The Secret Garden is a yarn about kids and superficially, it would appear designed to entice them. Yet the allegorical and psychological implications that have been carried over from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book are clearly for the grown-up trade.
Margaret O’Brien is an orphan come to live with her uncle (Herbert Marshall). His wife died 10 years earlier and he has turned against the world in bitterness. He has a son (Dean Stockwell) who suffers from a paralysis of the legs and whom he keeps in bed.
Among Marshall’s quirks is a phobia about anyone going into the garden. He keeps it locked until O’Brien finds a key and, with the aid of a neighbor boy (Brian Roper), secretly nurtures the neglected flowers and plants back to beauty.
The production throughout is on a lavish scale. Unfortunately, the performances do not equal it.