"Based on the famous novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Shirley Temple plays the pampered daughter (Sara Crewe)of a British officer named Captain Crewe. The movie starts with scenes from 1899 and the entire movie revolves around the war going on in South Africa as seen from a British perspective. The cinematography is superb and this is Shirley's first picture in Technicolor. There are a few song and dance routines.
When Sara and her father arrive in London, England, Captain Crewe is again called away to serve his country. Since they just arrived from India, Sara must find a school quickly so her father can leave for military duty.
"Why are they sending so many soldiers daddy, if it is only going to be a little war?" --Sara Crewe
In Sara's mind, her father is invincible. She never imagines that he might not make it through the war. Since she has never been away from her father for any extended time, the separation is more difficult for her.
After a tearful goodbye, the brave little Sara must face the unkind Miss Minchin who runs the Seminary for Young Ladies. Here, reputation is of the utmost concern and due to her wealthy status, she is treated well (at first).
During her time at the school, she learns to ride the pony her father purchased for her. Goeffrey Hamilton is her riding instructor who falls in love with her school teacher Rose. Miss Minchin will have none of that and tries to break up the relationship. Sara has other ideas and is quite the little matchmaker as always.
This is a completely delightful movie which also includes a wonderful ballet scene which is quite funny and you will laugh at many jokes throughout the movie. The little maid Becky is very cute and seems to be Sara's only true friend. When something happens to Sara's father we think she will never stop looking for him.
The beauty of the Shirley Temple films is their ability to teach children something great about life. Sara's hope, optimism and polite spirit helps her to fulfill her social obligations. When someone shows her a kindness, she is quick to show them one in return. I related well to this movie as my own father had gone to India when I was very young and then took me to Africa. All I can say is I am happy he took me to Africa and didn't leave me all alone in England! He did take me to England later when I was a teenager. You will see what I mean after you see this movie. While some of the scenes are sad, you will laugh more than feel sad.
~The Rebecca Review"
Classic Treat For The Whole Family
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 12/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the Goodtimes DVD edition of "The Little Princess"(1939)...
At around 10 years old, Shirley Temple, by 1939 was a seasoned veteran. Steadily packing them into the theaters since the early thirties, her performance in "The Little Princess" will bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face.
Sara Crewe is the daughter of Captain Reginald Crewe. Growing up in her beloved India, she led a life of privilege. Constantly doted on by her loving father, trying to make up for the loss of her mother. When the Captain is called to duty in Africa, Sara is left at an upper-crust school for girls in London. Mrs. Minchin, the snobby head-mistress, treats Sara like a princess, as she knows the money will be rolling in from daddy. But life takes a sudden turn for Sara, her father is reported dead, all the money gone, and poor little Sara must work hard for her keep at the school. She is treated miserably.
Sara knows deep down though, her father is still alive. It's a poignant and heartwarming journey with Shirley, as she takes us on an emotional roller coaster to find him. Directed by Walter Lang, it's a film that has stood the test of time, and a story that may be enjoyed by the enitre family(pretty rare these days).
Shirley does some dance numbers.A delightful one with Arthur Treacher, as they cheer up the wounded soliders in the hospital. And in another beautiful dream sequence, a ballet. Adding to the story is the romance of two teachers that are pulled apart by the evil Miss Minchin. The cast speaks for itself. Ian Hunter, Richard Green, Cesar Romero, Anita Louise, Mary Nash, and the above mentioned Treacher are wonderful.
This DVD by Goodtimes is a real bargain. Don't expect a Criterion-like transfer of this 65 year old film, but a very decent and enjoyable view. The film is not pristeen. It is a bit on the scratchy side, but a very nice picture, in technicolor. The sound is very good. Always clear and distinguishable. Other then some Biographical notes on Temple there are no other special features. There are no subtitles or captions.
also found here:The Little Princess - check for best deals and availability
Go back in time and enjoy this classic treat with the whole family....Laurie
more treats from the 30's
To the Last Man [VHS] - with Randy Scott and includes a little tiny Shirley Temple in the cast
Alfred Hitchock: Jamaican Inn/Murder - two great thrillers from the master - includes a young Maureen O'Hara and an early talkie
American Madness(early Capra with Walter Huston)"
The Most Ambitious Shirley Temple Movie of Them All
Linda McDonnell | Brooklyn, U.S.A | 07/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was a very little girl, every Saturday morning featured "Shirley Temple Theatre", which is how I came to see almost every Shirley Temple movie. But every Saturday, I had the same hope, that the movie that morning would be "The Little Princess", and whenever it was, I was overjoyed. And why was that? Because I loved the Victorian setting of the movie. Here Shirley plays Sara Crewe, for the first time in her life being separated from her British officer father, who must report for duty in the Boer War. Sara is deposited in an exclusive girls school in London, where her wealth and manners earn her the monniker, "The Little Princess". Yet in spite of her advantages, Sara is a down to earth girl, with a kind and loving heart, and it is these qualities which endear her to the more sensitive inhabitants of the boarding school. Then, tragically, Sara's strength of character must be tested: on her birthday, word is received that Captain Crewe has been killed during the seige of Mafeking, and Sara is left not only an orphan but penniless to boot. The headmistress forces Sara now to be a servant in the house where she used to be treated as a princess, enduring the insults of vindictive students whom she must wait on hand and foot. What is Sara's response? She behaves like the good soldier her father trained her to be, performing her duties to the best of her ability, with one important exception: she refuses to admit that her father is dead. And so the rest of the movie concerns her stubborn insistence that her father is alive, and that she will find him again. Being a Shirley Temple movie, after all, the ending must needs be a happy one, but achieved through a very special agent--you'll have to view it to find out who. In many ways, "The Little Princess" is atypical of Shirley's movies: it is a costume drama (most of hers are set in the 1930s), there are only two dance numbers in the whole movie, and it is a relatively late Shirley picture, 1939. So while other reviewers have commented on how "cute" she is, at this point Shirley was past the really adorable phase of her career, as evident in "Bright Eyes" or "Little Miss Marker". Yet her performance in this movie clearly demonstrates that Shirley could really act, contrary to what some detractors have said about the post-babyhood Shirley. The expression on her face when the headmistress tells her she should be grateful to assume the role of servant relays shock and disbelief, and in another scene with the same woman, just as that headmistress is able to strike Sara, Shirley gives her an un-cute look that stops her cold. Her near-breakdown at the end of the movie when her fortitude receives its final test also testifies to better acting than she is generally credited with. I loved "The Little Princess" as a child; I still watch it, now with a different appreciation, as an adult. I invite you to do the same."
Pleasant-enough Temple vehicle
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 03/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After MGM'S successful Technicolor fantasy THE WIZARD OF OZ set the box office on fire, Fox decided to give Shirley Temple a big Techicolor vehicle as well. Turning, as they had done with 1937's HEIDI, to classic literature for a new story idea, they chose the classic novel "A Little Princess" by Frances Burnett.THE LITTLE PRINCESS gave Temple her first real dramatic role, as well as showing off her astute singing and dancing skills in a lavish dream sequence.Sharing the screen with Temple is a wonderful and capable supporting cast including Arthur Treacher (MARY POPPINS), Mary Nash (who also co-starred with Temple in HEIDI), Marcia Mae Jones (also from HEIDI), Anita Louise, Arthur Malet, Caesar Romero and Sybil Jason (who would go on to co-star with Temple again the following year in THE BLUE BIRD).The film is a lovingly-crafted tale of young Sara Crewe, who is sent to Miss Minchin's school for girls during the Boer War when her father is called into service. When her father is listed as missing in action, the girl is forced into labor at the school in order to repay the debt she owns to Miss Minchin.Stunning color photography, a good three years before the system was fully-developed, and an equally-colorful script engage the viewer from beginning to end.Utterly delightful, and still regarded as one of Temple's best films."
This is one of my favorite Shirley Temple movies
Linda McDonnell | 12/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike some of the other reviewers, I absolutely adore this Shirley Temple movie. It is one that brings back many memories of watching Shirley Temple movies with my sister when we were little. My favorite parts are when Shirley and her little friend wake up and see all the beautiful gifts that were given to her by the Indian guy, and when she throws the bucket of soot on the snotty Clarissa, but most of all, when she finds her "Daddy" at the end,as he keeps calling "Sara, Sara."
This one is excellent, and I highly recommend it!"