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The Little Princess (1939)

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

The original source of the movie was a novel called "Sara Crewe; or, What Happened at Miss Minchin's" by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and it was published in 1888. She later adapted her book for the stage, calling it "A Little Princess" (in London, 1902) and "The Little Princess" (in New York, 1903). It was successful enough that her publisher, C. Scribner's Sons, requested that she expand her original novel to include scenes from the play. The result was the final novel, "A Little Princess; Being the Whole Story of Sara Crewe," which was published in 1905, and is the secondary source for the movie. See more »

Goofs

On the letter Sara receives from her father, it has her name spelled with an "H" at the end ("Sarah"), but on her birthday cake her name is without the "H" ("Sara"). 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

Featured in Hollywood Treasures: The Little Princess (1939) (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(1740) (uncredited)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Played often in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Has Some Very Nice Moments
7 November 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

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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