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The Secret Garden (Hallmark Hall of Fame)


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Mary Lennox (Gennie James) is a spoiled young British girl orphaned by an Indian epidemic. She is sent to Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire to live with a distant relative, Archibald Craven (Derek Jacobi), and there she becomes obsessed with a secret, overgrown garden. With the help of a local boy, Dickon, the garden and everyone around them--including Craven and his frail son, Colin--come to life again. Filmed on location at scenic Highclere Castle in Newbury, this Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic won an Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program. Although it can't top the 1949 version with Margaret O'Brien (or Agnieszka Holland's 1993 version), younger viewers may prefer this more straightforward retelling, whereas adults are sure to appreciate the fine performances by Jacobi and Billie Whitelaw (Mrs. Medlock). Colin Firth (Bridget Jones's Diary) appears briefly as the adult Colin in this timeless, uplifting story for all ages. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Gennie James, Barret Oliver, Jadrien Steele, Michael Hordern, Billie Whitelaw
  • Directors: Alan Grint
  • Writers: Blanche Hanalis, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Producers: Norman Rosemont, Steve Lanning
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Hallmark
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2002
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000639G3
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,666 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Secret Garden (Hallmark Hall of Fame)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I have now seen two other versions of The Secret Garden, and this one (the first I ever saw) Remains my favorite. The reason is I have a couple problems with the other versions
In the old 1949 Edition, Mary wasn't portrayed correctly. She's supposed to be (at the beginning) a girl with an attitude (for lack of a better way to put it.) She's supposed to be completely emotionally unnafected by her parent's death (according to the book)as they had never attempted to spend time with her. In the old 1949 version, Mary has an emotional outburst upon learning of her parent's death. That is out of charachter. In this version, she's more concerned about the doll she dropped when she was told. Her attitude in this 1987 version seems more in charachter.
In the 1993 version I do not like the way they took the concept of "magic" and twisted it into a seance in the garden. That is extremely out of charachter with the book. When the book speaks of "Magic" it almost hints at miricles/the hand of God. This 1987 movie kept in charachter with that.
Basically, I think this version is truer to the mysterious (in a good way) tone of the book. the manor is beautiful! and the whole scenery is in charachter with the book. The only thing they contradicted the book in was having Mary and Colin not related. In the book they're cousins. But in this version they're unrelated, which is obviously because they have Mary and Colin getting married. The only thing I would change is the actors that played the two boys, Colin and Dicken. They were pretty good actors, but both were too old. Dickon should have been someone more Mary's age, and the actor that played Colin (although he has a sufficient baby face) reveals his real age at the end when he can stand up and walk. Way too tall.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
i've seen this movie at least 200 times since i was seven years old, and though i've had to purchase it more than once... i still love it! the beautifully romantic soundtrack gives you a soulful account of what's happening in the story, and the very talented director found some of the most talented actors that played their parts beautifully. it's a staple of my own film collection, and i hope everyone sees it at least once!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 2002
Format: DVD
I can't believe all the negative reviews this film has gotten. I grew up with the 1993 version and always found it pretty, but a little dull. I ran across this version by chance and was amazed at how much better it was. Sure, the 1993 version has more famous actors and a bigger budget, but it lacks the heart this one has. I loved Gennie James' portrayal, she gave Mary real spirit and it was great to see her character change so much throughout the movie. Dicken was also more as I had envisioned him in the book and Colin was just adorable. The scenery was beautiful and the story was a lot of fun. I didn't notice anything wrong with the acting,I thought the children acted as children are supposed to. As for the ending,it is surprising that she ended up with Colin, but only because in the other versions(and the book) they were first cousins. In this version, it's very in keeping with the story and you really couldn't see it happening any other way. It actually added a new level of enjoyment to the movie for me. So, if you want to see a cold, sterile, "artsy" secret garden, go with the 1993 version, if you want to see a great story that will warm your heart, try this one.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Barry Brooks on December 6, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is the only presentation of the Secret Garden that my wife will watch! We have watched all of the others and none are close to this one. The actress who plays the Mary Lenox is simply the best as she turns from vixen to princess.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Conlon on January 27, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
this was the first version of the secret garden that i saw, and personally, it's my favorite. the children really weren't as bad as most people claim, i'm sure if you're actually british, the accents probably won't sound perfect, but come on people. the girl in this version (as opposed to the wb one), i think did a much better job of being a snobby, obnoxious little brat. the boy playing colin was very irritating and whiney through most of the movie. that's the whole point. they're not supposed to be cute lovable little kids, they're terrors who gradually change through the movie. you're not meant to start out liking or pitying them. Barret Oliver (dickon) is one of my favorite actors(also bastien in neverending story), and the other versions just aren't the same without him. also, derek jacobi is excellent as the recluse father.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Schwartz on September 23, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is one of my favorite movies ever. This version tells the classic story beautifully. It's great to watch the transition Mary goes through of being grouchy and snobbish to optimistic and strong-willed. You get to see a similar transition with a number of other characters as well. All the while Dicken remains ever friendly with a slight mysterious edge as a creature of nature. Additionally, the use of Chopan's Nocturne in the soundtrack makes the emotion in this movie all the more powerful.
A caution though: the beginning might be too much for younger children. In India, Mary finds her parents and servant dead or dying and then her doll is taken away and burned in the fire. This is, however, the only part with such distresses.
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