The Secret Garden (1949 film)
|The Secret Garden|
1970 re-release poster
|Directed by||Fred M. Wilcox|
|Produced by||Clarence Brown|
|Screenplay by||Robert Ardrey|
|Based on||The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
|Music by||Bronislau Kaper (composer)
André Previn (direction/supervision)
|Edited by||Robert J. Kern|
|Distributed by||Loew's Inc.|
The Secret Garden is a 1949 US drama film. It is the second screen adaptation of the classic 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett (the first adaption was a silent version filmed in 1919) which starred Lila Lee and Spottiswoode Aitken. The screenplay by Robert Ardrey was directed by Fred M. Wilcox. It centers on a young orphan who is thrust into the dark and mysterious lives of her widowed uncle and his crippled son when she comes to live with them in their isolated country house in Yorkshire, England. A 1987 Hallmark Hall of Fame TV film, The Secret Garden starred Gennie James and Jadrien Steele. A later adaptation The Secret Garden was made starring Kate Maberly and Heydon Prowse.
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer picture was filmed primarily in black-and-white, with the sequences set in the restored garden of the title filmed in Technicolor. The movie was Margaret O'Brien's final film for MGM.
When tempestuous Mary Lennox (Margaret O'Brien), born in India to wealthy parents, is orphaned by a cholera epidemic, she is sent to live with her reclusive and embittered Uncle Archibald Craven (Herbert Marshall) and her ill-behaved, bedridden cousin Colin (Dean Stockwell) at their desolate and decaying estate known as Misselthwaite Manor. Dickon (Brian Roper), the brother of one of the house maids, tells her of a garden secreted behind a hidden door in a vine-covered wall. When a raven unearths the key, the two enter and discover the garden is overgrown from neglect since Craven's wife died there in an accident. They decide to keep their discovery a secret, and begin to restore it to its original grandeur. Under the influence of the Secret Garden, Mary becomes less self-absorbed, Colin's health steadily improves, and Archibald's curmudgeonly personality fades away.
- Margaret O'Brien as Mary Lennox
- Herbert Marshall as Archibald Craven
- Dean Stockwell as Colin Craven
- Brian Roper as Dickon
- Gladys Cooper as Mrs. Medlock
- Elsa Lanchester as Martha
- Reginald Owen as Ben Weatherstaff
- Isobel Elsom as Governess
- Aubrey Mather as Dr. Griddlestone
- George Zucco as Dr. Fortescue
- Lowell Gilmore as British Officer
- Billy Bevan as Barney
- Dennis Hoey as Mr. Pitcher
- Matthew Boulton as Mr. Bromley (as Mathew Boulton)
- Norma Varden as Nurse
- Marni Nixon as singing voice of Mary Lennox
- Kathryn Beaumont as Muriel
- Leonard Carey as Charles, the Butler
According to MGM records the film earned $610,000 in the US and Canada and $383,000 overseas resulting in a loss of $848,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Variety film review; April 27, 1949, page 11.
- Harrison's Reports film review; April 23, 1949, page 66.
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