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The Little Princess (1939)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Family  -  17 March 1939 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 3,498 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 12 critic

A little girl is left by her father in an exclusive seminary for girls, due to her father having to go to Africa with the army.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Little Princess (1939)

The Little Princess (1939) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Richard Greene ...
...
Rose
Ian Hunter ...
...
Arthur Treacher ...
...
Sybil Jason ...
...
Lord Wickham
Marcia Mae Jones ...
Beryl Mercer ...
Deidre Gale ...
Ira Stevens ...
E.E. Clive ...
Eily Malyon ...
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Storyline

When her father, Captain Crewe, goes off to fight in the Boer War, young Sara Crewe is placed into the care of Amanda Minchin, the head of an exclusive private school for girls. Sara lives a wonderful life of a privileged child and is quite happy in her surroundings. When her father is listed as missing in action however, her life goes from one of plenty to that of a poor house maid. Mrs. Minchin agrees to keep her on at the school, but in the absence of her tuition payments, she has to work for her keep. She is soon cleaning out the fireplace and scrubbing floors and is dubbed the little princess by her former schoolmates. She also refuses to accept that her father is dead and prowls the hospitals in the hope of locating him. Luck - and Royal intervention - assist her in her quest. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

girl | servant | boer war | school | england | See more »

Taglines:

A great classic comes to life in glorious Technicolor!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 March 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La princesita  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

There are many references in the film to receiving "mail" and "mailing" letters. The British terminology is always receiving "post" and "posting" letters. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sara Crewe: Why are they sending so many soldiers, daddy, if it's only going to be a little war?
Captain Reginald Crewe: To make those stubborn Boers take us seriously this time, my darling. When they realize Her Majesty intends to put a stop to their nonsense, they'll quiet down.
Sara Crewe: They'd better. Anyhow, when you get there, you'll stop them. Won't you, daddy?
Captain Reginald Crewe: I'll do my best, dear.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Principessina (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

The Fantasy
(1939)
(Sara Crewe's Dream)
Music by Samuel Pokrass
Words by Walter Bullock
Performed by Shirley Temple (uncredited), Arthur Treacher (uncredited), Mary Nash (uncredited),
Cesar Romero (uncredited), Anita Louise (uncredited), Richard Green (uncredited) and unidentified Extras.
Danced by Temple with unidentified Ballerinas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One More Triumph For Our Shirley
28 April 2002 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A small child, affectionately known as THE LITTLE PRINCESS, must endure great hardship after her father is killed in the Boer War.

Shirley Temple had her last great box-office triumph in this splendid Technicolor adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett childhood classic. No longer a tiny tot - she turned eleven the year THE LITTLE PRINCESS was released - but still a little trooper, Shirley exhibits once again the tremendous charm & talent which made her Hollywood's top box office draw. With wrinkled brow & tremulous lip or bouncing curls & joyous smile, she adeptly displays just the right mood or mannerism to keep the focus of the audience's attention firmly grasped in her chubby fists.

The supporting players' roster is abundantly well cast: stalwart Ian Hunter appears as Shirley's soldier father - this very fine actor wisely uses his acting skills to keep from being completely upstaged by the mighty moppet; handsome Richard Greene & lovely Anita Louise play the riding master & teacher who befriend Shirley - their roles aren't terribly significant, but they fill them quite well.

Mary Nash is once again cast as Shirley's tormentor, this time playing the evil-spirited headmistress of an exclusive girls' seminary. This accomplished actress did not appear in many films, but she could generally be counted on to provide a vivid performance - notice the relish with which she essays her small part in the medieval fantasy sequence (`I know my rights, I know the law and what I say I saw, I saw!'). Long-legged, adenoidal Arthur Treacher plays her henpecked brother; he is a delight during his two romps with Shirley to the music hall ditty ‘Knocked ‘Em In The Old Kent Road.'

Cesar Romero quietly portrays an Indian servant in a small, but important, role; Miles Mander & E. E. Clive both appear as hardhearted, crusty old gentlemen - only one is regenerated by film's end. Sweet Beryl Mercer makes the most of her few moments as a stately, kindhearted Queen Victoria - while Eily Malyon is a true fright as the school's slatternly cook. Marcia Mae Jones participates in one of the film's most memorable moments, when, as a particularly vile teenager, she receives a face full of fireplace ashes, courtesy of sweet Shirley.

Special attention should be given to ten-year-old South African Sybil Jason, who plays the wistful waifish charmaid who idolizes Shirley. In her American film debut, Warner's LITTLE BIG SHOT (1935), she proved wonderfully winsome & winning, but the storm of attention surrounding Miss Temple (exactly 19 months older than Miss Jason) tends, at this remove, to swamp the boats of the other female child stars of the period. However, delightful Sybil deserves to be remembered & appreciated for her own accomplishments.

The Stolen Kiss, a lavish fantasy dream sequence, provides a welcome few minutes change of pace for Temple, Nash, Louise, Greene, Treacher & Romero.


17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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