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The Secret Garden (1949)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Family  |  22 July 1949 (Brazil)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,686 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 11 critic

When cholera takes the parents of Mary Lennox, she is shipped from India to England to live with her Uncle Craven. Archibald Craven's house is dark and drafty, with over 100 rooms built on ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Herbert Marshall ...
...
...
...
Brian Roper ...
...
Aubrey Mather ...
George Zucco ...
Dr. Fortescue
Lowell Gilmore ...
British Officer
...
Dennis Hoey ...
Matthew Boulton ...
Mr. Bromley (as Mathew Boulton)
Isobel Elsom ...
Governess
...
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Storyline

When cholera takes the parents of Mary Lennox, she is shipped from India to England to live with her Uncle Craven. Archibald Craven's house is dark and drafty, with over 100 rooms built on the edge of the moors. Mary finds that her Uncle does not wish to see her, which is fine with Mary as she herself is rude and spoiled. While walking the gardens the next day, Mary notices that there is a area in the garden surrounded with a high stone wall and no doorway. Dickon, brother of a housemaid, tells her of the garden behind the wall. By the path, the raven unearths the hidden key so that Mary and Dickon are able to enter the walled garden to find it overgrown and neglected. Inside the house, she finds that Archibald has a son named Colin, who is crippled and as spoiled as she. Together these three work to make the secret garden their own world. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Family

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 July 1949 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

A titkos kert  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

| (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie inspired a short-lived television series in 1952, with Brian Roper reprising his role as Dickon. The series (which was broadcast live) is believed to be lost. See more »

Goofs

Elspeth Dudgeon who played Susan Sowerby was 78 years old, she would therefore have been well into her 60's when she gave birth to Dickon. See more »

Quotes

Mary Lennox: What were you doing watching me?
Dickon: I came to play with thee. My mother thought thou might be lonely.
Mary Lennox: Well, I'm not, and I don't play with any servant's brother. I never heard of anything so ridiculous. Thou can just go home.
[Dickon laughs]
Mary Lennox: I mean, you can just go home.
See more »

Crazy Credits

No screen credit is given for the Technicolor sequences. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Secret Garden (1987) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Come Play In This Garden
17 March 2002 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A strange little girl finds peace for her troubled heart after confronting the mystery of THE SECRET GARDEN.

Based on the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this family film is a perennial favorite, in no whit dimmed by more recent, flashier versions. The excellent production values by MGM allow the viewer to experience the weird atmosphere of Misselthwaite Manor and the joyous fecundity of the Garden.

The movie can be enjoyed for the plot alone, but there are other, deeper, levels which can be appreciated as well. Most of the main characters are desperately unhappy when the film begins, but the spontaneous love of life exhibited by the Sowerby family - which leads directly to the discovery of the Garden - ultimately brings about the redemption of several (but not all) of the others. This Joy is not altogether of our world. If the viewer senses the unseen Presence of Something Bright & Beautiful in the Garden, so be it.

The film's main drawback - and this is a small quibble - is the intent to increase tension by adding a possible murder mystery to the plot (How did Colin's mother really die? Did Archibald Craven kill her?). This is quite unnecessary, the story has enough conflict already. But the desire to add additional menace to the Dark Old House theme probably proved irresistible - as well as giving the excellent British actor, Herbert Marshall, more dramatic gristle on which to chew.

The plot revolves, as it should, around the experiences of three children, each peculiar in their own way. Margaret O'Brien, Dean Stockwell & Brian Roper flesh out their roles most agreeably. The adult roles are so well cast that one tends to forget that they are mostly caricatures: Dame Gladys Cooper as the wicked, frustrated housekeeper; Elsa Lanchester as the irrepressibly happy maid; dour Reginald Owen as the elemental gardener. Even the small cameo performances sparkle: Billy Bevan as an overheated British soldier in India; Dennis Hoey as Marshall's stern valet; Aubrey Mather & George Zucco as young Stockwell's doctors; and Norma Varden as his wise nurse.

Movie mavens should recognize Elspeth Dudgeon in the tiny role of Dickon's mother & the wonderful Marni Nixon as the dubbed singing voice of Miss O'Brien - both uncredited.

The film makes very judicious use of Technicolor to heighten appreciation of the distinctive nature of the Garden.


40 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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