Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1949. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Robert Ardrey, based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Cinematography by Ray June. Produced by Clarence Brown. Music by Bronislau Kaper. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Urie McCleary. Costume Design by Walter Plunkett. Film Editing by Robert Kern.
Early version of the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett children’s novel isn’t as delicate as the 1993 version by Agnieszka Holland, but it does make for nice family viewing. Margaret O’Brien is the little girl whose parents die out in India and she is brought to live in her uncle’s giant estate in England. There she befriends her cousin (Dean Stockwell), a sickly young boy who is guarded night and day by the concerned staff, while all the time his father (Herbert Marshall) spends his days locked up in mourning for his deceased wife. This little girl has enough to deal with on her own, but she still manages to find the time to brighten up the lives of those around her. The film is shot in black-and-white, but once O’Brien discovers the walled-up garden in the centre of the estate’s grounds the film switches to beautiful Technicolour. A lovely, magical fantasy.