This story has been filmed several times through the centuries. Each brings with it the strengths and weaknesses of the time period in which it was made. A few examples are:
1914 - Gerald Royston - Cedric Erroll
1921 - Mary Pickford - Little Lord Fauntleroy/Dearest
1936 - Freddy Bartholomew - Cedric `Ceddie' Erroll
1976 - Glen Anderson - Lord Fauntleroy
1980 - Rick Schroder - Lord Fauntleroy (Ceddie Errol)
1995 - Michael Benz - Cedric Errol
2003 - Aleksei Vesyolkin - Cedric
As with any story, everyone has their favorite interpretation. This is a review of the 1936 version.
Ceddie (Freddy Bartholomew) is a well meaning kid, which is wise beyond his years and very well mannered. He lives alone with his mother Dearest (Dolores Costello Barrymore.) He is the product of his environment (America depression era) where he is mentored by a wise grocer (Guy Kibbee,) and befriended by others such as the shoe shine boy (Mickey Rooney.)
Turns out that he is the long lost grandson of the Earl of DorinCourt (C. Aubrey Smith,) and heir to an estate in England. So he is "Little Lord Fauntleroy." He is removed from the only home he knows and whisked off to England. There he does not realize that his grandfather can not stand his mother (they never met) so she has to stay in another house.
All is going swimmingly until the "Real Little Lord Fauntleroy" the son of the other brother shows up. Now what will happen? Is `Ceddie' destined to be second fiddle? Will his mother go back to America? What do his old friends think when they find out? Looks like curtains for everyone.