Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s classic The Secret Garden has been adapted into several films, television series and even a Broadway musical. Like Little Women, every generation is entitled to its own version. Producer Rosie Alison of Heyday Films (the shop behind the Paddington movies) had been enchanted by the 1911 novel as a child and the 1949 MGM version with Margaret O’Brien. She was certain that it held an appeal for modern children, who perhaps didn’t have to reach back too far for a connection to the material — a generation who grew up with Agnieszka Holland’s 1993 version are also now grown with children of their own.
“It’s such a beautiful, redemptive fable,” she said. “It’s about damaged, slightly misfit children who are lonely and find friendship in nature. Parents think they’ll be bored, but I find that a lot of kids really get into it.” Like so many films during the pandemic, The Secret Garden was meant to be a big screen experience. Now, it’s currently available as a video on demand release in the U.S. It will be getting a theatrical run in the UK in October, however. And while the situation is disappointing, Alison is trying to focus on the bigger picture.