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One More Triumph For Our Shirley
Ron Oliver28 April 2002
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.
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Shirley Temple At Her Best!
WinBBunny7 May 2004
"The Little Princess" is a reversal-of-fortune movie, so to speak. Sarah Crewe (Shirley Temple) is the daughter of a wealthy soldier sent off to the Boer War in 1899. Having no relatives, Sarah is placed in an exclusive girls school until her father returns. When her father is reported dead and their fortune is wiped out, the friendly headmistress becomes not-so-friendly towards Sarah, who is made to work off her father's debt to the school. Sarah is convinced that her father is alive, though, and searches the area hospital for him, eventually finding him.

This movie serves as an excellent example of several things: movies like this just aren't made any more. Unfortunately, they can't be - people would say it was too corny. In the movie, Shirley portrays a child not only with unshakable hope but patience, manners, politeness and kindness in the face of terrible adversity, with only a couple of cracks in her steadfastness. She meets Queen Victoria. Who would believe that a child under the duress that she suffers could be so gracious? Who would believe that, being a pauper, she could meet the Queen of England? Today's movie child star would have filled the air with sassiness and expletives under the same situation. But Shirley/Sarah doesn't, and that's a reason that I really like this movie - it shows someone who tries to make the best of a bad situation, and never gives up hope.

I also believe that the movie is an accurate portrayal of the life and times of the turn of the century, as it was made only 40 years after the Boer War. I think that Victorian England was captured well in this movie; after all, we do a pretty good job of displaying the 1960s on film these days.

Overall, though, it is Shirley Temple at her singing/dancing/acting best in this movie, and she does a wonderful job from start to finish.
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You won't regret it.
keesha4521 January 2007
While American audiences loved this and all the other Shirley Temple vehicles, across the Pond this story of a young girl refusing to accept reports of her father's death in combat must have struck a responsive chord with war-weary Brits who could easily identify with her troubles. Although the Hollywood film industry has always come under some well-deserved criticism for twisting history and other literary sources in its screenplays, they do get it right at times. The largely British cast and English setting give the classic story the right look and feel, and the romance and song-and-dance numbers don't take anything away from the main storyline. Shirley is even reunited with some of her co-stars from other films. (This includes Cesar Romero as a servant here. 8 of his next 11 films were westerns, a genre he'd never tackled, including a pairing with Randolph Scott as Doc Holliday to Scott's Wyatt Earp and a starring role in a handful of Cisco Kid features. Much later would come famous movie and TV roles as Kurt Russell's nemesis A.J. Arno in several Disney comedies in the 70's, and his most famous part, the Joker, in BATMAN.) In a year when so many great films appeared that were taken from the pages of popular books (GONE WITH THE WIND, THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME,GUNGA DIN, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS,THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, TARZAN FINDS A SON, THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK) you can add THE LITTLE PRINCESS. If you never get to read any or all of these books, at least watch the films derived from them. You won't regret it. Dale Roloff
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Temple Plays The Title
Michael Obrofta27 September 2005
We are always captivated by a young person's grown up prowess on stage or screen. This is certainly true of Temple's performance. We are intimidated by her poise and strength, but endeared to her by her sincerity. Who will forget Caesar Romero (or better who would guess it was him)in the role of the Indian servant? The scene when Queen Victoria visits the hospital is gripping. On the one hand, we know the writers could not be so cruel to let her father escape her, yet on the other hand the writers and players condition you into feeling ... . Well, you'll just have to watch the movie.

Temple also pulls off the "the princess and the pauper" (one implied title of the movie) class switch well. Excellent character actors and actresses support.

I think a good movie for young people to watch.
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Has Some Very Nice Moments
Snow Leopard7 November 2005
This Shirley Temple feature is worth seeing for a number of very nice moments in the story of "The Little Princess". It might be a little longer than necessary, and the story development is sometimes uneven, which keeps it from achieving its full potential. It offers the young Temple a variety of material to work with, and she has some very good sequences.

For the most part, it follows the familiar story, though often embellished, particularly towards the end. The story and Temple's characterization give it a rather different feel from, for example, the silent version that starred Mary Pickford. Here, Temple projects much of her own persona, with her best moments coming with Arthur Treacher, who plays the easygoing brother of the stern headmistress. The character of Becky is still significant, but Temple does not ever have the rapport with her that Pickford and Zasu Pitts had in the earlier version.

As a result, it's a bit uneven overall, but for those who enjoy this kind of story, it's still worthwhile. The public domain print makes it somewhat difficult to evaluate the production end, although it clearly contained plenty of detail and color. It's a decent if unexceptional feature whose high points are usually worth waiting for.
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Little Princess- Thank Heaven for Little Girls ***1/2
edwagreen16 October 2006
Charming film in color where Shirley Temple's dad goes off to fight in the Boer War. She is left is a fancy girl's school with a headmistress who is stern.

When word is brought to the school that the father, who adored his Sarah (Temple), has been killed and the child is left penniless, poor Sarah is shut up in the attic and made to work in the kitchen. Move over Cinderella.

Sarah never gives up hope that her dad (Ian Hunter) is living and she searches feverishly for him.

When a Indian mystery man (Cesar Romero) makes her room beautiful during a ballet sequence, Sarah is suspected of stealing.

Mary Nash is the wicked headmistress and acts in the same way as Margaret Hamilton in "The Wizard of Oz." Richard Green and Anita Louise play lovers, who are discharged from the school, by Nash for loving each other.

The ending is wonderful when Sarah finds her dad with the help no less of Queen Victoria (Beryl Mercer).

Enjoyable tale for children and adults alike.
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Delightful and lively rendition about a vintage story with a miraculous Shirley Temple
ma-cortes10 March 2009
This agreeable movie is based on the Francis Burnett children's classic novel. 1899, London, irrepressible Sara(Shirley Temple) is a little girl in Victorian epoch sent to boarding school ruled by a harsh,hateful headmistress named Mischin(Mary Nash) while her widowed father(Ian Hunter) is posted in South African -Transvaal- during the Anglo-Boer war. Her daddy is declared missing but is reported killed in action and the penniless schoolgirl must work as a servant to pay her existence. Kindhearted Sara befriends a young enamored couple(Anita Louise, Richard Greene)who help her. Then Sara in search for her dad, haunting hospitals where she encounters Queen Victoria.

Impactful adaptation has Temple as likable child playing, dancing, and singing. Lively screenplay, vivid performances, dazzling scenarios originate classic in film-making. Colorful cinematography in Technicolor by William Skall and Arthur Miller. The picture is brilliant and skilfully directed by Walter Lang, a musical cinema and comedy genre expert. This is Shirley Temple's biggest success(it cost a big budget, over 1,5 million dollars) and also her fist colour, another Shirley's hits are:¨Poor little girl,The little rebel,The little colonel and Little Miss Marker¨among others. It's remade by a TV version(1987) by Carol Wiseman with Amelia Shankley and Nigel Havers and a superior version by Alfonso Cuaron with Sara incarnation from Liesel Mattews(Shirley Temple lookalike role),Eleanor Brown(eagle-eyed Mary Nash role)and Lian Cunningham(Ian Hunter lookalike). This is a masterpiece of kids' classic cinema and you will soon be caught up in its sympathetic and enjoyable world.
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Quite Possibly Shirley's Best Ever!
Snow484924 May 2006
Between the ages of 7 and 10, little Shirley Temple was the biggest box office star in the world. But as she grew older, her popularity quickly began to wane. At 11 (though she believed herself to be 10 because her mother shaved a year off her age), Shirley was still quite a child when she made "The Little Princess." But because she was no longer as cute and cherubic as she was at 6, when "Stand Up and Cheer!" first made her a star, it was to be her last successful film in a children's role.

As Sara (a Hebrew name meaning "princess"), Shirley plays her standard rags-to-riches storyline in reverse: Sara's wealthy widowed father loses everything in the Boer War, and her cruel boarding school headmistress Miss Minchin makes her an underfed, overworked servant girl to pay the tuition debt her father owed. Sara goes from luxurious rooms and private tutors to friendless, freezing attics as suddenly as the swinging America of the 1920s sank into the dust storms, breadlines, and squattervilles of the 1930's Great Depression. But where did poor Americans turn to briefly forget all these problems during the Great Depression? To the movies, where Shirley Temple, her unwavering hopefulness (as present in "The Little Princess" as in any of her movies), and her cute song-and-dance numbers -- with titles like "Laugh, You Son of a Gun" (1934), "You Gotta Smile to be Happy" (1936), "Be Optimistic" (1938), and "Come and Get Your Happiness" (1938) -- cheered up the entire nation. The same singing and dancing cheers up Sara Crewe while she's working as a galley slave in 1899 London, as Shirley performs "The Old Kent Road" with her pal Arthur Treacher (her four-time co-star).

In short, "The Little Princess" is Shirley Temple's career in a nutshell. It is a must-see film for both longtime Shirley fans and newcomers.
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Rich Girl, Poor Girl
lugonian13 December 2002
THE LITTLE PRINCESS (20th Century-Fox, 1939), directed by Walter Lang, based upon the story by Frances Hodgeson Burnett, ranks one of Shirley Temple's best known and most revived feature, as well as her first in Technicolor. Capitalizing on her previous success with screen adaptations to literary children's novels, including HEIDI and WEE WILLIE WINKIE (both 1937), THE LITTLE PRINCESS displays Temple's talent in heavy dramatics at best, especially with her two key scenes, one in which she teary-eyed bids goodbye to her father as he goes off to war; and another where she stands firm, looking angrily straight at her evil boarding school mistress as she is about to slap her face for standing up to her. Like a fairy tale, this production includes good characters along with a wicked one (wonderfully played by Mary Nash), along with some dialog usually found in storybooks, such as one little girl saying on how Sara Crewe (Temple) looks just like a princess, with the overly jealous girl sarcastically responding, "Princess, INDEED."

Set in London in the year 1899, Sara (Shirley Temple) is the daughter of her widowed father, Captain Crewe (Ian Hunter), who leaves her in a boarding school under the care of Miss Amanda Mirchin (Mary Nash) and her brother, Bertie (Arthur Treacher), a former music hall performer, before he goes off to the Boer War. Because Crewe is a well known figure and man of wealth, Sara is given the royalty treatment, as if she were "a little princess," causing jealously amongst one of the other girls, Lavinia (Marcia Mae Jones), who doesn't want to lose her place with Miss Mirchin. After Miss Mirchin receives news from Mr. Babbows (E.E. Clive) that Captain Crewe has been killed in the war, leaving daughter Sara penniless, she, at first, decides to put Sara and her belongings into the street, but Babbows advises her that this would not look good for her or the school. So the only other alternative is to place Sara from her luxurious room into a cold attic, taking her expensive clothing and auctioning it off to pay for her lodging, leaving Sara with only paupers' clothes to wear. In order to earn her keep, Sara must work long hard hours in the kitchen along with another girl, Becky (Sybil Jason), who befriends her. Being treated harshly, Sara becomes a hard and bitter child who tries to be a good soldier as her father had wanted her to be, but finds she's unable to do it, being at times both hungry and cold. Not wanting to believe her father is dead, Sara braves the streets of London at night in hope to one day find him amongst the wounded in the military hospital.

Also in support in THE LITTLE PRINCESS are Richard Greene and Anita Louise as the young romantic couple, with Louise as Miss Rose, an employee of the boarding school who loses her position for secretly meeting with Sir Geoffrey Hamilton (Greene) against the wishes of Miss Minchin; Cesar Romero as Ram Dass, an Arab servant to Lord Wickham (Miles Mander), Sir Geoffrey's grandfather; Eily Malyon as an unsympathetic boarding school cook; and Beryl Mercer as Queen Victoria, among others.

Aside from the heavy handled dramatics that resembles a dark Charles Dickens novel, THE LITTLE PRINCESS does take time for some song and dance, including "Down By the Old Kent Road" (by Arthur Chevalier and Charles Ingle) as sung and danced by Shirley Temple and Arthur Treacher; and as with Temple's earlier classic, HEIDI, there's a musical dream sequence, this one titled "Fantasy" by Walter Bullock and Samuel Pokrass.

As with HEIDI, THE LITTLE PRINCESS is prestigious Temple production. It also reunites her with her HEIDI co-stars, Mary Nash, Arthur Treacher and Marcia Mae Jones. And also like HEIDI, THE LITTLE PRINCESS gives the impression of a hurried conclusion.

Mary Nash gives a standout performance with her female interpretation of Mr. Murdstone from Dickens' novel, David COPPERFIELD, with Treacher a likable Micawber character from that very same novel. Temple and Treacher have fine screen chemistry, with this being their fourth and final collaboration together. The 1899 London period setting is wonderfully captured along with its lavish crisp Technicolor. Sybil Jason, a promising young child actress of Warner Brothers (1935-38), who didn't rise above the rank of Temple, is quite memorable playing the cockney orphan, Becky. Her performance is unlike anything she has done before, but sadly, after one more film, THE BLUE BIRD (1940), which also starred Temple, Jason's career would come to an end.

Unlike the other Shirley Temple movies of the 1930s, THE LITTLE PRINCESS became a public domain video title, being distributed through various video companies through the years (1980s and 1990s), and like the Christmas classic, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), which also fell victim to public domain, THE LITTLE PRINCESS became frequently shown on numerous television stations at any given time. The 1989 CBS Fox Home Video presentation of THE LITTLE PRINCESS does present this film with the best Technicolor print available, outdoing some others with duller looking copies. THE LITTLE PRINCESS was formerly presented on cable television's American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2001, and occasionally airs on Turner Classic Movies and on the Fox Movie Channel. Wherever THE LITTLE PRINCESS is found, it makes good family viewing.

One final note: the Frances Hodgeson Burnett classic included a 1917 silent film version starring Mary Pickford, and a 1995 remake with Eleanor Bron, both titled A LITTLE PRINCESS. But whenever THE LITTLE PRINCESS is mentioned, it'll be no doubt that the Shirley Temple version will be the one that comes to mind. (****)
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"The Little Princess" is one of Shirley Temple's best.
buppy26 October 1998
Shirley Temple, Ian Hunter, Richard Greene, Anita Louise, and Cesar Romero star in this great classic that still is outstanding even though it was released in 1939. This is the story (written by Frances Hodgson Burnett) of Sarah Crewe who was left at a boarding school while her father leaves to fight in the Boer War. She makes few friends but all the other girls think she is a selfish child. Some of the friend's she makes are Becky (Sybil Jason) a kind-hearted servant and two teachers, Rose (Anita Louise) and Birtie Minchin (Arthur Treacher) who is brother of the infamous Miss Minchin (Mary Nash). This truly is a great film that is still a Shirley Temple classic.
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Fair-To-Midlin' Temple Movie
ccthemovieman-119 July 2006
I wouldn't rank this in the top half of all the Shirley Temple movies of the 1930s. It's not the worst but it's far from her best, BUT it's definitely better than the insufferably-politically correct 1995 remake.

"Amanda Mirchin" as the owner of a school, is the villain in here and Mary Nash did her acting job well because you hate this woman as the film goes on. Temple, as "Sara Crewe," overacted a bit with the fake teary scenes. She was never too realistic with those parts of a movie, but convincing in every other way.

Also, I prefer Temple's more light-hearted films, of which is not one, although Arthur Treacher was a good guy and fun to watch. He does two song-and-dance numbers with Shirley that help bring some brightness to the story.
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Charming Shirley Temple film with heart-warming conclusion...
Neil Doyle13 January 2002
There are those who claim Shirley Temple couldn't really act--but The Little Princess is living proof that she was much more than just a dimpled tot who could sing and dance on cue. Her tearful reunion with her missing dad (Ian Hunter) in a hospital ward at the conclusion of this classic story should move even the most hardened cynic. Her tears range from joy to hysteria as she tries to tell the shell-shocked soldier that she is his daughter.

This is a lavish technicolor delight with Shirley Temple at 12 doing an expert job as Sara, the little miss who has to bear the indignities of a boarding school once her father has been declared dead in the Boer war. The harsh mistress (Mary Nash) has her stripped of all privileges and makes her live in the attic while becoming a servant in the very household where she was once called "the little princess" by the other girls. There are departures from the novel since the script is given a "Shirley Temple formula" to ensure its success as the right vehicle for her at that time. But the addition of a dream sequence does no discernible harm, nor is the brief song-and-dance with Arthur Treacher to "The Old Kent Road" much of a distraction.

It succeeds in being a heart-warming tale of a girl's courage and determination when it seems that there is no hope of finding her father alive. The ending with Queen Victoria giving Shirley an approving nod, is an added delight. One of Shirley's best performances with a wonderful cast of supporting players: Richard Greene, Anita Louise, Mary Nash, Sybil Jason, Arthur Treacher and Cesar Romero all doing expert work.
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One of the best 'cry-ee' movies of all time.
chiefcam10 November 2001
Unlike the horrible U.S.-set remake, this delightful romp stays true to Burnett's vision in tenor if not directly interpreted from the novel. Sara is not a total angel -- playing pranks on her 'evil' seminary mates, etc. Moral tone is present but not overpowering -- good will prevail over evil, belief in one's inner strength, sharing with those even less fortunate than you and many other dictums of Victorian children's literature. The story's climatic scene, when Sara has failed until Queen Victoria herself intervenes, will send you straight to the Kleenex box. Shirley Temple's performance belies J. K. Rowling's belief that an American can not successfully play a hero/heroine in a British children's classic.
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A sappy-happy film
Caitlin12 December 2005
This watery film bears little resemblance to the classic novel. If you are a fan of the books, don't watch this movie! The strident pacing and absorbing characterization of the original novel is diluted into a "star vehicle" film for Shirley Temple. As a childhood Shirley Temple fan who has seen many of her films, I have to say that this is definitely one of my least favorites. In this film, Sara is depicted as a perfect, pretty, charming girl who, despite her miserable situation, remains perky and hopeful. Gone is Sara's magical, mysterious nature with her queer ideas and mystical fairy tales. Now she's an ordinary pretty girl; if the movie was made today, she would be played as a prep. Also, little Lottie is noticeably absent, and instead, there's a pointless plot line about Sara's tutor. And where did the pointless cameo with Queen Victoria come from? All in all, the movie turns out to be another happy-pretty-perky children's flick. I recommend watching Alfonso Cuaron's sumptuous film version which, while the ending is different, still maintains the magical mystery of the original novel.
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A moving classic for children
smaniaci8 July 2001
Little Miss Temple shines as Sara Crewe in this masterful work. She is mostly happy. That is, until Miss Minchin, the headmistress, comes along to ruin her.

After that, Sara is happy because she thinks of her father. He tells her to be brave. She is.

I love to mention this line: "My daddy has to go away, but he'll return most any day. At any moment I may see my daddy coming back to me."

Sara spoke this line, of course.

The lavish party, for Sara's birthday, is a scene I enjoy in this movie. This moment is fleeting for her, but she is happy.
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pretty good
moiraine200210 February 2001
i have owned this movie for quite some time, and i watch it every once in awhile. i like the movie a lot, but it didnt live up to the book as far as im concerned, but what film does? it was an imaginative interpretation of the novel. i admit,though i never pictured sara crewe tap dancing,or singing, it was cute.
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This movie treat its audience with royalty. Indeed, Shirley Temple was a real little princess!
ironhorse_iv13 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Based on the 1905 novel 'A Little Princess; being the whole story of Sara Crewe' by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Little Princess was a pretty good adapted movie. I wouldn't say, it's the best adaption of the novel, because it's far from that. In my opinion, the film should had been title 'The Soldier's Daughter' because how different, it was with the novel. Directed by Walter Lang, the movie is about 12 year old, Sara Crewe (Shirley Temple) whom father, Captain Crewe (Ian Hunter) is called to fight in the Second Boer War. Sara is left behind in the care of Amanda Minchin (Mary Nash), the head of an exclusive private school for girls, where she lives in a princess like lifestyle due to her father's riches. Her life as a princess wasn't long, as Captain Crewe's money dry up, and her father is believe to be dead in the battlefield. Miss Minchin harshly force the young woman to serve under her making her life miserable. This doesn't stop Sara's will power and belief that her father isn't dead; and she do anything to find out if he's still alive. Although it maintained the novel's Victorian London setting, the film introduced several new characters like Richard Greene and Anita Louise as the young romantic couple, Sir Geoffrey Hamilton & Miss Rose. They're employees of the boarding school, whom go against the wishes of Miss Minchin. Then there is mean-spirited Lord Wickham (Miles Mander) who has Ram Dass (Cesar Romero) as an Indian servant under him. It isn't really explained why he has an Indian lascar for a servant, and there is no logical explanation for why he would want to redecorate Sara's garret room. I guess, having an Indian sailor next room seem too unrealistic in Victoria Era England to the filmmakers. Another character added is Hubert (Arthur Treacher) who became friends with Sara over music. One thing, way different than the novel is the musical number. I know a lot of Shirley Temple's previous films had this, but this movie lacks music and songs good enough to remember. Shirley Temple and Arthur Treacher had a musical number together, performing the song "Knocked 'Em in the Old Kent Road which was way too short. Temple also appeared in an extended ballet dream sequence that was a bit distracting from the main plot. The whole dream scene was just awful and felt like filler. Another big change is the storyline. The movie used the Second Boer War and the Siege of Mafeking as a backdrop. In the book, the father was just visiting India and got ill to the point, he got brain fever. It wasn't war. The film covers only a timeline of a year, while the book go nearly four years. One of the biggest change in the film is the ending. The film's ending was drastically different. Without spoiling too much of it; this adaptation changes the fate of Captain Crewe. In my opinion, it's a better ending than the book. Still, it's does kinda mess up the plot of a young adult learning how to deal with death and to better herself through the actions of her own well-being. I just didn't like the whole Queen Victoria cameo helping her find her father. It was just outlandish & unrealistic. I can do without all the over Patriotism oozes out of every scene of the film. The main film is about this girl trying to reunite with her father, not the Boer War. Second off, there is no Mr. Thomas Carrisford character in the film. The acting in the film were pretty alright, but nobody really stood out. Shirley looked a little old for the part, but she pulls it off. At the part when she was by the window crying to say goodbye to her daddy was emotional. It was nice to see her react in a film to things like loss and death in a story. The trouble is, she can't pull off the emotion of making herself cry. In the movie, Shirley portrays a child not only with steadfast hope but patience, manners, politeness and kindness in the face of appalling adversity that you rarely see in film today. Who would believe that a child under that pressure could be so gracious? I love when Shirley as Sarah does snap back against her bullies like taunting from Lavinia (Marcia Mae Jones). I have to say, if the film was little bit more dark, it would had work better. It remind me of a Charles Dicken's novel. The director did good on keeping his camera low down, at a child's eye-level. Also striking is his use of multiple angles which really gives dimension to the sets or highlighting a sudden change in mood. This movie was the first Shirley Temple movie to be filmed completely in Technicolor as before that, producers believe these incredibly bright lights produced so much heat that a child, Temple's age would be hurt working under such conditions. Sadly, this was her last major success as a child star. The film is easy to find since it's in the public domain due to the failure to renew its copyright registration. This means 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 or usually badly edited. Some DVDs have really extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation or more copies of the film. So watch out for that. There are countless remakes of the novel since then. In my opinion: 1995's A Little Princess directed by Alfonso Cuaron was a bit better one than this, but this Little Princess is widely considered to be one of Shirley Temple's best film and I have to agree. Enjoyable tale for children and adults alike. So check it out.
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I loved the dancing.
gkeith_114 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I loved the dancing. Arthur Treacher is totally fabulous, and so is Shirley, of course. I saw that the fantasy dancing was by Ernest Belcher, whom I knew was father of Marge Champion. I thought that the other dancing, choreographed by Nick Castle, was excellent.

Shirley looked a little old for the part, especially the part snuggling up to her father before he went away -- this looked a little smarmy. She was a little too overblown by today's standards; I felt that if her father came back in a few years she would really be a teenager and very jealous if he decided to remarry. Pity the poor stepmother with a possessive/jealous Shirley/Sara on her hands. Alas, that was not to be, however. Don't get me wrong. I have always loved Shirley. She was a darling little child.

I remembered that Ian Hunter and Anita Louise were in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," playing the Duke and Titania respectively. Of course my big crush was THE Richard Greene in "Robin Hood" (TV, 1950s). In "Princess" he was just dazzling and scrumptious. He was so cute in the fantasy scene.

Miss Minchin. What can I say? Reminded me of nasty Miss Hannigan in "Annie". I loved it when Minchin got hers in the fantasy scene. She played a great villain. She was lovely as a young lady, but in "Princess" she did not have a sympathetic part.

Beryl Mercer as Queen Victoria was so precious. I had seen her as Mrs. Dishart in "The Little Minister".

Cesar Romero was just divine. I also liked his acrobatic scenes in the movie, "Julia Misbehaves". His character was very nice to Sara in "Princess". The macaw was divine, and beautiful.

Loved the tap dancing and ballet scenes best of all. When you see my other reviews, you will notice that I am partial to this.

I cried when Sara and her father found each other.
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Shirley Temple was one of the most(cont)
dimples08 December 2001
popular child stars in the history of cinema, the number one attraction from 1935 to 1938 (Clark Gable was merely second). She was considered a genuine child prodigy, and in 1934, at the age of SIX, she won a special Academy Award for the eight big grossing films she made that year. In "The Little Princess" a fairytale set in Victorian London, Shirley plays an army waif not believing her father died in the war. She seeks him out in one of her most memorable films-touching, charming with a happy ending. Stars Mary Nash as Miss Minchin (Head of girls school, in which Shirley attends) Arthur Treacher as Bertie (Miss Minchin's brother) Not very famous child actress Sybil Jason as Becky (a servant at the school and shirley's friend) The beautiful Anita Louise as Miss Rose (a teacher at the school) And heartthob of the 30's Cesar Romero as Ram Dass (servant and friend of Shirley's)
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Offscreen Redheads
tedg15 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It is a sad fact that you only get out of stuff as much as you train your self to. In the case of movies, you must steep yourself in a few historical origins: detective stories, noir, dance. That means you have to sit through many bad movies, or at least ordinary ones, to see how the conventions developed.

"Big" 1930s movies are a must.

If you don't understand the vocabulary you use to think with, you cannot really think.

This little picture is dreadful, a sickly sweet tale told in the simplest of terms, almost as if it were for a ten year old.

But there are two things of interest.

The first is that all the things you usually expect at the end of such a movie happen in this case after the movie stops. There's a witchy schoolmarm, in one scene made up as the wicked witch from the "Wizard of Oz" of the same year. She will get burnt, we know.

There is the disenfranchised grandson who married secretly and was wounded. We know he will reconcile with his crabby but kindhearted and rich grandfather.

We have the stagestruck brother who we know will have a rewarding return to the stage. And of course the centerpiece is the bankrupt, mad, wounded Captain Crewe who we know will be restored to his riches and daughter.

There's even a hint that some relationship with Queen Victoria will ensue.

But all of this is implied, to occur after the ending placard. I know of no other example where the dramatic conventions were so closely, slavishly followed until near the end, and then so blatantly disregarded.

It shocks. It seems modern and ironic. But I suppose the explanation may simply be that someone thought the movie too long. But even the idea that such a thing would be palatable is remarkable.

The other interesting thing is the use of redheads. Now this is early Technicolor and it was widely thought that redheads would "show" better. I am doing a small study of how redheads became important in films and this Technicolor rule helped give that trend a push.

Here we have Shirley, a blond, with red coloring washed in. Her friend the teacher, Rose, is naturally red. But the most remarkable rednesses occur in a dream sequence. Shirley is in a Snow White garb, the schoolmarm as a witch. Shirley as a princess has a ballet performed to entertain her. (She appears both as the princess watching and one of the dancers.)

Every one of the dancers has had her hair dyed red. It is quite something.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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Disappointing to real fans!
sweetie_butterfly13 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
If you've ever read the book A little princess and held it dear as I have for so long, you'll too be disgusted by this movie that used the lovely book as the newest money maker for Temple.

The performances aren't bad, I'll grant that. But Miss Minchin doesn't look nearly so ugly as she ought. Neither is Miss Amelia fat, pudgy, and stupid. In fact, she's clever and not too shabby looking at all. Her boyfriend or whatever wasn't even in the book! But, worst of all, her father doesn't die. How, oh how can you make this movie and have Crewe still live?? It takes away so much of the emotion!!! And Temple hardly looks as skinny or grubby as Sara was. It's completely awful. And all of the stuff about the war...what war??? He died of jungle fever and business problems with the diamond mines. Do they even mention those? I can't remember!! If you ever loved the book A Little Princess avoid this like the plague!!
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Zanuck's Best
Ela41110 August 2007
I grew up watching Shirley Temple and whenever I watch one of her movies today, I start out thinking "this is so corny," then by the end of the movie I'm searching for a box of tissues.

In 1938, Darryl Zanuck said that this was the greatest picture he was ever associated with, and his words have stood the test of time. This movie has everything, told children's style. Even the wicked witch, Miss Minchin lets her guard down and joins in the fun and games with the children when she hears that the soldiers have been relieved at Mafeking.

This is definitely Shirley Temple's best movie, but it is also probably Arthur Treacher's best movie, too. The expressions on his face during the "Fantasy Sequence" ending as he watches Richard Greene and Anita Louise kiss are worth the price of the movie alone.

The only question is why doesn't Hollywood make movies this corny today?
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An OK Shirley Temple movie....
alliesmom9720 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
but NOT "The Little Princess". The movie is another cute Temple film, but it is not faithful to the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, on which it is supposed to be based.


One of the most interesting parts of the book was Sara Crewe adjusting to the loss of her father and the Indian gentleman's search for the daughter of his late business partner and friend. The Temple version totally changes the ending, with Sara finding her father alive at the end. Also, the makers felt the need to add "drama" by adding a "chase" scene where Sara is being pursued by the police.

The book was excellent and would have made a wonderful film as it was.
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Beautiful Technicolor film
preppy-32 May 2003
Shirley Temple's first color film. She plays a rich girl in an exclusive boarding school, whose father is suddenly killed in the Boer War (a 1920s British war). She becomes a pauper and the evil headmistress (Mary Nash having a GREAT time) forces her to work in the kitchen to earn her keep. Temple refuses to believe her father is dead and searches the hospitals for him. Can you guess what happens next?

Thoroughly predictable but a good movie. The script is very well-written (I got so caught up in the story I almost cheered out loud when Temple gave an obnoxious classmate her comeuppance!) and the Technicolor photography is just beautiful--even in the faded color print I saw. There's always something gorgeous to look at.

The acting is surprisingly not bad--except for Temple. I have nothing against her (really--how could you?) but she had played this poor suffering little girl once too often--and it shows. I never believed her for one second--I was totally unmoved by her four crying segments. Still, she doesn't destroy the movie and she's lots of fun in a cute dream fantasy and she really comes to life while dancing and singing.

So, it's well worth catching. A great family film.
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