Sarah Hollis Andrews stars as Mary Lennox, a lonely and spoiled girl who is sent to live with her uncle in the wake of her parents' death. In his dark and foreboding manor, her life is transformed by unexpected friendships... more » and a surprising, hidden fantasy world. Impeccably mounted, with a literate script and superb performances, this magnificent BBC production is among the most acclaimed adaptations of Frances Hodgson Burnett?s classic children?s novel that has captivated generations of readers.« less
"It is a pity that so many people are misled into buying the 1993 version or the Hallmark version of this book. The former is valuable as a study of wooden acting and unbelievable dialogue. The Hallmark version (as usual) just throws the book away--they can do it better. The 1949 version also "improves" on the book by turning it into a suspense-thriller in the first half and has all the characteristics of '40s movies--phony characters, phony dialogue and big stars.
This movie is for people who loved the book; and except for extremely minor flaws which most people will not notice, this movie brings the whole book to life perfectly. Nothing is left out. Sarah Hollis Andrews gives a stunning performance for one so young. None of the California accents of the Hallmark version or the East European characters of the 1993 version. This is Yorkshire and this is Francis Hodgson Burnett, not Agnieszka Holland.
There has been an abridged version on the market for years, cut to make it a full-length movie (100 minutes). This present version is twice that length. Even if you have the abridged version, buy this one and see what a difference those cuts make. The characters are even more sympathetic and more real, and there is time to deal more with all the other characters (the nurse, Dr. Craven, Mr. Craven, etc.) and more time for Mary Lennox and more interaction between Mary and Collin and Dickon.
In short, this movie is a treasure and every child above the age of 8 deserves to see this version. If you are a diehard and want to see the other versions, fine, or if you've already been suckered into buying them. But get this version. You'll never watch those other versions again. And your kids will have an experience to carry with them the rest of their lives. "
THE BEST VERSION OF ALL!!
Adorem | 07/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The oft-filmed Frances Hodgson Burnett novel The Secret Garden was restaged for BBC television in 1975 Sarah Hollis Andrews stars as the insufferable brat who is yanked from her home in India and sent to live with her emotionless uncle. She is humbled by her equally headstrong crippled cousin, and humanized by the gardener's son, who entreats her into his special fantasy world. As Andrews is taught the values of humility and generosity by "the secret garden," she simultaneously warms her uncle's cold heart. Not quite as elaborate as the famous 1949 MGM version, nor as accomplished as the 1993 Agnezia Holland-directed remake, this 1975 Secret Garden nonetheless has a charm of its own.
This was first shown here in the USA on PBS in 1976 on the PBS series ONCE UPON A CLASSIC that was hosted by Bill Bixby. I remember watching SECRET GARDEN for the 7 weeks it was shown on this series.
Watching this on DVD brought tears to my eyes because its such a wonderful version and, it brings me back 29 years ago when I first saw this.
Watch this one!
David H. Levinson | Berkeley, California United States | 04/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the version of The Secret Garden to watch! My eight year old daughter and I recently read the book together and loved it. (It was my first reading) We anxiously looked forward to seeing a filmed version, and the first one we saw was Agnieszeka Holland's 1997 version, as that was the only one available at our local library. We were both terribly dissappointed. Holland's version takes such liberties with the story as to sacrifice the true spirit, beauty and depth of the book. Yes, it is gorgeously filmed, but the cinematography (which includes some very tacky special effects such as sped up roots growing in soil) does not compensate for the slaughter of the story and characters. The garden itself is so fantastical as to make a mockery of its significance to the story.
This version is completely truthful to the book. The story is developed carefully and thouroughly, and presented in great detail. The characters are rich and reminded both my daughter and myself of how we had imagined them to be. The English countryside is faithfully portrayed as only the English know how. It is delightful to enjoy true Yorkshire accents which are an important theme in the book, even if they are sometimes difficult to understand for american ears. The garden is gentle and real. Yes there are some minor flaws (some lines are actually flubbed in a couple of the final episodes) but they are inconsequential. If you have taken the time to read the book, then by all means take the time to see this movie. You will be glad you did."
angel1801 | Adelaide, SA | 09/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got to see about three and a bit of the seven episodes when this series aired on ABC (our national TV and radio broadcaster in Australia) back in 1980 when I was 10 years old. Just from these bits I saw, I always wanted to see the episodes and bits I missed back then. I always felt this was the finest bit of children's TV programming I've ever seen on TV. Nothing since has ever come close to this. I't s a pity now children don't see things like this now. They now get dumb downed stuff that comes from multi-national corporations which is linked to junk food ads and constant merchandising.
I am so glad that the BBC decided to offer all seven episodes put back to back of this series after all these years. It was long overdue!"
The REAL Secret Garden!
Catherine Paulson | 12/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so glad to see this DVD finally released in the U.S. We watched this version of The Secret Garden in England in 1975 when it was produced for the BBC. We arranged our calendar around the excellent and accurate productions of the timeless children's classic books. BBC productions are known for their accurate portrayal of the author's intent. The Secret Garden did not disappoint. Each character was so carefully cast that we felt we were inside the book. Sarah Hollis Andrews IS Mary Lennox--in looks as well as demeanor. And Martha and Dickon and all the other characters are so perfectly cast. No detail is overlooked. The script is true to the book and the detail in the settings, the authentic accents in the speech, all are so perfect. I am always put off by movies that distort stories in order to add dramatic flair and romance, thinking the book wasn't strong enough in its own right. If you want to watch the Hallmark production or any of the others, do so, but see this one FIRST. You will be transported right into the pages of the book and you will live with the characters as they grow. The emotion you will feel will far surpass anything that can be wrought by the Hallmark version. This is a wonderful family film. If you have not read the book, I recommend that, also, unabridged, of course.
Seeing this released gives me hope that more of the BBC classics might come to DVD in the U.S. I am still waiting for their version of Carrie's War, A Little Princess, Heidi, all of which we saw come alive in the 1975 BBC television series."