The enchanting classic about a young girl who brings an English country house's garden - and the people it touches - magically back to life. Maggie Smith and John Lynch star. Year: 1993DVD Features: — Interactive Menus — Pro... more »duction Notes
Theatrical Trailer:Three theatrical trailers« less
After losing her self-indulging parents in an earthquake, a bitter young girl named Mary Lennox is sent to live in England with her reclusive uncle. Eventually she discovers her bedridden cousin and a 'secret garden' that once belonged to her deceased aunt. With the help of her cousin, the kindly Dickon, and a little 'magic', can Mary find a way to bring love back to her family?
Jamie H. from CANDLER, NC Reviewed on 8/10/2009...
This is such a great movie. I love this movie. I own it and it is a great Childrens movie.
Aimee M. (AimeeM) Reviewed on 2/4/2008...
This is a good version. Well acted, and wonderful scenery.
Although it does deviate a bit from the book in some details, I found the alterations made the story more believable.
For example: Mary finds the key in a jewelry box in her Aunt's room, whereas in the book she randomly finds it buried in all the vast acres of her Uncle's land.
In the movie her parents die in an earthquake, which she survived by hiding under a bed . In the book it was disease which somehow killed off everyone in the night except her.
All in all, I like this movie. It is entertaining for the evening.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Superior acting and a great ending!
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 08/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After watching the 1987 version, I was very disappointed with the acting and decided to definitely watch the 1993 production. The acting is superior and the setting more realistic. If someone could take the best qualities of both movies and put them into one, to me that would be the perfect Secret Garden movie.
The 1987 version taught lessons more easily to younger children, while this newer one will be enjoyed more by older children and adults. Colin's father (played by John Lynch) is a much more human portrayal. We can truly empathize with his sorrow and Colin's need to have his father in his life.
Mary Lenox was also played in a more serious light by Kate Maberley. She portrayed her character extremely well. Her story begins in India and we learn she is emotionally neglected, yet spoiled and physically well taken care of. She loses her parents in a massive earthquake. (In the 1987 film it is a plague.)
Since she can no longer stay in India, she is literally shipped off to her uncle. As she enters the monstrosity of a castle, we feel she is doomed to be neglected, hated and locked away. Even Mrs. Medlock (the housekeeper played by Maggie Smith) is not impressed or sympathetic. Mary is told "not to go wandering and poking about." Mary's natural curiosity compels her to discover a way out of her room and soon she finds secret doors, staircases, rooms and gardens.
At first Martha (a maid) is her only friend, then she soon learns to like Martha's brother Dikon. He shares her love of gardening. Martha and Dikon seem to be the only truly happy characters for the entire first half of the movie. All the actors have wonderful accents and reveal the positive and negative aspects of each character.
When Mary meets Colin, she has in fact met her match. He is her cousin who is bedridden, spoiled and annoying! His hysterical screeching makes him most unlovable. Mary shows Colin that nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it. She also says something profoundly beautiful at the end of the story.
I found the magic spell casting in this version a bit intense in comparison to the 1987 version, where dancing around the fire was a fun time. There is something about the 1987 version which I think appeals more to children, as the characters seem to have a bit more fun overall. This 1993 version has a much better ending. I recommend this version for those who want a high-quality movie, and the 1987 version for those who can overlook the acting. I think there is something to be learned from both movies.
~The Rebecca Review"
High visual impact; Superb Soundtrack; Great story
Jerry Wilson | Indianapolis, Indiana USA | 07/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Secret Garden is my all time favorite film of its genre. It's a family film, but it is not just for kids. The story is simple enough for children to understand, yet complex enough to keep adults interested. One of the aspects of the film I like best is the cinematography. It is visually striking, and the direction was excellent. I can't say enough about the emotions evoked by the visual excellence of this film.The acting was superior, especially Kate Maberly's portrayal of Mary Lennox. But all the actors did a superb job. They were very believable. The sound track is also superior. The haunting melody of "Winter Light" graced many of the outdoor scenes. Sung by Linda Ronstadt as the closing theme, it remains one of my favorite musical compositions. The interplay of the background music with the film's stunning visual beauty makes this movie a true work of art.When the movie first came out in theaters, I took my 8-year-old daughter to see it. She liked it fine, but I fell in love with it and have been in love with the film ever since. I'm a man in my late 40s and I'm not ashamed in the least to admit that I simply adore this enchanting family film. From its intriguing beginning to its highly emotional end, the film is perfect. Enough said."
Not just for kids, and not just for girls...
R. M. Fisher | New Zealand = Middle Earth! | 12/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Secret Garden is without a doubt in my list of top five movies, and will doubtless remain there for the rest of my life. Why it was never a big box-office hit baffles me, as it is nearly perfect in every particular. Adults are just as able to enjoy this movie as their children are (or perhaps even more so!) and though the main character is a girl, the presence of two back-up male characters make this accessible to the reluctant boys.Mary Lennox is a spoilt, bitter ten-year old girl living in India with her neglectful parents. After an earthquake leaves her an orphan however, she is shipped to Misselthwaite Manor, the cold, gloomy home of her uncle, still grieving over the death of his wife (Mary's mother's twin sister). There she is put in to the care of the strict housekeeper Mrs Medlock (admirably preformed by Maggie Smith) and warned not to go poking about in the endless corridors and passageways of the house. However, Mary is used to doing exactly as she pleases, and with the dual finding of a secret passage in her bedroom and the friendship of the cheerful, sweet maid Martha, Mary is soon roaming the grounds of the estate. There she meets Martha's younger brother, the kind-hearted country boy Dickon who can speak to animals and a red-breasted robin that reveals to her a garden hidden behind a wall of ivy...a secret garden.
Untangling the mystery of why this sad and beautiful garden is locked away takes Mary back to the tragic past of the house and her uncle - to when her aunt Lilias fell of a swing in the garden just before she gave birth and died, leaving Lord Archibald Craven a broken man, who cannot stand the sight of the Spring, the garden, or his son.
This son, Colin Craven is who Mary discovers one night after following the sound of his wailing. Colin is convinced he is going to become a hunchback like his father and die, but with the opening of the secret garden and its rebirth under the care of the three children means that his health gradually restores. Now all the children want is to bring his father home for similar healing, and the only way to do it seems to be to call on magical forces...The three child actors are truely wonderful - Kate Maberly manages to make a spoilt young girl into a likeable, even relatable character and her transformation from a child who couldn't cry even at her parent's deaths to one that breaks down when she witnesses her uncle and his son walk off without her is beautifully created.
Heydon Prowse as the impatient, ungrateful Master Colin is another child starved of love, but his obession with death, germs and diseases means he is suffering more in the mind than in body. His frequent fits (or temper tantrums, more likely) means that his mother's garden (that definitly still holds his mother's spirit) can help him also make the change from unloveable and sickly to healthy and strong young boy.
However, special credit must be given to Andrew Knott as Dickon Sowerby, who brings a warmth, kindness and mischieviousness to his character that brings joy to the entire movie. He is one of the few 'good-guys' from the very beginning, and in a way the 'Samwise Gamgee' of the movie, not just because he is a kind-hearted simple gardener, but because he is the over-looked hero that ultimately saves the day by just being himself. The fact that the last scene of the movie is of Dickon travelling across the moor on his white pony is a testimony to this.
The adult cast also hold up nicely, from Martha to Mrs Medlock, to Ben Weatherstaff to Lord Craven himself. Even the actress that plays both Lilias and Mary's mother has some beautiful scenes, the most poignant being her reaching out to Mary in her dreams, and Lilias's spirit calling to Lord Craven: "I'm in the garden! With Colin!" Each performance is outstanding work. The photography, directing and set design of the movie is also beautiful and it boasts a lovely, haunting musical score that includes the song 'Winter Light' that has also become one of my favourites. There are themes galore within the movie whether it be the turn of the seasons, the difference between the restrictions of the upper class and the freedom of the lower class, the relationships between various parents and their children, the joy and furfullment that can be found from simple pleasures, and even life triumphing over death. I even picked up on a subtle love triangle - the scene with Dickon and Mary on the swing together while Colin watches from behind the camera is an intriging one - I kinda wish that the film-makers had developed this plot thread further.All in all, this movie has my absolute highest rating, and is as close to a perfect movie you can possibly get. Watch it, no matter who you are or what age you are."
Wonderful film about two kids coming to life
R. M. Fisher | 04/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1993, I first saw the film "The Secret Garden", and loved it. I have the video today and whenever I look at it or think about it, it still thrills me.This film stars Kate Maberley as Mary Lennox, a girl about ten years old who lives in India. Sadly, Mary is neglected by her parents and spoiled by the servants who look after her. But things change when she loses her parents in an earthquake (not to cholera, as in the original book. I suspect they made the change because there's more drama in an earthquake than in a cholera epidemic).As a result, she has to go to England, where her uncle, Lord Craven, lives. But he's miserable because he lost his wife due to premature childbirth (she fell off a swing in her garden and it triggered the birth of her son, Colin). He locked up the garden and neglected Colin in sheer grief. Mrs. Medlock, trying to maintain order in the household, urges Mary not to go poking about. But sure enough, Mary does, finding first the key to the secret garden, then the garden itself, then Colin. And as she does so, both she and Colin begin to come alive, aided by Dickon, the brother of the Yorkshire servant, Martha.I especially loved two things about the movie: the music and the actors. The music was beautiful, especially the music associated with the garden. It made me appreciate the beauty of nature and of the garden, especially when the garden came alive.As for the actors, they were all excellent, especially the children. Kate, Heydon Prowse (Colin), and Andrew Knotts (Dickon) all looked like real children in a real situation. And both Kate and Heydon portrayed their characters' unlovable traits very well without forfeiting my affection for them. Also, John Lynch was fine as Lord Craven, and Maggie Smith was excellent as Mrs. Medlock, who may have seemed bad, but who was simply acting out of good, if misguided, intentions. Still, I wanted to tell her that Colin's legs were swollen and red because he was getting better, not because he was getting worse!The film doesn't have a whole lot of action, which is just fine for the film because the film probably would be hurt by a lot of action. But if you don't like films which take their time and create a great mood, don't see this film. If you do like films which take their time to create the appropriate mood, see The Secret Garden. You won't regret it!Belle Book"
Beautiful, reverent, awe-inspiring...
Dirk | Warren, Ohio | 02/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To be honest, I remember seeing previews of this movie way back when it came out (in 1993) and thinking to myself, "WHY would anyone want to see such a film; more importantly, WHY would anyone make it?" Well, about five years later it appeared on TV one night when I was bored. I decided to give it a try, fully expecting to turn it off within 20 minutes or so. WOW -- was I ever wrong!What I saw was beautiful and captivating, artistic and entrancing -- film-making of the highest order. "The Secret Garden" is a movie of such high artistic quality that it ranks up there with the hallowed "Apocalypse Now" (although, of course, these two flicks inhabit two opposite ends of the thematic spectrum). It's no wonder that Francis Ford Coppola had his hand in both of these pics -- he was the director of "Apocalypse Now" (duh) and the executive producer of "The Secret Garden."Anyway, the cinematography is breathtaking and the music is wondrously outstanding. To be brief, the story's about a young spoilied English girl, orphaned in India, who comes home to live on her uncle's vast estate in the early 1900's. The girl, Mary, finds herself trapped in a mysterious, colossal manor -- almost a castle -- tyranically managed by a life-stifling witch, Mrs. Medlock, in the frequent absence of her uncle, Lord Cravin. Because Mary is highly intelligent, independant and sly she is easily able to reconnoiter the manor and learn its forbidding secrets. The biggest secret is that her aunt died in childbirth about ten years before, but her son, Colin, still lives there, albeit confined to a bed, sickly and unable to walk. Her uncle evidently never healed from this heartbreak and this explains his frequent absences.Mary finds a secret garden in her explorations, a hidden garden closed up and neglected since her aunt's death. After meeting the sickly and sad Colin, Mary inevitably finds a way to sneak him into the beautiful garden along with her pal Dickon. She instinctively senses that Colin isn't as sick as everyone is convinced he is; she knows the best thing for Colin would be to get him out of the dreary castle and the oppressive clutches of Mrs. Medlock. Mary and her secret garden are the keys to restoring health, life and freedom to Colin, Lord Cravin and the gloomy manor."The Secret Garden" is kind of a 1990's version of the outstanding "Pollyanna" with Hayley Mills (1960). Both pics involve a young girl restoring a spirit of joy and liberty to a lifeless community. The difference is that Mary is not even remotely the "glad girl" that Pollyanna is. (In fact, look for the hilarious line from the old man gardener who responds to Mary's puzzlement concerning her lack of friends)."The Secret Garden" is no doubt labled a "children's film;" this is a shame because it so transcends such a limiting category. It is a beautiful work of wonder and deep mystery which can be enjoyed by people of all ages -- children and adults. SEE IT!"