The Secret Garden ( film) - Wikipedia
Nov 10, The nifty film version, now on video, starred Freddie adaptation, "The Secret Garden" (Republic Pictures Home Video, , color, Annie takes no guff, and a tenuous relationship between the two begins. Then. The Secret Garden is the Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-television film adaptation of the novel The Secret Garden, aired on CBS November 30, and. [End Page ] Morris Beja points out, "If narrative literature and film share, indeed by of The Secret Garden--the Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) film, the . familiarized female space of the home in relation to a close relative" ( ).
The Secret Garden's hidden depths
Distrust flourishes when Ben Weatherstaff discovers the children ever the unfortunate casualties of a patriarchal society in the garden and balefully warns them, "I can't tell thee what would happen if he [Archibald] finds thee here!
Later, against the background of a terrible thunderstorm, Dickon divulges that Weatherstaff has confided in him, and Lilias' death was indeed accidental. Despite being innocent, Archibald's character serves as the psychotic villain in this thriller. Alarming music usually foreshadows his scenes in the movie, and dramatic, low angle shots enlarge his stature. Seeking solace in alcohol, he vents his volatile emotions twice by deliberately destroying a decanter, which symbolizes his shattered life.
Hoping to start anew in Italy, the antagonist decides, much to the dismay of the children and those faithful to the text, to sell Misselthwaite. When a prospective buyer inadvertently alerts him of the garden's transformation, he stomps to the garden in a rage, wildly threatening to kill Weatherstaff and viciously pushing his niece aside as the raven crows, signifying danger.
His violent entrance prompts Colin Dean Stockwell --in this version's departure from the text--to walk for the first time, pitifully begging his father not to destroy the garden.
This scene, among others, depicts the common social limits repudiating father-son intimacy in both the novel's Edwardian time and the mid-twentieth-century period of this adaptation.
Lord Craven's reaction in this film to Colin's pathetic pleas and first steps is telling; although Archibald is moved, he can only muster a restrained embrace for his son and a charitable hug for his niece.
There are similarities between his response in the movie and his reaction in the text remembering that in Burnett's conclusion he is not threatening to destroy the garden and Colin has been walking for some time.
Craven put his hands on both the boy's shoulders and held him still. He knew he dared not even try to speak for a moment. There is no textual mention of an actual father-son hug, and Mary is a mere bystander. As equally acceptable in the postwar years as emotionally distant father-son relationships, are the patriarchal ideologies typical during this era. These are evident in the Wilcox's choice of props and composition.
For instance, a throne-like chair emphasizes Archibald's position as king of the castle. Moreover, the director stresses Lord Craven's dominance and enigmatic personality through two over-the-shoulder shots.
In his initial appearance in the movie, Archibald observes his niece walking to the gardens from a balcony; he dominates the right half of the screen as Mary seems ant-like below him. A later shot of their first meeting reinforces this image: Examples such as [End Page ] these--shots in which the male gaze predominates and the female figure seems defined for the spectator by the controlling male gaze--provide a virtual laboratory for feminist film critics, such as Doane, E.
Ann Kaplan, and Laura Mulvey, who study the classical and contemporary cinema's reaffirmation of conventional gender identification. Following another cinematic fashion of the time, the MGM adaptation promotes the developing opinion that parents were frequently responsible for their children's problems Rhode Wolf criticizes the Wilcox adaptation for its emphasis on psychology rather than magic.
She points out, "As psychology replaces magic, reason replaces wonder, and nothing in the movie convinces us that The Secret Garden is the marvelous place it is in the novel.
After World War II, the publication and increasing popularity of Freud's theories on dreams, for instance, were eventually manifest in the motion picture industry as a whole and are certainly evident in the psychological theme of the MGM production of The Secret Garden.
That is, the psychoanalytic message, only subtly implied in the novel, is overtly heard through two dialogues involving the consulting physician Dr. Fortescue George Zucco from London.
He claims, "I diagnosed this case accurately, I believe, when I met the father. Examining the child was a formality. The subsidiary theme that children are hostages to the hopes, decisions, and fears of their parents supports the adaptation's larger criticism of adulthood. Wilcox's production of Burnett's novel, like other films in the wake of the tragedies of World War II and the Cold War, supports the concept that childhood is superior to adulthood Rhode In this interpretation Mary dramatically declares, "There must be an awful lot we don't know.
I don't want to know. I don't want to grow up! It also implies, through a story Miss Lennox tells her cousin about the Secret Garden, that only children can see the beauty in the world. A mostly black-and-white movie, The Secret Garden vividly illustrates the romanticization of the child-as-visionary by interpolating [End Page ] color sequences when the children are happily alone in the garden, highlighting the dichotomy between the innocent hopefulness of youth and the jaded cynicism of adults.
Certainly, the MGM rendition is one in which the socially balanced and idealistically directed children are powerless against often emotionally enervated and passively manipulated adult authority. Similarly, Rosemont Productions' Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie of the children's classic shows children at the mercy of grown-ups; however, rather than stressing male dominance it accentuates female power.
Recognizing the empowerment of women since the contemporary feminist movement began during the sixties and the seventies, the Hallmark Hall of Fame's version is perhaps not surprising. Mounting inflation and unemployment, in part due to the energy crisis and an industrial slump, propelled even more women into the workforce. Unlike many of their mothers, who, when World War II ended, were no longer needed in the factories, and dutifully returned to the home, the women of the eighties and nineties were more likely to continue working when economic conditions improved: Society's grudging acceptance of the burgeoning women's movement and increasing feminist influence in the entertainment industry resulted in some productions prominently featuring women as capable and valuable for example, Sally Field's and Jessica Lange's roles in the farm films Places in the Heart and Country.
Nevertheless, the mass media, the conservative Reagan-Bush White House and the fundamentalist right collectively denigrated feminism in the eighties, contributing to the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment in Therefore, targeting a chiefly female television audience, 13 director Alan Grint tried to attract both feminists and more traditionally-minded women by conveying The Secret Garden as a sentimental romance updated to reflect progressive perspectives, as well.
Miss Lennox is unquestionably the controlling presence in this costume drama, evident in the added frame story: This is a deviation; in the novel they are cousins. For this interpretation, a more apropos title is When Mary Met Colin. As a girl, Mary saves Colin; as a woman, she marries him. This is a romance, though, of an independent woman of the eighties who has her own terms for courtship.
She refuses to respond to his written proposals while studying at Oxford and serving in France, demanding he propose in person in the Secret Garden before she answers. Just released from the hospital after being wounded by shrapnel, he arrives using a cane and limps to her.
Upon her acceptance of his offer, he no longer needs the cane. Its later absence and the patient-nurse symbolism confirm her prepotency. Besides having a career and a private life, Miss Lennox, like so many women during the eighties, takes responsibility for nurturing loved ones, too.
Dickon Barret Oliver tells her, "Colin will find his way and you'll be the one who helps him find it. The way will come to you" The Secret Garden, dir. Later, the young man does walk, but only through her encouragement does he attain the courage to walk to his father. Her significance complements the other strong female characterizations in this adaptation.
Craven--which accentuates a woman's role as necessary caregiver and nurturer Bixler, Frances Grint's film characterizes Mrs. Medlock Billie Whitelaw as a kind but firm caregiver, unlike the novel and other productions of The Secret Garden. Grint's Medlock uses child psychology, redecorates Mary's room, and offers to take her shopping.
She is a busy working woman who has her charge's best interests at heart; for example, the housekeeper wants to get the girl a governess because she is lonely. In the conclusion, the heroine describes Medlock as loving and compassionate.
Sensitive to an ever-growing audience of working women who believe their careers do not prevent them from being successful mothers, Grint tries to appease feminists. Nevertheless, he does not neglect the traditional viewer. He strengthens the importance of two other maternal figures, Susan Sowerby Pat Heywood and the late Mrs.
Sowerby appears briefly in Grint's film, her supportive presence is more keenly felt than in the other American versions. True to the text, her [End Page ] cogent letter to Mr.
Craven hastens his return to Misselthwaite and his son. Albeit spiritual, Lilias' influence is equally medicinal, especially for her son.
Colin practices walking alone at night, his mother's portrait giving him strength and willpower. By including two mothers who are essentially housewives making important contributions, Grint composes a balanced female cast that replicates the diversity in choices--professional and domestic--available to women during the eighties. Moreover, his film seems to anticipate and voice the incipient public dissatisfaction with conservatism that facilitated the election of liberal-minded Bill Clinton.
To attract further his largely female audience, Grint follows Burnett's example and saturates his story with romance. Rustic scenery and yards of lace underline the tender tone of his film. Soft focus backgrounds of shimmering lakes, woodland paths, and of course, the blooming Secret Garden fuel the warm ambiance. He reinforces the bucolic setting of Highclere Castle, the consummate English country house, with Victorian props: Likewise, the characters' costumes emphasize a romantic motif concurrent with the onset of the vogue to Victoriana.
Colin sports a gray silk bathrobe that resembles a luxurious smoking jacket. Although these cinematic devices are somewhat subtle, Grint's interpretation of Burnett's novel is direct in other respects.
Embracing the sexual undertones of the work, he initially creates an adolescent love story for Miss Mary and Master Colin. Grint incorporates pieces of girlish fantasies into his movie, making the couple's ardor apparent. Smitten young Colin who seems even needier in this production than in the novel begs the object of his affection to read poetry to him, wants to attend the same school to avoid the pain of separation, and gives her a heart-shaped locket.
Their costumes in this last scene--he in a formal gray suit and tie and she in a lacy white cape and matching dress--are nearly matrimonial. She swears to wear the locket always, despite her earlier attempts to play hard-to-get while communicating her desire through sidelong glances and other flirtations.
The later adult love story framing Grint's interpretation is equally syrupy, the politics of romance and sentimentality clearly replacing the politics of realism and sexuality.
Even so, this romantic conclusion might be an attempt to provide the women in the audience who fondly remember the book from their childhoods further [End Page ] sentimental satisfaction by resolving Burnett's proto-romantic triangle among an aristocratic, rich boy, an orphan girl, and a noble savage. Although Grint's interpretation centers on romance and illustrates the dynamic cultural tenets of women, it does not exclude the corresponding change in men.
In sharp contrast to the characterization of the same man in the MGM production of The Secret Garden, the Archibald in the Hallmark Hall of Fame version, while still a dominant and sometimes frightening figure, seems more accepting of his emotional vulnerability and nurturing capacity.
He appears genuinely interested in Mary's well-being: Visibly moved by her love of gardens a painful reminder of his late wifehe is willing to acknowledge his feelings. Indeed, unlike the father in the MGM version, on another occasion he even relinquishes complete control, hugging his son and crying with joy when Colin demonstrates his ability to walk.
Yet, Lord Craven's reaction is ephemeral: This scene, compared to the conclusion of the novel and the MGM film, evinces a detectable change in Mary's status: Archibald seems to welcome her, taking her by the hand as he admires the garden. Her significance is evident; in a tableau of the trio, she is in the center. In spite of this improvement, Mary ultimately finds complete acceptance into the Craven family in Grint's version by agreeing to marry Colin. The budding progress, however, toward societal approval of empowerment for women and demonstrative affection from men is noticeable in this television movie.
Whilst the Hallmark Hall of Fame television adaptation validates the personal, professional, domestic, and emotional reality of many American men and women, the Warner Brothers American Zoetrope film of The Secret Garden focuses on the ecumenical, everyday existence of countless children. In the six-year period between these two productions, the public began to worry that the increasing economic necessity and greater societal materialism requiring dual incomes in one family exacted an altogether too-costly social price upon children.
Higher rates of juvenile crime and numerous stories of abandoned children, perhaps part of a larger social-control measure attempting to frighten women out of the workforce and back into the home, prompted a new Hollywood film fashion: Though some of these films, including Dennis the MenaceThe Adventures of Huckleberry FinnFree Willyand King of [End Page ] the Hilldeal with children's desolation in a comical manner and others handle the neglect more dolorously, the collective purpose is unmistakable--to call contemporary parents home to their children.
Likewise, director Agnieszka Holland's adaptation of Burnett's classic novel concentrates on Mary's and Colin's forlornness. She solves the potentially complicated dilemma of how to inject her motion picture with dreaded indignity and likely transformation by utilizing a genre born of her European tradition--the fairy tale.
There are, however, more definitive elements than lost children and a happy ending establishing Holland's version as a fairy tale. She imbues her story, as the author and the genre do, with memorable magic. More than once in Holland's film, the natural world changes the heroine's life remarkably.
The Secret Garden (TV Movie ) - IMDb
Unlike the text and the other two American films, an earthquake--not a cholera epidemic--orphans Mary Kate Maberly. The helpful robin, at Mary's polite request, dutifully shows her the door to the Secret Garden compare the Hallmark Hall of Fame rendition, in which Mary discovers the door herself.
And of course, the garden transforms not only her, but others as well. A brilliant establishing shot immediately alerts the audience to the garden's enchantment: Preternatural events, another attribute of fairy tales, also occur in Holland's rendition. Amidst dead, swirling leaves, the garden swing--the instrument of Lilias' Irene Jacob fatal fall in this interpretation--rocks mysteriously, as though her apparition watches over the sanctuary.
True to the text, her spirit summons her husband to Misselthwaite and his son, but in Holland's interpretation this occurs after the children perform a bewitching druid ritual, chanting incantations to call Lord Craven John Lynch home. Holland's departures from the text heighten the distinctive magical elements in this adaptation. Furthering the film's magical motif, she visually and verbally depicts Misselthwaite as an enchanted castle.
Again, she communicates volumes with a brief but accomplished establishing shot of the manor implicative of a classic fairy-tale palace: As Mary wanders through a cobwebbed and vine-and-pigeon invaded wing of the massive home, she [End Page ] tells the audience, "The house was dead, like a spell had been cast upon it" The Secret Garden, dir.
The cursed atmosphere of the mansion supports the more pervasive hex hovering over the inhabitants. Holland elucidates immediately in the prologue the effects that the dreadful curse of parental neglect inflicts upon children with Miss Lennox's forthright, narrational confession of her inability to cry, imputable to the lack of emotional bonding with her self-absorbed, social-climbing parents.
The director continues the theme of the heroine's alienation by including some incisive nonverbal images, such as Mary sleeping while pitifully clutching an ivory elephant that belonged to her mother. Her sad predicament is also evident in an emblematic dream sequence borrowed from fairy-tale tradition: She dreams that she is a toddler again, following her mother Irene Jacob--in this film Mary's mother and Lilias are twin sisters through a jungle.
Her mother calls to her and blithely runs away, as unreachable as ever, leaving her sobbing in the jungle. Ingeniously, Holland symbolizes what the other versions merely mention and the text states--that Mary is alone and suffering in the world. Burnett insinuates that Colin's illness is a result of his embittered father's inattentiveness, and Holland verbalizes this suggestion. At one point in the movie, Colin petulantly declares to his cousin, "I'll die because he doesn't like me" The Secret Garden, dir.
Afterwards, through a dialogue between Mary and Martha Laura CrossleyHolland announces Lord Craven's fear of intimacy since the source of his unresponsiveness to his son is the traumatic death of his wife.
Rich in subtle psychology, Holland's adaptation of The Secret Garden employs even more cinematic devices to draw attention to the children's plight. She adeptly uses composition to accentuate her theme of abandonment. Just as Mira Nair, in Salaam Bombayends her film about street children in Bombay with a close-up of an abandoned child--here also, frequent close-ups of the two neglected youngsters accent the intensity of their situations.
Likewise, high angle shots emphasize their smallness and vulnerability. Achieving a similar effect, Holland often dwarfs little Mary by placing her in a huge, ornate bed or against the background of the enormous house. Furthermore, by situating characters far apart within the frame, Holland indicates emotional distance in relationships. Agnieszka Hollandthe housekeeper walks ten paces ahead of the numbered orphan to their carriage--the tag prominently displaying Mary's number making her seem like a piece of goods, a commodity that might be alternatively bought and claimed, or sold and rejected.
In addition to composition, Holland relies on imagery and lighting to underscore the trauma and recovery of the two abandoned rich children. Delineating the healing effects of the garden, she shoots the first half of the film in wintry desolate imagery, followed by spring-like floral imagery as the children begin to find happiness. Similarly, the sun comes out midway through the movie as Mary and Colin enjoy nature and experience camaraderie, eradicating the dark gloominess evident in earlier scenes.
Undoubtedly one of the brightest moments in Holland's interpretation, however, is Archibald's poignant rediscovery of his son and the reunification of the expanded family. Slowly, she begins to interact with the seasons, the dirt, and the flowers — as well as the stories of people who love this landscape, including Ben, the groundskeeper, and Dickon, Martha's brother.
For Mary, it's not a benefactor or romantic love that catalyses her growth. Rather, she learns to take care of herself, to experience un-lonely solitude in the natural landscape.
She keeps company with local eccentrics from across the social spectrum, and begins to enjoy the movement of her body; her transformation begins when she learns to jump rope. Meanwhile, the book's tackling of disability and the life of "invalids" is at once intriguing and troubling. Most notable is the depiction of Colin Craven, a cousin of Mary's even more unpleasant than she is. After his mother died giving birth to him, his father, the master of Misselthwaite, left his son to be hidden in the house.
He grows up to be an angry, self-loathing boy who unnerves the servants and has a neurotic fear of becoming a hunchback. While Mary is the protagonist, her story is paralleled in Colin's.
Indeed, one of the book's strangest features is that it is the two most wounded and unlikable characters who do the most to heal one another. The moral guidance of kindly adults doesn't have much to do with it. The secret garden is a catalyst for healing in the characters who see it, and with Colin the effect is literal. Unable to walk when we meet him, he discovers in the garden that he can stand. He secretly practises until he is able to shock his father by getting out his wheelchair and walking.
The Secret Garden
With Colin, it's apparent from the start that his disability is psychological, rooted in a loveless childhood. But it's not surprising that Burnett's notion of cures is informed by Christian Science.
The philosophy is plain in the text: In context of a larger literature that has relatively few complex characters with disabilities, the diagnosis of "it's all in his head" feels disappointing. The history of the novel's reception is as strange as the text. While The Secret Garden is now catalogued as children's literature, it was originally serialised in a magazine for adults before being published in its entirety in