Heidi (1937)

Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

Heidi Movie Review

Heidi is a 1937 family drama film starring Shirley Temple. It is a very disappointing, at times even annoying adaptation.

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Well, I’ve always had a sheet and coverlet,

but if there aren’t any,

I could sleep under the hay

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

I am a big fan of the book which is why this film adaptation disappointed me immensely. It couldn’t even be considered an adaptation, that’s how much they changed and ruined the source material. Whereas the book is all about the Alps, religion and of course the various benefits of the country, this film is all about Frankfurt and Fraulein Rottenmeier. So ridiculous.

The core of the movie is the relationship between Heidi and her grandfather and that was great. That is the only aspect of it that stayed true to the original and even accentuated their love a bit more which was wonderful to witness. But there is no Peter here whatsoever which is just super frustrating and of course the message is all wrong. They missed the point of the novel entirely. The book showcases the strengths and health benefits of living in the country and Clara heals just as she spends some time in the Alps, but here she heals in the house due to the help from Heidi. I do not understand how could the filmmakers be this clueless. It really bothered me.

Let’s talk about the characters. I really liked Heidi. She isn’t whom I imagined in the book, but Shirley Temple is so wonderful that she elevated the role. I realized watching her why she was so popular during the thirties. Not only is she cute, but so charismatic and obviously talented too. Jean Hersholt also did a really good job and the role was great.

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

But all of the other characters are all wrong. Clara is actually better developed than in the book, if a bit too old. But Detie is ridiculously villainous and of course Fraulein Rottenmeier is just silly. She was too over-the-book in the book itself, but here she was written as a straight off villain! She is so evil and so horrible that she became a cartoon character. And an overemphasis on her is what killed this movie. Andrews the butler is solid and sometimes even funny, but all of the other characters are underutilized.

Heidi is actually very well filmed. I really liked the sets, they looked wonderful. Both the village and the mountain looked great which is why the decision to feature more of Frankfurt felt so disappointing. It is well edited and well acted and all around very well made. The humor is interestingly quite solid and some of the moments between the girls were quite charming and heartwarming.

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

They just missed the book’s point which is why it frustrated me. But if you watch it separately from the book (as you basically should as most of it is just way too different to even be considered as an adaptation), it is actually solid and much better than when you compare it. I do understand what they were trying to do as they wanted a shorter, well structured movie, but it still ended up being childish instead of childlike and that is a major difference. The book is sweet and meaningful, but the movie, no matter how well made, is overly cartoony, simplistic and just plain silly at times. I do not hate this movie as it serves its purpose, but as an adaptation, it failed miserably and left me wishing for much more.

The 1937 adaptation of Heidi is incredibly disappointing. Yes, it is very well made, sometimes charming and humorous and Shirley Temple is lovable and she gave a respectable performance, but this movie failed on almost every level as an adaptation because they focused on all the wrong things, they entirely missed the point of the novel and some aspects felt either silly or just downright cartoony.

My Rating – 3

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Posted in 1930s, 1937, Drama, Family, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , .

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