Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
26 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Excellent Adaptation of Childhood Classic
Ron Oliver8 April 2000
The Earl of Dorincourt, lonely in his great castle, has grown old. Now, with the death of both of his sons, he sends for his only grandchild to be with him. This is an innocent boy living in New York City with his American mother. Sweet-tempered and beloved, the earnest young child knows nothing of the crusty, fierce old lord in England, or of the wonderful changes about to happen in his own life, now that he is LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.

This is David O. Selznick's wonderful & lavish retelling of the classic children's story by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Much effort was put into getting the details just right. Sentimental? Yes, but honest sentiment, with emotions straight from the heart.

Freddie Bartholomew & marvelous Sir C. Aubrey Smith are picture perfect in their roles as young Fauntleroy & his grandfather. There may never be a finer male child actor than Master Bartholomew and Sir C. was the epitome of the English aristocratic tradition. Two champion scene-stealers, they work together beautifully.

The rest of the cast is both extensive & uniformly excellent: Dolores Costello Barrymore, Henry Stephenson, Guy Kibbee, Jessie Ralph, Una O'Connor, Constance Collier, E. E. Clive, Lionel Belmore, Eily Maylon & Mickey Rooney. Film mavens will spot uncredited appearances by Mary Gordon as a churchgoing villager & Leonard Kibrick as one of Fauntleroy's Brooklyn tormentors.

Sir Hugh Walpole, the celebrated English novelist, wrote the screen adaptation.
33 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The vintage adaptation of the famous novel with two sensational boys , Bartholomew and Rooney
ma-cortes16 May 2006
1880 , Brooklyn , New York , a poor and fatherless boy (Freddie Bartholomew) is living with his mum (Dolores Costello). A sender (Henry Stephenson) communicate them which he turns out to be the only state heir to the earl of Dorincourt (Sir C. Aubrey Smith) . He then leaves his friends (Mickey Rooney and Guy Kibbee) and set out for England as the long-lost heir to his grandpa and a British dukedom . But the grandfather is a grumpy and crusty nobleman and the problems are always cropping up . Then , little Lord Fauntleroy must try to overcome the cold and grouchy lord .

Classic and the best version based on known novel by Frances Burnett with elitist and sincere interpretations from Bartholomew , Aubrey Smith , Rooney , enough to make the creaky ancient tale actually works . Freddie Bartholomew had starred ¨Anna Karenina¨ and ¨David Copperfield¨ but his greatest success resulted out to be this film . Dolores Costello , married to John Barrymore , plays the lovable mummy in an affected and forced acting . Sir C. Aubrey Smith is magnificent as the bitter-grumbler and unsentimental count . Una O'Connor , as always , plays a maid with her ordinary gestures and grimaces . For comic relief , as usual , appears Mickey Rooney giving a hilarious and sympathetic acting . This was originally made in black and white with an excellent cinematography by Charles Rosher but there is also available in computer-colorized version and the musical score was composed by the classical musician Max Steiner . Director John Cromwell worked a lot with the great and powerful producer David O. Selznick and seems largely to have been content to follow his instructions , though he was always loath to allow too much sentimentality as happens on the sometimes heavily relationship between mother-son and grandfather-grandson . Due to the demise of O.Selznick , this movie is now in the public domain . The picture was remade for television in 1980 by Jack Gold with Alec Guinness and Rick Schroder and in 1976 by Paul Annett and 1995 with George Baker . The motion picture was immensely successful in America and around the world , it is actually an authentic and charming classic movie .
29 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good Adaptation With A Very Good Cast
Snow Leopard19 January 2006
This is a good adaptation of the story of "Little Lord Fauntleroy", with a very good cast that brings the characters to life in a believable and entertaining fashion. Besides telling the enjoyably old-fashioned family story, the movie adds some nice scenes that simply emphasize the relationships among the characters.

This is one of Freddie Bartholomew's best roles, and he seems pretty natural in the part of Fauntleroy. The adult cast features some very good performances. Dolores Costello is a good choice as the gentle 'Dearest', Henry Stephenson is well-cast as the faithful Haversham, and C. Aubrey Smith seems the very embodiment of a bad-tempered Earl.

But perhaps the best performances come from Guy Kibbee and a young Mickey Rooney, as Cedric's American friends. Their camaraderie in their scenes with Bartholomew works particularly well, and they figure in some of the movie's best moments.

The story is just the familiar old tale, with young Cedric leaving his humble but cozy existence in Brooklyn to go to England, where he must contend with his grandfather's coldness towards his mother and with other challenges. But it's the kind of story that's easy to watch over again when it is told the right way.
15 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An excellent adaptation, a bit too sentimental, but. . . ah well.
tinman196020035 May 2006
John Cromwell gets a lot of credit for this Selznick Studio release. It is only the second time (at that time) the story had been filmed. The first was a poor silent version. Although Cromwell could have developed the story a bit more, it is well cast. Bartholomew is excellent as young Cedrick and Smith is fine as the crusty old Earl who learns to love his grandson, additionally Rooney as Dick the bootblack, and Kibbee as storekeeper Hobbs are also outstanding.

Although heavy with sentimentality, Cromwell has done an excellent job of cutting out all the terrible wordiness of the novel. (Burnett writes as though she is being paid by the word and puts in way to many adjectives.) The story is well told and the scenic effects are good for their time. Unfortunately the film has not aged well and some scenes have darkened with time. Perhaps an enterprising admirer will trouble to restore this film. IF they do, hopefully they will also restore the missing scenes so the film runs its full length.

A discount film hawker (Front Row Video, Canada) has the nerve to sell copies of the film (claiming a running time of 1:42) that are so butchered, that two conversations are cut right in the middle with a change of scene. Digiview Productions who states on the front cover "Sometimes the price we pay is too high" and charges only a dollar for their DVD version, has been caught with their foot in their mouth. They only charge a buck, but even that is too much for the hacked up 92 minute version of the film they sell.

For purists, I urge you to find a complete copy of this well done film. THe only way you can enjoy something is to see all of it.
14 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
shneur1 April 2006
They just don't make 'em like this anymore. You can take all your Culkins and Woods and Osments and roll them into one, and they still couldn't shine the shoes of Freddie Bartholemew (as Mickey Rooney does in this film). The difference, I believe, is that these contemporary performers think of themselves as CHILD actors, where Bartholemew and his contemporary Shirley Temple thought of themselves as ACTORS -- just as Rooney's character thought of himself as a BUSINESSMAN. The effect is palpable: you just can't fake being a real person. This of course is the familiar story of an American boy in the 1880's who learns he is the heir to an English earl and must go live with the old bloke, who parenthetically hates his mother, in an old castle. Needless to say, it is the earl who is transformed by the strength and purity of the boy's character, and not the intended reverse. Every scene and every line in this film is perfect, and if it is a "period piece," then I say we'd be so much better off if we could return to that "period."
38 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great British/American partnership---once again.
knutsenfam23 November 2005
Two great 1930's child actors, Freddie Bartholomew and Mickey Rooney, play Little Lord Fauntleroy--Cedric Errol, and streetwise American friend Dick Tipton respectively. (Part British Ceddie fights the bullies--and Dick Tipton runs to help...they fight together. A preview of what a lot of Brits & Americans did in WWII a few years after this film!!!)

Also watch for Sir C. Aubrey Smith as the definitive hostile old Lord Dorincourt, who is charmed and warmed by his newly-met half American grandson's unconditional love. Character actor Guy Kibbee also seems made to play staunch anti-aristocrat American Silas Hobbs. If you read the book (free online), the movie fits it well!

Did you know the book LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY was an incredible late 19th century "hit"? Some statesmen actually credit this tale of reconciliation between an old Earl and his half American grandson with improving the then-strained 19th century British-American relationship.

Drew Barrymore's grandmother Dolores Costello Barrymore plays Cedric's charming American Mother.

While this film needs a sound and picture cleanup, it is still worth the watch!(TO YOU FILM PEOPLE--LOTS OF PEOPLE LIKE THIS OLD FILM. CAN'T SOMEONE CLEAN UP THE PICTURE & SOUND?)
19 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Much better than I expected.
Space_Mafune6 March 2008
A nine year old Brooklyn boy nicknamed "Ceddie" (Freddie Bartholomew), beloved by all who know him due to his kindly nature, finds himself in for a most unexpected change of lifestyle when he learns he's to be heir to the estate of his grandfather (C. Aubrey Smith), a British Earl and has to move in with him. A bigger challenge for the boy to overcome though is to bring down the barrier between his stubborn, set in his ways grandfather and Ceddie's mother "Dearest" (Dolores Costello), who the Earl resents his son marrying as she's an American.

This one really grabs you by the heartstrings and doesn't let up. Freddie Bartholomew is simply wonderful as "Ceddie", wonderfully capturing his character and winning over the viewing audience's hearts in fairly short time, no easy feat for a child star. C. Aubrey Smith too is just marvelous as the crotchety old grandfather who finds his stubborn, hard-hearted, icy exterior being worn away just by being in the presence of such a terrific young lad who loves him unconditionally. Dolores Costello too was nicely cast and delivers the goods when she's called upon to do so. It's the likable performances given by these stars that make this a real winner in that we're truly made to care about these characters and what happens to them.
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A priceless Gem...
yddsp@aol.com3 May 2008
This "GEM" of a film should be digitally remastered to preserve its cinematic integrity. The audio seems a bit "washed" and scratchy and some video portions skip and flutter a bit. This is a shame considering the quality of this fine production. Freddie Bartholomew is precious in this role and was a fine actor in his own right. There is an immediate chemistry generated between him and C. Aubrey Smith. From the outset there was no clash of generations, in fact quite the contrary, they got along swimmingly! It's just too bad that the Earl shunned Dearest right off, but I guess living alone and being lonely would take its toll on anyone, especially since his son married against his wishes. In any event, there should be more movies with actors of this caliber, especially nowadays when the world could really use a great "G" rated film without all the animation and special effects. This should be required reading in schools, if for nothing else, for the lesson in humility. GREAT FILM!!!
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Opinion of the current condition of a Selznick classic
Rlgarstjr27 July 2007
This altogether lovely, exquisite period piece represents Hollywood filming at its height, no doubt. But what almost destroys its timelessness is the terribly bad condition of the film, reportedly taken from a television showing some years ago, complete with some of the worst damage I have ever seen in an old Hollywood classic. The memory of David O. Selznick deserves better than this shoddy monument to his great vision of the Burnett book. It is simply unforgivable that various "discount" houses continue to offer this and so many other dreadful copies of great films to a gullible and unsuspecting public. The complete restoration of this film is LONG overdue. And the various slashing of scenery, dialogue, for whatever greedy reason, is appalling, just appalling. After having seen so very many films on VHS and now DVD over many years, I submit that this is the most heartbreaking kind of butchery of a great, noble effort of any of the great directors and producers in the long history of American filming. Please, won't someone - the AFI, TCM, restoration companies, ANYONE - step up and lovingly bring this lovingly created film back into the sunshine of clarity, wholeness and beauty???!!! I have little faith in our rapidly decaying culture as we enter the new century, especially when such travesties occur. Once again, there is absolutely NO valid, logical excuse for this. Sorry for popping off so much, but I have watched it all too many times before. To use an offensive word appropriate for my feelings - it's bullshit...
26 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Shameless but expert heartwarmer
rfkeser28 November 1999
Break out the insulin! This antique heartwarmer, awash in tears and goodness, is risibly sentimental, but David Selznick made it an expert entertainment as well. Plucky Freddie Bartholomew is just about irresistible as the Brooklyn boy who becomes an earl. Melting hearts left and right, he wins over his crusty grandfather, becomes a philanthropist in a sailor suit, and fights the local toughs to prove he is NOT a sissy! C.Aubrey Smith seemed born to play the venerable old gentleman, although he relies a bit too much on acting with his monocle. Mickey Rooney stands out as the loyal Brooklyn shoeshine boy. This is the film to watch if you've never actually heard anyone say, "Cheezit, the cops!"
19 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Old-fashioned, quaint and mushy - but it works.
BadWebDiver9 January 2004
This is an example of the type of film where I reckon all the characters act like they know they're in a famous novel. The style and delivery is VERY self-conscious and prosaic, with everyone declaiming their lines in a very "noble" fashion (sort of like the "traditional" delivery of Shakespeare).

C Aubrey Smith is by far the most interesting performer in this story, his irascible nature adding some much-needed bite to the movie. Mickey Rooney is also very memorable, showing once again he was a very dynamic and versatile child actor, handling comic and dramatic scenes very well - even in the same film. The mark of a true consummate performer.

I would rank him as a definite child prodigy. (You should also check him out in YOUNG TOM EDISON for another example of this)

I actually think the 80s tele-movie with Ricky Shroder and Alec Guiness worked slightly better than this version does; the characters are a lot more casual in their delivery, and the story flows better. But this is a pretty good version on its own terms any rate.
13 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Little Lord Fauntleroy 1936 Edition
Kathey-728-8675502 May 2010
My sister and I just finished watching the movie again. It is one of our favorites.

Not only do I give it a #10 rating - I also give a rating to infinity.

I grew up on the 'edge' of earlier, more sane days of our country and world - at least the first few years were more sane, even though it was after WWII.

I saw enough of the kind of family life that Cedric had with his Mom, and the love and kindness shown, to gratefully remember it. My Mom continued to show me and my siblings, and others, the same kind of love and caring that Ced's mother showed him and others, with such love, kindness, and gentleness, this present world knows little, if anything, about - and today's world is really missing a lot.

All generations has it's good and bad sides, and good and bad people. The kind of morals and love which this movie showed, shows what the majority of society believed and lived, which made life more sane, not perfectly so, but more so. What today's world is missing out on.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Charming precious film of the 30's
Atreyu_II11 December 2011
This film, although almost unbelievably dated, is a work of fine quality and utterly charming. It certainly is something special when it comes to the plot.

This is the story of a little boy with a normal life who could have never imagined he was a heir of the title Earl of Dorincourt. Dutty calls this boy. Make no mistake: this is an endearing story. This fine-mannered curly-haired little lord captivates the Earl so much that the austere old man has a change of heart. He truly cares for this boy in a way he never though he could care about a child.

Freddie Bartholomew's special acting as the Little Lord Fauntleroy is simply divine. Dolores Costello too is divine as "Dearest". As for C. Aubrey Smith, his acting as the old Earl is captivating. Mickey Rooney is hilarious as Dick Tipton.

This should definitely be on Top 250.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A very good film, but a little aged, of course
pschwens11 August 2008
Just a brief comment for now, of all the versions that I watched of Little lord Fauntleroy filmatisations, this one in my opinion features the best fitting actors if you compare with the book. And shining gloriously at the top is Sir C. Aubrey Smith (the old Earl - Cedric's grandfather). No other actor that I have seen so far comes closer to portraying the old Earl as gruff and cantankerous as he comes across in the beginning of the book. A slight minus is the low technical quality of the film, but being made in 1936 it is not bad all things considered. I might add that this was the first filmatisation that I watched and thus my opinion might be a little biased but I think that this film is still on the top shelf in terms of overall quality, a true classic. Don't miss it if you have the opportunity to watch it.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A thoroughly enjoyable classic.
MartinHafer31 December 2010
"Little Lord Fauntleroy" is a tale about a lonely but extremely gruff old English Lord discovering that his estranged grandson in America is a wonderful child. It also includes the boy teaching the man humility and gentleness along the way.

This is the third version of this story that I have seen and the second one I've seen recently. While I am sure there are other versions of this classic tale out there as well, I can't imagine any of them being better than this lovely 1936 version.

Even with the ridiculous casting of the very English-sounding Freddie Bartholomew in the lead (he's supposed to be an American), the film is just wonderful. C. Aubry Smith is delightful as Bartholomew's gruff grandfather, but everyone else in the film also seemed so well-cast. This, combined with great sets, direction and the full David O. Selznick touch make this a terrific film for all ages. One not to be missed.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Selznick International Pictures Takes Off First Class
wes-connors3 January 2010
In 1880s Brooklyn, prissy Freddie Bartholomew (as Cedric "Ceddie" Erroll) celebrates his birthday by receiving a beautiful "highwheeler" from widowed mother Dolores Costello (as "Dearest" Erroll). When young Mr. Bartholomew takes the bicycle out for a ride, he is roughed-up by local bullies. But, Bartholomew fights back; and, he receives help from a swell pal, shoeshine boy Mickey Rooney (as Dick Tipton).

Dusting themselves off, the lads listen to grocer Guy Kibbee (as Silas Hobbs) rail against "British aristocracy," after learning of their arrival in town. The British are coming, ironically, to take Bartholomew home to England. As it turns out, Ms. Costello's once denounced late husband fathered the only heir to the title "Little Lord Fauntleroy". And, Bartholomew must prepare to inherit grandfather C. Aubrey Smith's Earlship.

In England, young Bartholomew (representing American idealism) clashes with gruff Earl Smith (representing British aristocracy). While that storyline reaches an obvious conclusion, there are others that make this film significantly more interesting than expected. Based on the classic story by (underrated) writer Frances Hodgson Burnett, it conveys some of the novel's nuances well, cleverly intertwining class, sex, and politics.

In the 1930s, nobody could put a production together like David O. Selznick, and this is one of his best. As usual, they start with a perfectly cast lead. In one of his best parts, Bartholomew fits "Little Lord Fauntleroy" like a glove; he's even better "suited" to the role than was Mary Pickford (in 1921's version). Bartholomew was riding high after supporting Greta Garbo in Selznick's masterfully realized "Anna Karenina" (1935).

Mr. Selznick liked to lure legends back before the camera, and succeeds with Ms. Costello; certainly, film-goers in 1936 couldn't help but be impressed with her billing - "Dolores" (a star on her own) "Costello" (as in Maurice) "Barrymore" (as in John) - the latter was used despite the fact that Dolores had recently divorced John Barrymore. Times change; nowadays, C. Aubrey Smith will raise more critics' bushy eyebrows.

You also get Mr. Kibbee, providing seasoned counterpoint for the upper-crusted Mr. Smith, and similarly dignified Henry Stephenson (as Havisham). Kibbee's last words reveal the story's one real downer, but he handles the role expertly (and, you see the seeds of Bartholomew's likely post-pubescent rebellion). Watching old/young soul-mates Kibbee and Mr. Rooney perform together is a delight; and, Rooney is likewise marvelous.

By the way, note director John Cromwell's simple, but stately, direction; smoothly tracking, he moves the story perfectly. Mr. Cromwell and the Selznick crew make the film into one of the era's better-looking productions. With photography by no less than Charles Rosher and music by Max Steiner, it's unfortunate this lost "Best Picture" received no award notices. If Selznick produced it at MGM, there'd have been nominations.

The well-staged street scenes and beautiful sets are obviously highlights, with the opening sequences most impressive - but also noteworthy are simpler scenes. For example, later in the production, as Rooney and Kibbee shine each other's shoes, a singular paperboy is added to the background. Note the horse-drawn carriages, storefronts, and passersby throughout - this film is richly detailed, but never over-decorated.

Taking a trip further down the credits, watch for great expressions from maid Una O'Connor (as Mary); the extraordinary Constance Collier (as Constanzia Lorridale), who inspired Joan Crawford and other legends; bratty Jackie Searl (as Tom Tipton), who gave Bartholomew a run for his money; lovable scene-enhancing Jessie Ralph (selling apples); and, listen for Helen Flint (as Minna Tipton) to exclaim, "What a hole!"

********* Little Lord Fauntleroy (4/2/36) John Cromwell ~ Freddie Bartholomew, Dolores Costello, Mickey Rooney, Guy Kibbee
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Expert rendering of a classic sentimental tale...
Doylenf28 March 2012
Freddie Bartholomew, the little British lad with the face of an angel and a sweet disposition, is the title character in this classic David O. Selznick version of the famous story. He steals your heart as he plays wonderfully touching scenes with C. Aubrey Smith whereby his character charms the gruff old man and softens his heart forever.

The plot has Smith resenting the lad because he thinks so little of the boy's mother, through a misunderstanding of her true character. All of these things are swept aside by the time the story reaches its conclusion, with boy, mother and grandfather all reunited for a happy ending.

I have to say that C. Aubrey Smith, the venerable old actor who stole scenes in many a British film, is at his finest in this particular role. Using his bushy eyebrows and monocle for great effect, his expressions of anger, joy, surprise or stern contempt are beautifully executed. What an actor! I don't think he ever showed such range in any other of his memorable character roles.

Never for a moment intimidated by his gruff grandfather, Freddie stands up to him in scene after scene, matching him for pure professionalism. He too delivers a standout performance as the polite but resolute lad who worships his loving mother (Dolores Costello) whom he calls "Dearest."

Mickey Rooney and Guy Kibbe are excellent in good supporting roles.

John Cromwell's detailed direction is superb for this charming, if old-fashioned tale played to perfection by Freddie Bartholomew and C. Aubrey Smith.

Notice how Cromwell even fleshes out background scenes with a single paper boy working hard to attract buyers while adding reality to a street scene focused on two other characters in the forefront.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A sweetheart of a movie
tomomite14 February 2021
If you enjoy a movie filled with goodness you'll like this film. I'd always thought little Lord Fauntleroy was a rich, good for nothing little snot. Well,I was wrong. The character in this film is sweet, kind, and generous. Is he your typical nine year old? No! not even close, but don't worry too much about that because you won't carry after awhile. You'll get lost in a warm hearted story filled with love. Give it a try if you like old movies.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Freddie is such a doll
HotToastyRag3 November 2019
Freddie Bartholomew is such a doll! It sure is a head-scratcher why he never received a Juvenile Oscar, but here at the Rag, we were proud to give him two Juvenile Rags in 1935 and 1936. With his adorable mannerisms and sweet innocent style of speech, he was perfectly cast in Little Lord Fauntleroy, a delightful classic.

Freddie lives with his mother Dolores Costello in a poor area of New York City. He has poor friends, Mickey Rooney, Jessie Ralph, and Guy Kibbee, but when he learns he's the heir to Earl C. Aubrey Smith, he's swept away to England and to a new world. There are so many sweet scenes in this movie, it's hard to pick one to describe, but one of my favorites is immediately following the news of his good fortune. He asks his benefactor, Henry Stephenson, for a small sum of money before he leaves America, and rather than spend it on himself, he buys each of his friends a present to remember him by. Each present is thoughtful, and his goodbye scenes with Mickey, Jessie, and Guy are very touching.

In England, he's acquainted with his grandfather, the gruff C. Aubrey, while his mother is banished to a separate cottage. Freddie tries to adjust to his new family member, as well as his new responsibilities as an heir, but he misses his mother terribly. Yes, you'll be able to see several tearful, sweet scenes between the little lord and "Dearest". Do you think he'll be able to soften C. Aubrey and mend the old family feud? You'll have to watch one of his cutest movies to find out. He's such a doll; if you've never seen him in a movie, you'll fall in love with him after this one. For your next movie night, rent David Copperfield!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
LITTLE Lord Fauntleroy is SEVEN years old, not 12.
andylittle-1204510 October 2021
Instead of finding a suitable 7-year-old to play Cedric, they saw fit to shoehorn 12-year-old Freddie Bartholomew into the role of 7-year-old Cedric. Realizing that he'd never pass for 7, they further saw fit to corrupt Frances Hodgson Burnett's story by changing the protagonist from a 7-year-old who appears to be seven, to a "nine"-year-old who you think is 11 or 12 except that they keep saying he's nine.

The dialogue, almost all of which is taken verbatim from Burnett's work, except for substituting the word "seven" with the word "nine", was written with a a seven-year-old in mind. Cedric's words are just not nearly as significant coming from a "nine"-year-old. And what's endearing for a seven-year-old makes a nine-year-old (especially one who looks 11) a fool or a mama's boy.

And the shoehorn wielders recognized this, but, instead of casting someone age-appropriate, they decided to dig themselves deeper by concocting a scene in which Cedric is accused of being a sissy, on the audience's behalf, and gets into a fight to show his mettle. BUT the whole scene is out of character for Cedric. Cedric is kind to everyone and EVERYONE in his neighborhood loves him. The character that Ms. Burnett describes would NOT have refused to allow any of the other boys to ride on the rear step of his bicycle -- not to mention that his kind widowed mother would never have splurged on a luxury item like a bicycle when she knew Bridget and Michael were in such dire straits.

Frances Hodgson Burnett took great care to ensure that the reader of her story be keenly aware that "Cedric was between seven and eight years old", stating his age as "seven" no less than TEN TIMES during the course of her story -- eleven times, if you count it ending on what she explicitly states is his EIGHTH birthday.

Why? Because, in order for the story to work, Cedric has to be naively trusting and everybody has to find it endearing. And if he's seven -- and appears to be seven -- that's still endearing. But if he looked older, he'd be thought a fool.

That's why in Burnett's 1886 stage production of the story, Cedric is played by SEVEN-year-old Elsie Leslie instead of an older boy (making for a very pretty boy, but not a fool).

That said, almost all of the dialogue is verbatim from Burnett's story and it WOULD HAVE BEEN a really nice picture, if Freddie Bartholomew had been passable for seven and if the every occurrence of the word "seven" had not been replaced with "nine".
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Unless you see,remember me.
ulicknormanowen14 December 2020
This is a perfect choice for the family .I have a tendency to prefer this black and white version to the color 1980 remake ,except for Alec Guiness -Aubrey Smith overplays- ; more time is given to the times in NYC and to mister Hobbs ( a colorful Guy Kibbee).

Three child actors , one of whom is the lead: Freddy Bartholomew is extremely cute ,his character ,some kind of male Pollyanna , wins the neighborhood -and the audience- over ; you should hear him call his outcast mom "dearest" ;Dolorès Costello is the mom every child should have ,playing her part with an infinite tenderness and delicacy ; Mickey Rooney is well cast as the Brooklyn brat ;and Jackie Seal does quite well in a thankless part.

Some scenes such as the commoners bowing down as their masters enter the Church where the privileged have their place of honor might seem old hat for today's audience.But it works, for the "from rags -not so much ,by the way - to riches " story of this adorable boy is a fable, and his coming means the redemption of a grumpy snob fogey who discovers ,much to his surprise ,that he can bring sweet relief to his fellow men.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A classic that tugs at the heart strings
allysonhathcock1 August 2020
I used to watch this at my Grandmas all the time. It has always stayed with me. Rewatching it as an adult I can see why. The story is solid with a good moral lesson. The acting is top notch. I cry when Ceddie is saying his goodbyes to his American friends.

Freddie Bartholomew was one of the greatest child actors ever. And Dolores Costello was beautiful and a good actress. And the rest of the cast is stellar too.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Timeless adaptation of a great, simple, story.
CinemaSerf29 June 2020
This is a splendid telling of Frances Hodgson Burnett's literal tale of rags to riches. Freddie Bartholomew is "Ceddie" who is living in Brooklyn with his mother "Dearest" (Dolores Costello) when he discovers that he is the heir to a great British Earldom. With the assistance of solicitor Henry Stephenson he travels to his new stately home to meet his austere old grandfather (C. Aubrey Smith), whose heart he completely melts... It's got a few twists and turns as he must deal with another claimant to his title, but that good will out is never in doubt. Batholomew is that rarest of child actors; he is engaging - no sign of any precociousness - and together with some good contributions from Guy Kibbee ("Mr. Hobbs") and a very dapper looking Mickey Rooney ("Dick") we have a delightful story of a thoroughly good-natured young boy who gives an old man a new lease of life.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
guswhovian20 April 2020
American Cedric Erroll (Freddie Bartholomew) finds out he is now Lord Fauntleroy, and travels to England to meet his grandfather, the Earl of Dorincourt (C. Aubrey Smith).

In my opinion, Freddie Bartholomew is the greatest child actor of all time. David Selznick snagged him from MGM for this filmization of the oft-adapted novel.

Bartholomew is charming in the title role. The scenes where he says goodbye to his friends in Brooklyn before leaving for England is heartbreaking. The rest of the cast is made up of some of the finest actors of the day: Dolores Costello, Guy Kibbee, Henry Stephenson, Mickey Rooney, Una O'Connor, Jessie Ralph, Constance Collier and E.E. Clive. C. Aubrey Smith has the best role of his career as the curmudgeonly grandfather.

Like most Selznick films, the production design and costumes are flawless. Honestly, it's a shame this film isn't better known. First time viewing. 4.5/5
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY (John Cromwell, 1936) **1/2
Bunuel197622 December 2007
I was familiar with the well-regarded 1980 made-for-TV remake with Alec Guinness and Ricky Schroder of this children's classic. I wasn't expecting this much earlier version to be inferior – especially given that it was a David O. Selznick production – but, as a matter of fact, I think it was just that!

The cast is typically well-chosen – Freddie Bartholomew, C. Aubrey Smith, Dolores Costello, Guy Kibbee, Mickey Rooney, Una O'Connor – but the film as a whole fails to rise to the level of contemporary Selznick titles in a similar vein, like David COPPERFIELD (1935) and THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (1938). Bartolomew was the top male child actor of his time (before he was superseded by co-star Rooney!) in such contemporary film adaptations of children's classics as the afore-mentioned David COPPERFIELD, CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS (1937), KIDNAPPED (1938), SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1940) and TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS (1940).

The main problem here is that the story of a young New Yorker at the turn of the century who finds himself living with his aristocratic (and tyrannical) English grandfather – where his position as heir to the title is questioned by another child, subsequently exposed as an impostor – just isn't all that interesting, and frankly quite corny (especially Freddie's penchant for constantly calling his mother "Dearest" and the way the English-hating Kibbee eventually learns to tolerate them). Even so, I would still be interested in catching the Silent 1921 version with Mary Pickford playing both mother and child!

Ultimately, producer Selznick, director Cromwell and actor C. Aubrey Smith would, thankfully, fare much better on their next collaboration – the definitive screen version of another classic story, THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937; with which I intend to re-acquaint myself in the coming days).
2 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed