Heidi (1937) Poster


Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Heidi is based on an 1880 novel, Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning (German: Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre) by Swiss author Johanna Spyri [1827-1901]. The novel was adapted for the movie by American screenwriters Julien Josephson and Walter Ferris.

  • The nearest village, as mentioned by Pastor Schultz (Thomas Beck), is called Dorfli. Although there is a village called Dorfli in Switzerland, the village of Dorfli in Spyri's novel was fictional (Dorfli translates to mean "little town"). In reality, the town of Maienfeld in the eastern Swiss canton of Graubünden and, in particular, a nearby hamlet known as Oberrofels (Upper Rofels), were the inspiration for the setting of Heidi. Maienfeld is located just north of the town of Chur, near Switzerland's border with Liechtenstein. Today, that area has been given the name Heidihof (Heidiland) by the Swiss Tourism Board and made into a tourist mecca for all things Heidi.

  • No. Heidi was filmed entirely in California.

  • Aunt Dete (Mady Christians) is the sister of Heidi's mother, Gretchen. Gretchen was married to Heidi's father, Tobias Kramer. The Grandfather (Jean Hersholt) is Tobias' father.

  • Heidi (Shirley Temple) was seven years old when she came to stay with the Grandfather. The day that Aunt Dete took her away to live in Frankfurt was Heidi's eighth birthday. In the novel, Heidi was five years old. Shirley Temple was nine years old when she filmed this movie.

  • Klara (Marcia Mae Jones) explains only that "I fell last summer and hurt my back."

  • The Grandfather walks the 100 miles to Frankfurt (the real distance is 216 miles) in search of Heidi. When he gets there, he just misses Heidi as she, Klara, Klara's father, and all the children in Frankfurt leave the Marionette Theater. He calls out her name, Heidi hears him and tries to call back, but their sleigh has already taken off. The Grandfather runs behind the sleigh, but doesn't catch up until after Klara and Heidi have been taken into the house. The Grandfather beats on doors looking for Heidi, but the police take him to jail for disturbing the peace. Later that night, Fräulein Rottenmeier (Mary Nash) awakens Heidi and tries to sell her to a gypsy, but Heidi runs away screaming. The Grandfather, who broke out of jail by pounding out a window, hears Heidi's screams, pulls Fräulein Rottenmeier away from Heidi, grabs Heidi, steals a sleigh, and tries to outrun the police. Fräulein Rottenmeier tells the police that the Grandfather is stealing her child, so the police catch and haul him back to jail. Tearfully, Heidi pleads with them to talk with Klara's father to discover the truth. Because Herr Sesemann (Sidney Blackmer) is a wealthy and prominent citizen of Frankfurt, the police finally agree. In the final scenes, Heidi and the Grandfather are back in the mountains. Klara, her father, and their butler Andrews (Arthur Treacher) come for a visit. Everyone, including Pastor Schultz and his wife, and Peter (Delmar Watson) and his grandmother, sits down for dinner, and Heidi gives thanks to God for making her so happy.

  • No. The story of Heidi was first made into a silent short, also titled Heidi (1920), released in 1920. Over the years, there have been numerous adaptations of Heidi in various foreign languages, TV films, TV series, and animated movies. To date, however, this 1937 version of Heidi remains the most popular and well-known version to most English-speaking audiences.

  • Goodness no! Prior to Heidi, Shirley Temple had already been credited with appearing in over 35 movies, starting from the age of four.

  • Yes. Heidi is in the public domain and no longer copyrighted in the United States. A copy can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.


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