Eight-year-old Heidi is orphaned and her selfish maternal Aunt Dete takes her to the mountains to live with Adolph Kramer, her grumpy, old, outcast, survivalist paternal grandfather. Heidi brings her grandfather back into mountain society through her angelic ways, sheer love, and adorable personality. When Aunt Dete steals Heidi away to be the companion of a rich man's invalid daughter, the grandfather is enraged and sets out to get her back. Back in Frankfurt, loved and adored by everyone she touches except the villainous housekeeper, Fraulein Rottenmeier, she thrives but is inwardly very sad and lonely. No matter what anyone tells her, Heidi, with faith, hope, and the stubbornness she inherited from her grandfather, knows that some day she will be reunited with the him and the beloved people of the mountain's little village. Written by
Terry Ann Smulen
A scene in which Heidi teaches Peter to read was cut from the final film. See more »
Heidi removes the ribbon from her Christmas present twice, once in a closeup, then again when the shot changes. See more »
[discovering Heidi undressing in the street]
Heidi! Put those on!
Oh, not everything. I'm so hot!
Well, keep on your Sunday dress, and your coat. Hurry up.
Oh, all right.
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Little orphaned HEIDI is abandoned at the Alpine home of her stern Grandfather - only the beginning in a series of remarkable changes in both their lives.
Shirley Temple had one of her greatest triumphs as the diminutive heroine of Johanna Spyri's classic children's novel. So well does she fill the role - eyes bright, tremendous smile & bouncing curls - that it is difficult to imagine any other young American actress of the era playing the part.
Some might grumble at the various incongruities - the jumble of accents, the Dutch musical number - but that is beside the point. This was meant to be quality family entertainment and to earn Fox Studios a great deal of money. The film was a success on both scores.
Director Allan Dwan ensured that the book's high points were included in the film & Fox gave HEIDI very good production values - note especially the scenes of village life in Dorfli - and a fine supporting cast: gentle Jean Hersholt, perfect as the old Grandfather, gruff & lovable; droll Arthur Treacher, his comic English butler is definitely not in the original book, but he is hilarious nonetheless; Marcia Mae Jones as crippled Klara; Sidney Blackmer as her wealthy father; Sig Ruman as a police captain and elderly Helen Westley as the blind Grandmother.
There are often she dragons in Shirley Temple films, bitter women who try to thwart the innocent joys of the Mighty Moppet and end up either converted or punished. HEIDI boasts two villainesses, Mady Christians as hardhearted Aunt Dete & imperious Mary Nash as the strangely evil Fräulein Rottenmeier. So well do these ladies play their parts that they are able to grab some of the attention of the audience away from Miss Temple.
Movie mavens should recognize Greta Meyer as a Dorfli villager & Frank Reicher as a Frankfurt police lieutenant, both uncredited.
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