The Little Princess

The Little Princess

Synopsis of Movie

One of Shirley Temple’s most fondly remembered films, The Little Princess was the second film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s classic Sara Crewe (the first, in 1917, starred Mary Pickford in the lead role). The film took considerable liberties with Burnett’s original, reworking it to fit the pattern of Temple’s most successful films and adding the expected Temple dance sequence with frequent onscreen partner Arthur Treacher.

Young Sara Crewe is placed in a boarding school when her widowed father is pressed into service during the Boer War. Despite her father’s wealth, Sara treats others with respect and kindness, earning the title “The Little Princess.” But when Captain Crewe is reported killed, the school’s cruel headmistress, Amanda Minchin, reduces Sara to a life of Cinderella-like servitude.

To keep her spirits up, Sara finds friends in Indian servant neighbor Ram Dass and fellow servant Becky, and shares a fantasy dance sequence with Berite Minchin. Refusing to believe Captain Crewe is dead, Sara frequents the military hospitals, hoping to find her lost father.

The Little Princess was among the more successful of Temple’s 20th Century Fox pictures, and thanks to its entering the public domain in the 1960’s, it is also one of her most widely-seen works. Burnett’s novel has since been filmed several more times, most recently in 1995’s A Little Princess.

Movie Release History

1939 - The Little Princess

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

20th Century Fox


Sara Crewe Shirley Temple
Geoffrey Hamilton Richard Greene
Rose Anita Louise
Captain Crewe Ian Hunter
Ram Dass Cesar Romero
Bertie Minchin Arthur Treacher
Amanda Minchin Mary Nash
Becky Sybil Jason
Lord Wickham Miles Mander
Lavinia Marcia Mae Jones
Queen Beryl Mercer
Jessie Deidre Gale
Ermengarde Ira Stevens
Mr. Barrows E.E. Clive
Cook Eily Malyon

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