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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

There are several moments when Mary (Margaret O'Brien) refers to her servant in India. When watching the film, one hears the word "servant," but Mary's mouth is clearly forming the word "Aya" as in other versions of The Secret Garden. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Dickon: I've watched thee go about the garden. There's no way in.
Mary Lennox: In where?
Dickon: The secret garden. He locked the gate long years ago.
Mary Lennox: Who locked the gate?
Dickon: The master. Lord Craven, thy uncle.
Mary Lennox: What do you know about it?
Dickon: I know what's said. He locked the gate and buried the key, and nary's a soul been in there since.
Mary Lennox: I don't believe you. Do you know why I don't believe you? Because there isn't any gate. I've looked.
Dickon: Eh, so've I.
See more »

Connections

Version of Back to the Secret Garden (2000) 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

 
How Does Your Garden Grow?
14 May 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

It looks like there have been a gazillion version of Frances Hodgson Burnett's popular novel for children made. This one apparently is the most popular, the one most people will remember.

It's a wonderful allegorical tale about how one has to give in life in order to receive. It also is about the maturing of a couple of really bratty kids.

Margaret O'Brien is a child of the British Raj in India, quite used to having things her own way as her parents are a big-shot and his lady. But when both are taken away by an epidemic, she has to go back to Great Britain to live with an uncle, Herbert Marshall for whom the mildest thing that can be said is eccentric.

She's given rather restrictive use of the vast house, though the grounds are her's to roam with the exception of a garden that is locked up. Many years ago Marshall's wife has died there and it's her death and the circumstances thereof that have driven him to the brink of dissolution and insanity.

O'Brien also finds she has a cousin roughly her age who is bedridden with paralysis in Dean Stockwell. Stockwell has not born his affliction well and in fact is a bigger brat than she is. Dealing with him has forced her to confront her own misbehavior.

A large part of Stockwell's problems are his doctor and caregiver in the persons of doctor Aubrey Mather and housekeeper Gladys Cooper. They like having him dependent on them, it increases their position in the house, as for Mather, he's making a whole living off Marshall treating his child.

The younger brother of maid Elsa Lanchester, Brian Roper, also becomes a friend to both as they discover the locked up and neglected garden and use it as a playground. With the special love that children bring to something, interesting things start happening there.

Most of the cast are familiar names to the American cinema, all the adults are card carrying members of the British colony in Hollywood. But Brian Roper was imported from across the pond because of the fact that he spoke with a Yorkshire brogue, he was native to that part of England. It does lend an air of authenticity to the film. Roper had a fair career for about a decade, mostly in his native country. I believe this is his one and only American film appearance.

The Secret Garden is a fine adaption of the children's novel, maybe the best one ever done. The adults are hard pressed in this one to even get their innings in as the kids totally steal this film.


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