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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 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

During Sara's party, Ms. Minchin is called away. The scene cuts to her in her office then back to the party where Sara is blowing out her candles. While she is making her wish, we can see Ms. Minchin walking away in the back. 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

Spoofed in Scrubs: My Princess (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Soldiers of the Queen
(1894) (uncredited)
by Leslie Stuart
Played in the opening credits and when soldiers march by to the relief of Mafeking
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One More Triumph For Our Shirley
28 April 2002 | by Ron OliverSee 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.


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