Shirley Temple in a role that seems custom-made for her, portrays the spirited young heroine of the popular children's novel, giving her a rich emotional depth and infinite charm. When her aunt tires of caring for her, orphan Heidi is taken into the Swiss mountains to live with her gruff grandfather (Jean Hersholt), a hermit who comes to adore her. But the aunt returns to steal Heidi away, selling her to a family whose invalid daughter (Marcia Mae Jones) needs a companion. Bullied by an evil governess (Mary Nash), Heidi still charms the entire household and never stops trying to return to her beloved grandfather.
One thing Shirley Temple did extremely well (besides sing, dance, and act) was turn the cranky cuddly. She'd done it effectively, two years prior, in 1935's The Little Colonel
with grandfather Lionel Barrymore. Now in Heidi
she turns her reclusive grumpy grandfather, Adolf (Jean Hersholt), into the loving sort she knows he really is. Heidi is an orphan, dumped into the Swiss Alps by self-centered Aunt Dete (Mady Christians) onto a grandfather she's never known, but they soon learn to love each other. Heidi's mercenary aunt returns and sells (!) Heidi to a cruel woman, appropriately named Fraulein Rottenmeier (Mary Nash). Adolf sets out on a quest to find his granddaughter. Meanwhile, Heidi charms Klara Sesemann (Marcia Mae Jones), the wealthy handicapped girl in Fraulein Rottenmeier's care. Look for a delightful Arthur Treacher as the Sesemann butler. There's a cute fantasy production number, "In Our Little Wooden Shoes," featuring Temple in various period costumes. Throughout Heidi
, Temple is, as always, wonderfully joyful. This is perhaps the best-known rendering of the popular children's story by Johanna Spyri (it's been filmed some 10 times). --N.F. Mendoza
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.