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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 <email@example.com>
Though a noteworthy MGM adaptation of the acclaimed 1909 childhood tale by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this film, complete with three Technicolor sequences, failed to garner a contemporary New York Times review. See more »
In the opening title sequence of the movie, someone unlocks the door to the Secret Garden, and pushes it open, inward from the right side. In the rest of the movie, the door opens inward from the left. See more »
My brother Dickon will be coming up to see thee.
Aye, thou'll like Dickon. What a one he is for growing things and the animals. Half lives on it, he does, almost like an animal himself.
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No screen credit is given for the Technicolor sequences. See more »
Going in I was not familiar with the enormously popular children's book upon which it was based, but I have to believe the folks behind this version did a wonderful job condensing the material and preserving all the elements which helped make the book such a success. It's even a little hard to believe it was derived from a book targeted at children as the film deals with some fairly mature subject matter and has rather an adult, realistic edge. It's very impressive, certainly a meticulously crafted, heartfelt production that builds nicely to a moving conclusion. (Plus, the scenes shot in color are breathtaking.) The very visual director, Fred Wilcox, is remarkably adept at establishing mood and atmosphere through the ominous use of sets and lighting. Margaret O'Brien (repeatedly and inaccurately told in the movie how unattractive she is) who was soon to kiss childhood and stardom goodbye, is given a great part to play and is extremely appealing. (As is a very young Dean Stockwell, playing a difficult character who all too easily could've been unsympathetic.)
Also, I have to quarrel with the other post, where someone asserts that the movie is badly dated. Quite the contrary, the story zips along at a refreshingly swift pace and never lags. The movie should hardly be faulted (and in fact should be commended) for not having flashy MTV style edits every five seconds or a bombastic score. It's a very rewarding experience for both children and adults alike.
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