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The Secret Garden (Hallmark Hall of Fame) (1987)

Gennie James , Barret Oliver , Alan Grint  |  PG |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

Price: $29.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000639G3
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,042 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Secret Garden (Hallmark Hall of Fame)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best version-keeps in character with the book November 24, 2003
By A Customer
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 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love it. Love It. LOVE IT!! August 4, 2003
By A Customer
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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Secret Garden! 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad for a change.... November 27, 2009
Below I compare and contrast the three color adaptations.

1. The 1975 adaptation BBC

This adaptation is very low budgeted, and it shows in the picture quality, which is painful even if you are used to BBC 4.3 aspect ratio films. This said, the film is quite good in every other way if loyalty in plot is important to you. For example, Mr. Archibald Craven is given a larger role in this adaptation than in the 1987 and 1993 adaptations. Furthermore, a considerably amount of the dialogue is taken directly from the novel. Therefore, this adaptation is much less 'sound bites' and allows for the development of Mary, Dickon, and Collin's characters.

The acting is also considerably better than the 1987 and 1993 adaptations. Unfortunately, with child actors of probably 10 or 11 years of age who have memorize a large amount of script, errors will be evident.

Yet, the 1975 adaptation is the best adaptation. It is neither too mystical (1993) nor too gothic (1987).

2. The 1987 adaptation Hallmark

Although I know many individuals despise this adaptation, I enjoyed it for a change. Yes, the acting is not perfect and the accents are horrible. Yes, the ending is pathetic and quite changed from the novel. Yes, Dickon (as an adult) dies in World War I. Yet, when one considers what the film was trying to achieve (i.e. change the theme from a children's story to a social critique of problems in society), it does an effective job. The film is a little too gothic (in the Victorian literature definition -i.e. 'ghosts' and long, dark corridors), yet I did not think the gothic harmed the story but rather created a sense of anticipation.

Again, if you want a loyal adaptation, I would urge the the 1975 adaptation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Gem from Halmark 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Version by far December 16, 2002
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as I remember
The acting of the children is not wonderful but it sticks close to the book. I like the little girl's interpretation of mean.
Published 13 days ago by Penny Arnoldy
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of my purchase of The Secret Garden.
I was really delighted to find this particular edition of this movie. This was the first one I viewed on TV several years ago and I fell in love with it. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Nancy H. Whatley
5.0 out of 5 stars The best movie version of The Secret Garden
This is my favorite movie adaptation of the book. I remember having a VHS copy many years ago and watching it often. I was so glad to find it on DVD!
Published 2 months ago by Sara
5.0 out of 5 stars I have loved this movie for years!
I have loved this movie since the first time I saw it as a kid. In my opinion this was the best version of this book that was made into a movie.
Published 4 months ago by susanlayton
5.0 out of 5 stars My childhood favorite =)
The Hallmark Hall of Fame version is my favorite childhood movie. I was surprised to find its still available! I bought it and watched it with my niece. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Filmed at Highclere Castle, Home of Downton Abbey
Classic children's tale with strong female child lead character. Beautiful scenery. Always a good story. Adults will enjoy as well. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Perkie Winkle
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic story told in typical Hallmark Hall of Fame style
I like this particular version of "The Secret Garden." I especially like the main character Mary, as portrayed by this actress. Mrs. Medlock is also well played. Read more
Published 6 months ago by An Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars great !
just like i was a little girl, a movie for all little girls and boys ! to be re discovered
Published 7 months ago by Arobase37
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my fondest childhood memories
This is the best version of the Secret Garden, in my opinion. I feel like all of the actors fit their parts perfectly, and I especially love the one that plays Dickon. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MeiLing
5.0 out of 5 stars My Granddaughter is hooked on "The Secret Garden Series"
I would recommend the book to anyone. My granddaughter loves each of the books even though the endings are somewhat different. Read more
Published 7 months ago by chin
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