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Cold Comfort Farm is a 1995 British comedy film directed by John Schlesinger and produced by the BBC and Thames Television, an adaptation of Stella Gibbons' 1932 book of the same name, the film stars Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen and Rufus Sewell. Originally broadcast on 1 January 1995 on the BBC, it was Schlesinger's final film shot in his home country of Britain, and was picked up for theatrical release in North America through Gramercy Pictures, where it was a small success.

Cold Comfort Farm
Cold Comfort Farm film.jpg
US theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Schlesinger
Produced byAlison Gilby
Richard Broke
Screenplay byMalcolm Bradbury
Based onCold Comfort Farm
by Stella Gibbons
Music byRobert Lockhart
CinematographyChris Seager
Edited byMark Day
Distributed byBBC (UK)
Gramercy Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 1 January 1995 (1995-01-01) (United Kingdom TV)
  • 10 May 1996 (1996-05-10) (United States theatrical)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$5,682,429[1]


After the death of her estranged parents, young Flora Poste, who aspires to be a writer, decides that the only way for her to live whilst researching her writing is to stay with relatives. Her city-based relatives show no interest, so she sends letters to her country relatives. There are a few responses, most of them unsuitable, but one is intriguing. Flora decides to stay for a while with the Starkadder family on their rundown farm. The Starkadders are an assortment of rustic, uncouth, and truly eccentric characters, each of whom has a hurdle (be it physical, emotional, or spiritual) to overcome before reaching his or her potential. Flora quickly realises that, as a modern twentieth-century woman, she can resolve these situations once she has assessed and solved each character's problems. Whilst she is doing so, she is pursued by an unsuitable suitor, a most obnoxious character, whom she has difficulty avoiding.



The film was edited at Rank Film Laboratories, part of The Rank Organisation. The film itself reached a length of 2,902 metres, and ultimately became 105 minutes long in movie format. The soundtrack was created through development of pre-existing pieces remixed for the film. The majority of the songs used in the film were arranged by Robert Lockhart.[2] The soundtrack was recorded at Lansdowne Studios in London, and was rerecorded at Twickenham Film Studios.

Filming locationsEdit

The production visited Kent where they filmed at Kent & East Sussex Railway which provided the trains for Flora’s journey from London to her relatives at Cold Comfort Farm and Northiam station in East Sussex which is the fictional railway station of Beershorne.

Further scenes were filmed in Brightling in East Sussex, and Twickenham Studios in London.

The Royal Military Canal was also used for scenes where Flora and Elfine walk and chat.[3]


Cold Comfort Farm received generally positive reviews; it currently holds an 84% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[4] In the opening weekend of the film's release in the United States, it grossed $4,139,000.[5] During its theatrical release in North America, the film grossed $5,682,429.[1]

Schlesinger was the only one who thought it would work in North America cinemas and so had to put up the money himself to blow up the print from 16mm to 35mm; he took the new format to the Toronto Film Festival, where its success led to a North American release.[6]


  1. ^ a b Cold Comfort Farm at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Robert Lockhart". IMDb.
  3. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Cold Comfort Farm Article".
  4. ^ Cold Comfort Farm at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ "Cold Comfort Farm" – via
  6. ^ McKellen, Ian (June 2000). "Cold Comfort Farm: Words". Retrieved 2 December 2017.

External linksEdit