Robert Harris

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Frances Hodgson Burnett's timeless novel about magic and the exigencies of childhood, was written 109 years ago.

Over the years, there have been two (now three) feature films, directly based upon the book, plus a limited TV series,
and a couple of continuations in the form of features.

Going back to 1949, the centenary of Ms Burnett's birth, there was the M-G-M version with young Margaret O'Brien in the lead role, supported by Herbert Marshall, Dean Stockwell, Gladys Cooper and Elsa Lancaster. This was a black & white film, with a three-strip Technicolor ending.

1993 gave us the Agnieszka Holland version, with Kate Maberly as Mary Lennox.

And now, we have young Dixie Egerickx in the lead, a quite extraordinary young actor, withy Julie Walters and Colin Firth as the adult leads.

It is this new Secret Garden which has been hit, along with many other films, by COVID - it was released in August - and it's a film that
really could have been beautiful on the big screen.

That aside, we have it on Blu-ray. I hadn't looked closely at the packaging, and was surprised to find a Universal logo at the head end, as I surmised (incorrectly) that since the 1949 was M-G-M, and the 1993 was Warner Bros…

I've always believed that we need more quality children's films, and this one fits the bill.

Beautifully made, it has been released as a gorgeous Blu-ray by the afore-mentioned Universal.

Color pops off the screen, especially in the garden sequences, which make full use of digital wizardry. Audio is full and rich, and noted as DTS-HD MA 5.1, although IMDb tells us that the original mix was Dolby Atmos. If that's correct, I would have love to have heard it.

Originally set up with Guillermo Del Toro at Universal, in 2013, it finally went into pre-prod in early 2018, and was in post by late July. Were it not for COVID, we might have seen it in theaters.

Point being, this is a full-on theatrical quality feature, and not a direct-to-video / streaming.

It's a beautiful film about the fears and mysteries of childhood that rings as true today as it did 109 years ago.

From a personal perspective, as someone currently working on trying to move a film forward about a girl just a bit older than
in this film, I applaud it as superb entertainment not only for children, but as a film that doesn't seem foolish to adults. It works
on all levels.


Image - 5

Audio - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Highly Recommended

RAH


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RichMurphy

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...From a personal perspective, as someone currently working on trying to move a film forward about a girl just a bit older than in this film,...
But I’d prefer to get aid for a kickstarter, or other project should the time come. Every nickel will help.
Ok, Mr. Harris, 'fess up. I pledged in your "Projector Setup" thread to support any kickstarter project of yours. Is this the time to break out my credit card?
 

Robert Harris

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Ok, Mr. Harris, 'fess up. I pledged in your "Projector Setup" thread to support any kickstarter project of yours. Is this the time to break out my credit card?
No. Although the thought is appreciated. On personal projects, I pay my own way.

We did have one small discovery over the past few days. Complete shots have been found for Napoleon, that were previously partially slugged with black. One that charges an inter title placement, which is interesting, and works better.
 

Angelo Colombus

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No. Although the thought is appreciated. On personal projects, I pay my own way.

We did have one small discovery over the past few days. Complete shots have been found for Napoleon, that were previously partially slugged with black. One that charges an inter title placement, which is interesting, and works better.
Can you tell us if Napoleon might be released next year?
 
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Mike Frezon

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I have been very looking forward to seeing this new version of The Secret Garden...as I have enjoyed the other two versions.

While it's too bad if this release should have had an Atmos track, I am expecting it will look and sound wonderful on my system.
 

Mark-P

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For a savings of $8 you can hear the Atmos soundtrack, along with 4K and HDR. Released digitally.
 
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bujaki

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Even lovelier as sung by the angelic voice of its original Broadway star Rebecca Luker, tragically struggling now with Lou Gehrig's disease.
A tragic loss to all of us. She was the closest to the great Barbara Cook.
 
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RichMurphy

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A tragic loss to all of us. She was the closest to the great Barbara Cooke.
She is apparently keeping a positive outlook, even having an online fundraiser for ALS research, despite being in a wheelchair and having to be fed by her husband, actor Danny Burstein.

I've had the pleasure of seeing her perform in person many times. Quite often, as she begins to sing, I think "Gee, have they raised the key? What will she do when the high notes come later?" The answer was, always, that she would hit them effortlessly and beautifully.
 
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