— The Secret Garden 1993 movie, which really sums it all up.
First published in 1911, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is a children's novel and has since been adapted into several television and movie versions, as well as a musical and an anime series.The central narrative follows a young girl named Mary Lennox, who, at the beginning of the story, has been raised entirely by servants in India; her neglectful parents are too self-absorbed to even notice her, and she's grown into a major Spoiled Brat. When a freak accident — originally a cholera epidemic but an earthquake in some adaptations — orphans her, she is sent off to England to live with her reclusive, mysterious uncle, Archibald Craven. Little does anybody know that her presence will transform the place, and it, in turn, will transform her.The book is in the Public Domain and available for legal download. There is even a free Audiobook available at Librivox.
The various adaptations have included:
The Secret Garden (1919), starring Lila Lee.
Very little is known about this film, as it's thought to be lost.
The Secret Garden (1949), starring Margaret O'Brien (whom you'll recall as Beth from the Little Women first film).
Interestingly, this film was done mostly in black-and-white, but made use of Technicolor for the garden segments, in a move similar to The Wizard of Oz.
The Secret Garden (1975), a TV series starring Sarah Hollis Andrews.
This series remained extremely faithful to the source material, and kept most of the characters and plot threads that other adaptations tend to excise, most prominently Susan Sowerby and her children.
Notorious because, in a twist that no other version has, it kills off Dickon. No, really!
The Secret Garden (1991), a musical version that premiered on Broadway.
This version placed more emphasis on the adults, with much of the plot being narrated by a ghostly chorus of "Dreamers". It also expands the plot considerably, up to adding in a primary conflict in the form of Archibald Craven's brother Dr. Neville Craven, who was in a love triangle with his own brother and Lillias, and is charged with both keeping Colin healthy and keeping the estate in order while Archibald is away.
Himitsu no Hanazono (1992-1993), an anime series starring Mina Tominaga as Mary as well as several other well known seiyuu.
Like the musical version it expands the story quite a bit, focusing a lot on four elements: the Sowerby family (and not only Susan, but also her youngest kids); Lillias Craven's personality and her influence around those who surrounded her; Colin's notoriously frailer-than-in-other-adaptations health, and his long and difficult way to physical recovery with Dickon and Mary's help; and the Canon Foreigners Camilla (a Romani young woman who acts as Mary's Cool Big Sis and was involved in the accident that caused Lillias's death), and Maximilian "Max" Hawkins (an accountant who used to work for the Cravens and was wrongfully accused of fraud, upon an horrible misunderstanding.)
Brutal Honesty: Mary frequently tells Colin that people dislike him because he is hateful to be around (not realizing that she could also be talking about herself).
Martha who is not used to working for the gentry, frequently tells Mary (who still expects help getting dressed at age nine) that Martha's four-year-old sister can look after herself better. She also compares wealthy kids, who are taken for walks by a nurse rather than playing on their own, to puppies.
Funetik Aksent: The Yorkshire accents, which Mary thinks is a different language at first. By the end of the story she becomes so fond of Martha's family that she tries to speak with this accent herself.
Hope Sprouts Eternal: Mary's efforts to bring the long-neglected secret garden back to life leads to her own redemption and character growth.
Ill Boy: Colin Craven, however there's nothing physically wrong with him, most of his illnesses are caused by hysterics and his own morbid thoughts.
In Harmony with Nature: Dickon astounds even his own family with how happy he is on the moors and how well he gets along with animals. Of course, he trains Colin and Mary in his ways.
Old Retainer: Ben Weatherstaff. Lillias charged him with taking care of the roses in her garden, and he was so devoted to following her orders that, even after Archibald ordered the garden to be locked up, Ben continued to get in by climbing over the wall.
Parental Neglect: Mary's parents died from a deadly plague, but even before that they were distant and didn't care much about her. Many of her parents' acquaintances in India are unaware that they have a daughter at all. Colin is distanced from Archibald, and we all know what happened with Lillias.
Polyglot: Mary's upbringing by Indian servants exposed her to various dialects from birth, and she was formally taught French. Several times, she tries to imitate the broad Yorkshire accent under the impression that it is a different language (which isn't exactly a stretch).
The Raj: Mary was born and lived in the then British-ruled India until she was 11. She was mostly raised by Indian servants as her parents were distant, which is truth in television- Rudyard Kipling spent so little time around his parents that as a child he preferred to speak Hindi.
Shrouded in Myth: Archibald is reputed to be a dreadful-looking hunchback, but when Mary meets him in person he's revealed to be normal-looking, with high and crooked shoulders. Colin is reputed to be a hunchback as well, and unable to walk due to malformed legs, when actually he's just a sickly boy who is so spoiled the servants never try to get him walking.
Woman in White: Mary. Colin's father finds black too much for a child, and white is the only alternative, since she is in mourning for her parents.
World Tree: The eponymous garden might as well be this.
Its various adaptations contain examples of the following tropes:
Adaptation Distillation: The 1993 movie takes every event from the first half or so of the book (taking place over months) and jams them all together to take place in a matter of days or weeks, removing some character depth and growth in the process. Of course, this being a film, the time line is a bit fuzzy.
Adapted Out: The character of Mrs. Susan Sowerby is oddly absent from the 1993 film.
Break the Cutie: In the anime version, Camilla and Max Hawkins were horribly broken in their backstories, which also influences Max in his revenge quest against Archibald. Not to mention, we get to see exactly how badly Lillias's Death by Childbirth broke Mr. Craven himself...
Break the Haughty: In the 1993 version, Mrs. Medlock, after Archibald Craven gives her a verbal smackdown near the end. Not only does she break down in a sobbing heap on the steps, but she offers to resign as well.
British Accents: The original book features a number of them, ranging from Yorkshire to RP. The various adaptations tend to be hit and miss with regards to accurately conveying the required accents.
May-December Romance: In the anime series Lillias was much younger than Archibald (she looked no older than 25 while past!Archibald looked almost exactly like his present and older self save for his still not white hair), yet they still clearly adored each other. It would explain a lot about how hard he took her death.
Missing Mom: While both Mary's parents are dead, she tends to think of her mother more often than her father.
The 1993 movie plays this aspect way up for both Colin and Mary.
Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Mary, rather jarringly, has a Texan American accent in the 1987 version. Occasionally she can be heard trying for a British accent, but it just doesn't work. There's also that one scene where she attempts a Yorkshire accent...
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In the Broadway Recording, you can tell that the actors tried really hard with their Yorkshire and RP accents, but they're still pretty cringeworthy.
Pet the Dog: In the 1993 version, a confrontation between Mary and Mrs. Medlock culminates in Medlock slapping Martha and threatening to fire her for letting Mary wander into Colin's room. This does not sit well with Colin. Not only does he visibly recoil with an expression of shock when Martha is slapped, he flat-out tells Mrs. Medlock that he will have her sent away if she dares dismiss the servant girl.