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The Secret Garden (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Family | 22 July 1949 (Brazil)
A girl is sent to live with her uncle on his estate when her parents die. There she discovers much intrigue, family history and secrets and personal baggage. In particular, a screaming child and...a secret garden.

Director:

Fred M. Wilcox

Writers:

Robert Ardrey (screenplay), Frances Hodgson Burnett (novel)
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On TV

Airs Sat. Mar. 30, 12:15 AM on TCM

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Margaret O'Brien ... Mary Lennox
Herbert Marshall ... Archibald Craven
Dean Stockwell ... Colin Craven
Gladys Cooper ... Mrs. Medlock
Elsa Lanchester ... Martha
Brian Roper ... Dickon
Reginald Owen ... Ben Weatherstaff
Aubrey Mather ... Dr. Griddlestone
George Zucco ... Dr. Fortescue
Lowell Gilmore ... British Officer
Billy Bevan ... Barney
Dennis Hoey ... Mr. Pitcher
Matthew Boulton ... Mr. Bromley (as Mathew Boulton)
Isobel Elsom ... Governess
Norma Varden ... Nurse
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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:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 July 1949 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

El jardín secreto See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song that Mary Lennox is singing when she is discovered by the British officer (who tells her that her parents are dead) is the love song sung in "The Rains Came," when Tyrone Power is showing Myrna Loy around an Indian school; when he is falling in love with her. It also haunts him the moment before he is escorted to his coronation. 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

Dickon: And Ben said he loved her, and I said, what of that? Is loving someone a reason to kill? And Ben said, how old are thee?
Colin Craven: My father must've loved my mother very much.
Mary Lennox: I suppose we're not old enough. There must be an awful lot we don't know. I don't want to grow up.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Secret Garden (1919) See more »

Soundtracks

Hindoo Song of Love
Written by Lal Chand Mehra
Performed by Margaret O'Brien with singing voice provided by Marni Nixon.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Come Play In This Garden
17 March 2002 | by Ron OliverSee 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.


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