The Secret Garden (1993)
‘Can I have a bit of earth?’
The Secret Garden is an adaptation based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett book of the same name. It is about a little girl called Mary (Kate Maberly) who gets sent to her uncle’s manor in North of England from India after her parents died. While at her uncle’s manor, she makes friends with an ill boy called Colin (Heydon Prowse) and her maid’s younger brother called Dickon (Andrew Knott) and discovers a secret garden that hadn’t been unlocked in years.
I read the original novel many years ago and I remember reading it several times and liking it because you felt as if you went to the manor and garden with Mary and her friends. Certainly, watching it recently brought me back to the daily multiple viewings of it. For some reason, it left me really wanting to live in a manor/mansion. It is also the sort of film that anyone could watch, whether you are a child or an adult.
I wouldn’t exactly call this a guilty pleasure to watch because it is one of the only films that has stayed with me since I was younger and it hasn’t really changed very much. I like how Mary changes and she learns to behave and respect other people although she is presented as being rather spoiled and bratty. It was set shortly before the war so perhaps they are all caught up in a world of dreams before the war struck.
The cast is good. Maggie Smith, who plays Mrs Medlock, is an incredible actress who has been in nearly everything and the actors who played the children were also brilliant. Andrew Knott later went on to play one of the students in the movie ‘The History Boys’. If only I had some unlocked doors leading to a secret garden in my garden and although Colin is meant to be ill, he’s a bit of a drama queen.
Somewhat magical, good cast and a successful adaptation of an interesting book.