The M.O.W.'s Movie Review of The Little Princess (1939)

Rating of

The Little Princess (1939)

Weak but pretty good
The M.O.W. - wrote on 09/15/09

A soldier's daughter (Shirley Temple) is placed into an all-girls boarding school by her father (Ian Hunter), who is off to war.

Because of her father's wealth, and her charm, she is immediately sent to the head of her class and treated like gold by the majority of those in the school. However, things turn for the worse months later when her father is reported killed in action.

Now, the young miss refuses to believe that her beloved father was killed. She tries to keep all hope that her father is alive as those treat her wrong believing that she has lost all the money that supported her for most of her life.

Let me say first, that this movie is not my usual cup of tea. Shirley Temple movies are usually for young girls, which I am obviously not. I will say right off the top that this is a B movie.

Temple, in my opinion, is a legend in Hollywood, as she should be. However, she was not the perfect actress. She did a much better job than I expected her to have done in this film, but it did appear to me that she did have trouble saying a few lines. I don't know what it is, but sometimes it appears to me that struggles with a few lines. She sometimes appears to struggle getting her lines out, and the strain on her face to get the words to form is pretty evident.

As for the rest of the cast, their performances were pretty good given what they were. For the most part, the supporting characters are not developed well at all. This is most evident with the older student who belittles "Sarah" (Temple). For the most part, she was used to throw insults at "Sarah", and talk behind her back. She is basically there for little to no reason except to annoy "Sarah." For the most part, she, as well as the other girls, are mainly there as background performers used to fill the scenes.

We do get to see other characters a little bit more. But they are mostly used to advance the story -- some better than others.

There is a subplot where two of the teachers have a romantic relationship. This is under developed due to the two characters being taken out of the story for a good chunk of the movie.

The story itself drags along at a slow, boring pace for much of the movie. In these scenes, I thought the acting was very poor and boring.

The wardrobes looked pretty authentic, but was nothing special for an early Technicolor movie. For the most part, clothing and sets were of darker hues. The main colors being grey and black. Temple's perky performance, which was a trademark of her in her movies, was basically the only thing bright.

Shirley Temple movies were/are known to have some musical performances. In fact, she is known for tunes like "Animal Crackers in My Soup" and "The Good Ship Lolipop." Here we get two songs where are completely forgettable. And one of these songs gets an equally forgettable dance number.

The only reason to see this is if you are a Temple fan -- and female. There was little to nothing for the male audience. We do get a tiny police chase on foot near the climax of the movie, but it's nothing like you would see in a movie now.

However, believe it or not, I will recommend it. Providing you are renting it for your young, female child. If you have a young son, skip it.

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