Movie Review: A Little Princess Movie Comparison

DVD A Little Princess [Shirly Temple]A Little Princess, starring Shirley Temple:
This is the video version of A Little Princess that I grew up with. It’s a classic Shirley Temple movie. Though built around the original story, it is not faithful to the book but it’s charming anyway (it is Shirley Temple after all). For example, Sara (aka Shirley) is friends with Rose, a young teacher at the boarding school (not in the book), and Rose falls in love with the riding teacher (not in the books), and Miss Minchin kicks Rose out for getting engaged (obviously not in the books since Rose wasn’t in the books), etc. My pet peeve as I got older (and read the book) was that Sara’s father was still alive (he’s not in the books). Still, their reunion is sweet, and I loved it when I was younger. There’s nothing objectionable in this film.

DVD A Little Princess [b]A Little Princess, staring Liesel Matthews:
This was my second foray into the world of Little Princess movies. I had just read the book and realized that the Shirley Temple version did the story wrong, so I decided to see if the library carried a different version. (I was hoping to find one where Dad actually died and his friend rescued Sara.) This movie is a bit more accurate. The old man next door at least plays a part in Sara’s happily ever after. Miss Amelia (Miss Minchin’s sister), is particularly funny in this movie. And Becky is so sweet. My one complaint/warning about this film is that the Buddhist/Hindu culture Sara was raised in (she grew up in India) came through much more in this film than in others.

DVD A Little Princess [PBS]A Little Princess, staring Amelia Shankley
This version of The Little Princess is my most recent discovery, my favorite movie rendition of the story, and (not surprisingly!) the most accurate to the book. It was originally created for PBS and the film quality is similar to classic BBC films. It still does not adhere 100% to the books, but it comes about as close as a movie rendition can (and, yes, her father dies, and it’s his friend who finally rescues Sara from her life of drudgery). If you can get your hands on it, this is definitely the version I recommend. You’ll probably want to check with your library, though. Used copies on Amazon start at $75.

What’s your favorite movie version of A Little Princess? Did I miss any of them?


7 Replies to “Movie Review: A Little Princess Movie Comparison”

  1. We’ve seen the first 2. I like the Shirley Temple one, it’s a nice cute version (true to the book though it is not). The second one had too much Indian lore for me to appreciate it much. Plus, the ending was similar to the Temple one.

    1. Yeah, that’s why I put in the warning for the second one. It’s too bad ‘cuase the rest of the movie is sweet. But, yes, the ending bother me. That’s why I was so pleased with the third version.

  2. I watched the Shirley Temple one, and that was so cute and sweet! But I want to read the book sometime, – thanks for reviewing the two other movies as well, Leah; I shall have to check out the last one, as it sounds great. But Oh no! *tears* Ooo, that’s so sad that Sara’s dad doesn’t survive… *sniff* πŸ˜₯

    1. You kind of have to read the book to really understand this, but the version where her dad dies is actually even sweeter. In my opinion anyhow. It’s not really her Dad’s death, but the way she meets his friend and gets rescued from Miss Minchin is just more magical the way the book does it. You really need to read it!

  3. Let’s just say that I’ve only watched the Shirley Temple version before I actually
    read the book, and I was horrified when in the book her father really, truly, does
    in fact die. But, I got over it because the actual ending is just as nice. I’ll be on
    the look out for the third version; it’ll be nice to watch a more accurate version
    of the book because movies rarely(but on occasion) do the book justice(and
    vice versa, if the movie was first πŸ™‚ ) Thanks for the movie reviews!

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