The Secret Garden (1987 film)

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For other uses, see Secret Garden (disambiguation).
The Secret Garden
Directed by Alan Grint
Produced by Steve Lanning
Based on The Secret Garden 
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Starring Gennie James
Barret Oliver
Jadrien Steele
Billie Whitelaw
Derek Jacobi
Alison Doody
Colin Firth
Music by John Cameron
Rosemont Productions Limited
Hallmark Hall of Fame
Distributed by CBS
Release date(s)
  • November 30, 1987 (1987-11-30) (Television debut)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Secret Garden is the 1987 Hallmark Hall of Fame TV film adaptation of the novel The Secret Garden, aired on CBS November 30, 1987 and produced by Rosemont Productions Limited, who also produced Back to the Secret Garden. The movie starred Barret Oliver, Jadrien Steele, Billie Whitelaw and Sir Derek Jacobi.


This version of The Secret Garden is very different from others. The story is told as a flashback of the adult Mary returning to Misselthwaite Manor after World War I. She looks for the key to the secret garden, but doesn't find it, so she sits down and remembers her childhood. The main story begins in colonial India where the young spoiled, rotten Mary Lennox is played by Gennie James. One morning she awakes to find her servants not answering and her parents having a late dinner party. She goes back to bed and reads a story to her doll. A few hours pass after she goes and eats some of the food that was leftover and drinks wine. Her parents soon die of cholera. She is soon sent to live with a friend of the family named Mr. Craven (played by Derek Jacobi) who feels obligated to take care of Mary.

While adjusting to life in England, Mary meets the maid Martha (played by Cassie Stuart) who encourages her to go outside. She plays outside by herself but also meets Martha's brother Dickon (played by Barret Oliver), who can talk to animals. At first Mary rejects him as a friend, but then she learns about the secret garden from Martha; it is a walled garden that was locked up after Mr. Craven's wife died. After Mary discovers the key and the door to the garden, she asks Martha for gardening tools, and Dickon comes to deliver them. Mary lets him in on the secret and they work to revive the garden together.

Meanwhile in the house, Mary becomes alarmed by sounds of crying that she hears at night. One night she goes exploring and meets Colin (played by Jadrien Steele). The two become fast friends, and she helps him to stop thinking that he will die. Colin believes he will have a lump on his back like his father, and he has stayed shut up in his room for years. Eventually Mary tells him about his mother’s garden and how she has been inside but that he mustn’t tell anyone about it. Dickon visits with his animals, then they take Colin to the garden secretly. They are all friends, although Colin seems to have a special crush on Mary. The gardener Ben Weatherstaff discovers the kids inside the garden by standing on a ladder at the wall. Colin tries to stand up when Ben thinks he is a cripple, and all are amazed. Ben offers to help revive the garden as well, and Colin tries to learn to stand and walk by himself.

Far away, Mr. Craven dreams about his late wife Lillias. After a letter from Susan Sowerby, Martha's and Dickon's mother, Mr. Craven decides to return home at last.Back in the garden,Colin tells Dickon that he is glad that he become his friend and asks him if he will always be his friend,then Dickon replies "We'll be parted,you and me,but remembrance will keep us friends".Later on, Mr Craven arrives and he discovers Mary and Colin in the garden. Mary encourages Colin to stand. He walks to his father and they hug. Colin says he is well now and will live forever.

When the adult Mary finishes remembering her childhood, Ben Weatherstaff greets her and gives her the key to the secret garden. They discuss what happened to Dickon, who died in the war, at the Forest of Argonne. Then the adult Colin (played by Colin Firth) enters the garden, having been wounded and released from the hospital. He says he has asked Mary to marry him before, but she never answered him. She says she wanted him to ask her "in our garden", so he proposes marriage again to Mary and she accepts.


Filming Locations[edit]

Highclere Castle was used for interior and exterior settings of Misslethwaite Manor.


The film uses Chopin's Nocturne no. 19 as its main theme.

External links[edit]