When a spoiled English girl living in nineteenth century India loses both parents in a cholera epidemic, she is sent back to England to live in a country mansion. The Lord is a strange old ...
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In 19th-century India, little Mary Lennox is suddenly orphaned by cholera. Her only living relative is her crook-backed uncle, Archibald Craven, so Mary is sent to live at his estate on the... See full summary »
Sarah Hollis Andrews,
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.
Fred M. Wilcox
Return to the magical place where hope and friendship grow. Back To The Secret Garden, the sequel inspired by the classic children's tale, The Secret Garden, leads us into a magical world ... See full summary »
Back to the Secret Garden is a great family fantasy film. Made in sequel to the original film "The Secret Garden." It has some of the original characters, Lady Mary amongst other favourites... See full summary »
When a spoiled English girl living in nineteenth century India loses both parents in a cholera epidemic, she is sent back to England to live in a country mansion. The Lord is a strange old man, frail and deformed, immensely kind, but so melancholy. She wishes to discover what has caused him so much sorrow and to bring joy back to the household. It all must have something to do with the screams and wails which echo through the house at night and no one wants to talk about.Written by
Paul Emmons <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The building used as the house, Highclere Castle, is not only the seat of the Earl of Carnarvon who helped find Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922, but also was the filming location of the British drama Downton Abbey (2010). See more »
Not an ideal adaptation, stands pretty well on its own though
Like 'A Little Princess', also written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 'The Secret Garden' is a lovely, engrossing read with memorable characters, some of whom that you don't exactly like at first but as they grow and change one likes them much more, and a vivid setting.
There will always be debate as to which version is the best version of 'The Secret Garden'. The most faithful is perhaps the 1975 adaptation, and the 1949 film with Margaret O'Brien is also very much worthwhile. My personal favourite is the 1993 film, one of my favourites as a child and is still an enchanting film now (and no this is not nostalgia talking, there has been a fair share of childhood favourites that hold up poorly now), to me it had more polish and heart.
In no way is that to knock this 1987 adaptation. It stands pretty well on its own enough, and there are some faithful moments and most of the characters are true to personality and how they evolve, but there are also some very odd deviations that do distract pretty badly (anybody looking for a completely faithful adaptation without strange deviations and additions should look elsewhere).
Two in particular stand out as either unnecessary or weird. The book-end scenes with the children as adults is the strongest example of the former, those scenes added absolutely nothing and felt very clunky and mawkish in writing. The same with the very ham-fisted message introduced here. The way Dickon's character is written is especially strange, in a way that really doesn't fit the character and jars with the setting.
Most of the acting is good, apart from the un-authentic accents. Faring weakest is perhaps Jadrien Steele, whose Colin is stiff in places and while the character is meant to be insufferable at first other adaptations did a better job in showing his change. Barret Oliver does quite well as Dickon but is disadvantaged by the way the character is written.
Visually, however, this 'Secret Garden' looks good, beautifully and atmospherically photographed that even an at times less than perfect transfer can't ruin, costumed with a lot of love and care and with scenery that's both charming and atmospheric. The music, with some haunting use of Chopin, fits remarkably well and doesn't feel tonally at odds at all.
Dialogue has a mostly natural flow and has the right amount of enchantment and mystery. The story has a lot of charm, and there is enough to leave one in awe and make one cry. The direction is above competent and the sound is crisp and clear, complementing the music and dialogue well.
Apart from reservations about Steele and to a lesser extent Oliver, the acting is fine. Gennie James gives a Mary that grows in character from spoilt and sullen to a happier and more caring character, displaying all those traits without being too sentimental or too irritating. Michael Hordern's Ben Weatherstaff is spot on, how lovely to see a character treated like a minor character in a couple of the other adaptations be a scene-stealer.
Billie Whitelaw is suitably beastly as Mrs Medlock, while giving her some humanity later on. Viewers seem more mixed on Derek Jacobi, to me his Lord Craven was suitably melancholic and mysterious. Martha was quite appealing too.
In summary, stands pretty well on its own but purists better look elsewhere. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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