Tagline – Shirley’s A Little Swiss Miss In The Loveliest Story of Her Career!
Starring – Shirley Temple (Heidi), Jean Hersholt (Adolph Kramer), Marcia Mae Jones (Klara Sesemann), Sidney Blackmer (Herr Sesemann), Arthur Treacher (Andrews).
Released – October, 1937
Directed By – Allan Dwan
Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Description – Heidi is a young Swiss orphan girl who is taken by her Aunt Dete to live with her grandfather Adolph Kramer. Aunt Dete will no longer be able to care for Heidi because she has accepted a job offer from a rich family in Frankfurt, Germany.
Neither Heidi, or Adolph are very happy with this new arrangement. Adolph lives alone on a mountain outside the village of Dorflo and has become a bitter recluse since his son had married against Adolph’s wishes.
Initially, Adolph refuses to even speak to Heidi unless it is totally unavoidable and Heidi refers to him only as “the grandfather.” As time passes, the pair gradually grow closer and Adolph finds his love for his granddaughter growing daily.
However, the living arrangement between to two begins to get the attention of the people in the village, with Heidi’s future becoming their primary concern. Pastor Schultz decides to pay a visit. The purpose of the visit is to encourage Adolph to enroll Heidi in the village school and to start bringing her to church.
Still deeply hurt over the loss of his son from his life, Adolph angrily orders the Pastor to leave. Once calm, Adolph realizes that the Pastor’s suggestions are what would be best for the young girl. He brings Heidi to church and the pair are warmly welcomed into the village community.
But, their new found happiness is destined to be short-lived. On Heidi’s eighth birthday, Aunt Dete returns and abducts Heidi. She will take the child back to Frankfurt with her to become the companion of Klara Sesemann, an invalid child whose wealthy, widowed father has gone away on business.
This arrangement does not sit well with the Sesemann’s housekeeper, Fraulein Rottenmeier. It is the intention of the greedy and heartless Rottenmeier that Klara remain ill so that her father will think that the child cannot live without the help of Rottenmeier and may, one day, marry her.
Rottenmeier decides to pay Aunt Dete to return the child, but after Klara insists that Heidi stay she relents. Heidi does wish to return to her grandfather and makes a deal with Klara to stay until her father returns for Christmas in two weeks.
Meanwhile, Rudolph has undertaken the 100 mile journey to Frankfurt on foot to bring home his granddaughter. Christmas Eve arrives and Klara’s father returns to find that, with the help of Heidi, his daughter Klara is learning to walk. He is delighted and totally approving of the two young girls relationship.
As for Fraulein Rottenmeier, she is busy plotting to have Heidi’s grandfather Rudolph arrested, and to sell Heidi to a family of gypsy’s.
NOTABLE: Heidi is based on Swiss author Johanna Spyri’s children’s story written in 1880.
The Alpine scenes were filmed at Lake Arrowhead, California during the summer. This proved to be a serious problem for actor Jean Hersholt whose heavy costume once caused him to collapse from heat exhaustion.
The make-believe Alpine set also caused some difficulty for young Shirley Temple who accidentally swallowed fake snow causing throat problems that required production to shoot around her for two days.
Young actress Marcia Mae Jones did such a wonderful job playing Klara in this film that she received fan mail from disabled children all over the world.
In the scene where Shirley Temple is milking a goat, and suddenly squirted with milk, was planned without the young actresses knowledge. Her wonderfully surprised reaction was 100% genuine.