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The Little Princess (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 17 March 1939 (USA)
A little girl is left by her father in an exclusive seminary for girls, due to her father having to go to South Africa to fight in the Second Boer War.

Directors:

Walter Lang, William A. Seiter (uncredited)

Writers:

Ethel Hill (screen play), Walter Ferris (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley Temple ... Sara Crewe
Richard Greene ... Geoffrey Hamilton
Anita Louise ... Rose
Ian Hunter ... Capt. Crewe
Cesar Romero ... Ram Dass
Arthur Treacher ... Bertie Minchin
Mary Nash ... Amanda Minchin
Sybil Jason ... Becky
Miles Mander ... Lord Wickham
Marcia Mae Jones ... Lavinia
Beryl Mercer ... Queen Victoria
Deidre Gale Deidre Gale ... Jessie
Ira Stevens Ira Stevens ... Ermengarde
E.E. Clive ... Mr. Barrows
Eily Malyon ... Cook
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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

Taglines:

A great classic comes to life in glorious Technicolor!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hindi

Release Date:

17 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Princess See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of many films starring Shirley Temple which were remakes of Silent Era motion pictures starring Mary Pickford. Known as "America's Sweetheart" and the "Girl with the Curls," Pickford's earlier box-office hits included The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917), and The Little Princess (1917). In addition to re-purposing Pickford's films as vehicles for Temple, studio publicists re-used Pickford's persona and nicknames as a model for crafting Temple's own image as a Hollywood starlet. 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 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 Crewe: I'll do my best, dear.
See more »

Connections

Version of Matinee Theatre: Sara Crewe (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Wot Cher!
(1891) (uncredited)
aka "Knock'd 'em in the Old Kent Road"
Music by Charles Ingle
Lyrics by Albert Chevalier
Performed by Arthur Treacher and Shirley Temple twice
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quite Possibly Shirley's Best Ever!
24 May 2006 | by Snow4849See all my reviews

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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