Classic Shirley Temple film promotes positivity.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this charming Shirley Temple classic should provide wholesome and exciting entertainment across generations. There are very few issues of concern, expect for some stern and briefly menacing behavior toward the child, but the messages of positivity will shine through. Besides the entertainment value, parents and children can discuss how Shirley Temple was one of the first child stars of the silver screen, and how she compares to today's kid celebs.
Too scary and not true to the book
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Too intense for young ones
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What's the Story?
Little Heidi (Shirley Temple) is left by her selfish Aunt Dete with her grandfather, a taciturn hermit. Through her plucky charm and positive attitudes, Heidi inspires her grandfather to be nicer and to reach out to the outside world again. But when Aunt Dete steals Heidi back to Frankfurt and leaves her with the stern and vicious Fraulein Rottenmeier, Heidi's grandfather leaves his isolated home to find her and take her back.
Is It Any Good?
While it might be arguable whether children will find HEIDI as entertaining as their parents and grandparents, what is inarguable is the period charm of this 1930's classic. Shirley Temple effortlessly steals every scene she's in (although Arthur Treacher, as the archetypal British butler, certainly comes close), and between the moments of slapstick comedy and cutesy-kid acting, there is also plenty of action in the form of sleigh chases and Grandfather's indomitable yearning to rescue Heidi from the aptly-named Rottenmeier.
It is very much a product of its time, but its entertainment value continues to span generations.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how child actors portrayed characters in the 1930s as compared to now. What are the similarities? The differences? If this film were to be remade today, who do you think would play Heidi, and how would the movie be different?
Even though the film is set in Europe and the characters are supposed to be European, many of the characters have American accents. Does this matter? Why or why not?
What are the many ways this film, made over 70 years ago, reflects the era in which it was made?
- In theaters: October 15, 1937
- On DVD or streaming: August 30, 2005
- Cast: Arthur Treacher, Jean Hersholt, Shirley Temple
- Director: Allan Dwan
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Classic
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
A timeless boy and horse film with some tense chase scenes.
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