...more info
  • Cold Comfort Farm
    I loved this film! I had made copy at one time from watching it on the telly, but decided that I needed my very on good copy. I recommend it for any and all who enjoy British sense of humor....more info
  • The questions are not important, the answers are wonderful
    I was first attracted to this movie due to the presence of Kate (VAN HELSING, UNDERWORLD) Beckinsale who plays chic London socialite Flora Poste in this wonderful, funny and heart warming adaptation of the 1932 Stella Gibbons novel.
    Flora, with dreams of becoming a novelist, moves to the rural countryside to live with her great Aunt and her family on Cold Comfort Farm, a down-on-its-luck farmstead deep in the English countryside. There she encounters a number of wonderful eccentric characters who seem to be living in the past - one of them uses a twig to clean the dishes. Flora sets about lifting the doom and gloom that surrounds the farm and bringing 'enlightenment' to the inhabitants by helping to make their suppressed dreams come true.
    What makes this movie so much fun is the characters that Flora encounters, and as with such character-driven movies, the choice of actors is so important. Thankfully some strong caliber acting talent was brought in and they equip themselves wonderfully. From Ian McKellen of the LORD OF THE RING'S trilogy to Rufus (A KNIGHT'S TALE) Sewell the results are exemplary.
    Raised for the first ten years of my life on my grandfathers farm on the English-Scottish border, I found the movie a particular delight. Though clearly over-the-top some of the observations of country living (from Gibbons) awakened a strange sense of nostalgia and wondering how life had been for my grandfather back in the 1930s and 1940s.
    This is a gem of a movie and I encourage everyone to give this movie a chance....more info
  • Funny, engaging, witty and absolutely brilliant!
    Any fan of Jane Austen's will appreciate this film's charm and sparkling wit. It is one of my favorite films ever! I saw this at an arthouse theater in Denver and everyone (including me) in the audience was roaring with laughter.

    The story centers around the outspoken, feisty and newly-orphaned Flora Poste (aka Robert Poste's child), who moves from London to live with her rural, backwoods relatives in Cold Comfort Farm. Led by her mysterious great-aunt Ada Doom, her relatives prove to be absolutely eccentric and incredibly funny. Among her other quirky relatives are Amos Starkadder (Ian McKellen), his wife Judith (Eileen Atkins) and their children Seth (Ivan Kaye), Reuben (the hunky Rufus Sewell in one of his most memorable roles) and Elfine (Maria Miles). Then there is Flora's sophisticated London friend Mary Smiling (Joanna Lumley) who provides Flora with some much needed comfort, advice and fashionable magazines.

    With a role that foreshadows her future role in Jane Austen's "Emma", Kate Beckinsale perfectly embodies a 1930s-like Emma Woodhouse role as she interferes in the lives of all of her relations and completely makes them all over. This doesn't bode well with her great-aunt Ada and cousin Judith, who abhor change of any sort.

    It is a riotous film all the same and the brilliant performances from everyone involved make this DVD an absolute must have! If you enjoy British humor and satire, you'll love "Cold Comfort Farm!"...more info

  • The Funniest Movie You will See in a Long Time
    Written in the 1930's by Stella Gibbins, the book revolves around a young woman who is determined to have experiences in order to write about them in the novel she will write when she is 50. She likes things "tidy," which means that she interferes in everyone's lives, usually to their good.

    She goes to live with strange relatives, who are each a parody of a type of person, and the result is hilarious. Great lines such as "I saw something nasty in the woodshed," and "Miss Poste, I am engorgingly in love with you," are what make this movie a scream. It is also very faithful to the book and will not ruin the book, should you watch this first....more info
  • Charming movie
    What a charming movie. A young Kate Beckinsale shines in this wonderful movie full of quirky characters. You'll want to visit Cold Comfort Farm!...more info
  • Such fun!
    The first time I watched Cold Comfort Farm, I could not fully appreciate the humor and comedy of it. The second time was pure pleasure. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the British sense of style and humor. ...more info
  • "I Saw Something Nasty In The Woodshed!" The Starkadder Fam!
    Originally broadcast in 1971, the telly production of Stella Gibbon's 1932 novel, "Cold Comfort Farm" helped to launch the first season of PBS's signature series, "Masterpiece Theatre".

    This is a great remake and is director, John Schlessinger's acclaimed 1995 film adaptation starring a TERRIFIC Kate Beckinsale as the recently orphaned, Flora Poste.

    Set in the 1930's, in England, Flora writes to all of her relation, hoping someone will take her in as she has no real drive or ambition, save for possibly becoming the next Jane Austen. Flora accepts an offer from The Starkadders Of Cold Comfort Farm in Howling, Sussex. She thinks that she just might like farm life and it might be good for her writing career. However, once she arrives she finds out that the farm has had a curse upon it along with all of the inhabitants, human and animal alike.

    The Starkadder family is comprised of Amos & his forelorn wife, Judith, & their two virile & rakish sons, Seth and Reuben. As Flora says, "Highly sexed young men living on farms are always called Seth or Reuben."

    Also living at Cold Comfort is a lovely waifish sprite of a cousin, Elfine, the hired help, Adam Lambsbreath, Urk, Rennet & Mrs. Beetle. Also locked in her chambers is an old crusty hermit of a grandmamma, Ada Doom (appropriately named). The Starkadders & the rest of the clan are pure country folk with pure country ways. Their lives being quite primitive in contrast with Flora's.

    Flora sets out to change it all though and with some priceless and hilarious scenes ensuing. Flora tries to bring everyone around to a higher common sense and does it with great gusto.

    With lines in the film like:

    Amos Starkadder: Seth, drain the well. There's a neighbor missing.

    Violet: She b'aint worf it Urk, she jus b'aint worf it!

    and the two most repeated and beloved lines in the film:
    Ada Doom: I saw something nasty in the woodshed! & "There has always been Starkadders on Cold Comfort Farm."

    This film is a gem, a fabulous adaptation of the novel and a great and wonderful surprise for it's viewers. A great cast and performances with the great Ian McKellen,Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley, Eileen Atkins and Rufus Sewell. I highly recommend "Cold Comfort Farm"!

    Happy Watching!
    ...more info
  • "While I'm here, might I make a few changes?"
    Cold Comfort Farm is a jolly film that bounces along as merrily as its theme tune. It's a rollicking good comedy with a laugh-out-loud collection of Dickensian characters (the doom-stricken Starkadders, the rustic Adam Lambsbreath, and the upper crust Hawk-Monitors). Certainly the film is very over-the-top and silly, but it's light-hearted fun - a welcome alternative to the glut of psychological, heart-wrenching, blood-and-guts fare on the market.

    The Starkadders live on the bleak acres of Cold Comfort Farm, where "the cows are barren and the sows are farren". Into this gloomy and eccentric setting comes young, 1930s-modern Flora Poste, who sets to winning the hearts and minds of Cold Comfort's inhabitants, and dragging the Starkadders into the twentieth century. Along the way she manages to rearrange and enliven her own life too.

    Kate Beckinsale (prior to her arrival on the scene of big-budget American flicks) is a likeable and chirpy young lady with a talent for organisation. In the supporting roles, Joanna Lumley is delightfully sarcastic as Flora's incongruously named aunt, Mary Smiling, who has a rather unusual hobby. And Ian McKellen is a real scene-stealer as the fire-and-brimstone preacher of the Church of the Quivering Brethren.

    The plot revolves around Great Aunt Ada Doom and the 'narsty' thing she saw in the woodshed nigh on 70 years ago. There is also the mysterious wrong perpetrated on Flora's father by the Starkadders sometime in the dim and misty past. So it is a tad frustrating that the audience is never let in on either of these secrets! But these are minor quibbles in what is otherwise an excellent comedic romp, with some interesting and atmospheric cinematography. A very good (and very British) laugh....more info

  • A Completely Charming British Hoot!
    I'm all for the Brits and Cold Comfort Farm is hilarious!
    It starts off with Flora Poste traveling to the raggedy farm of her distant relatives. When she gets to her destination she meets some strange people she wished she could forget. Similar to the film " Pollyanna " Flora breezes into people's lives, making them happier than they've ever been. Kate Beckensale is beautiful, charming and loveable in a film everyone will enjoy. This is a quirky little comedy of intelligence. The perfect film to accompany afternoon tea. A comedy must see!...more info
  • Surprise!
    Did not what to expect but found it very entertaining. Kate Beckinsale'role very similar to her role in Emma....more info
  • Just gets better with each viewing
    Our family loves this movie. It is a *very* dry 1930's (when the book was written) commentary on idiocyncracies of human nature and societal class structure and stereotypes. Highly, highly recommend....more info
  • An affectionate, funny film
    I saw this film soon after its 1995 release and thought it wonderful, all the more so because Kate Beckinsale's interpretation of Flora Poste reminded me very much of my oldest daughter. So I was pleased to see that it has finally come out on DVD; I bought a copy, watched it again, and still think it wonderful.

    You should be warned that you may have a hard time understanding what some of the inhabitants of Cold Comfort Farm are saying. However, that's intentional and straight from the novel, where the accents and strange word usages often leave Flora puzzled. Here's an exchange (from the novel) that I believe is reproduced pretty much verbatim in the movie, when Reuben comes in after working out in the fields not long after Flora has started living at Cold Comfort Farm:

    ========
    ...After another minute Reuben brought forth the following sentence:

    'I ha' scranleted two hundred furrows come five o'clock down i' the bute.'

    It was a difficult remark, Flora felt, to which to reply. Was it a complaint? If so, one might say, 'My dear, how too sickening for you!' But then, it might be a boast, in which case the correct reply would be, 'Attaboy!' or more simply, 'Come, that's capital.' Weakly she fell back on the comparativel safe remark:

    'Did you?' in a bright interested voice.
    ========

    Speaking of which, the original novel (written in 1932 by Stella Gibbons) is just as wonderful, and the film is a remarkably faithful adaptation, if (understandably) a bit trimmed and modified. I read the book for the first time after watching the DVD release of the movie and was delighted to see that most of the dialog comes straight from the book, including my favorite line (the interchange between Neck, the movie producer, and Aunt Ada), if a bit punched up.

    Finally, for the reviewers who are frustrated that we never find out what Ada saw in the woodshed, what wrongs were done to Robert Poste by Amos Starkadder, and what Flora Poste's rights were...well, the novel leaves us pretty much in the dark as well. In the book, Aunt Ada _does_ answer the second question for Flora--though we as readers don't get to hear the answer--and Ada is interrupted before she can answer Flora's intriguing follow up question, "And did the goat die?"

    The movie and the book are both delightful; enjoy. ..bruce.....more info

  • One of Britian's Best
    I have seen this move many times but finally found it on dvd. Highly recommended to any Anglophile who loves witty comedy....more info