A Little Princess [DVD] 
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When her father goes to war, Sara Crewe is forced to leave her idyllic home in India and enroll at an English girls' school. With the news that her father is lost in battle, Sara is left alone and penniless, but through the power of her imagination she brings the magic and wonder of her Indian existence to the strict regime of Miss Minchin's school.
After the critical success of 1993's The Secret Garden, Warner Bros returned to the novels of Frances Hodgson Burnett to create this 1995 adaptation of A Little Princess, which instantly ranked with The Secret Garden as one of the finest children's films of the 1990s. Neither film was a huge box-office success, but their quality speaks for itself, and A Little Princess has all the ingredients of a timeless classic. A marvel of production design, the film features lavish sets built almost entirely on a studio backlot in Burbank, California. The story opens in New York just before the outbreak of World War I, when young Sara (Liesel Matthews) is enrolled in private boarding school while her father goes off to war. Under the domineering scrutiny of the school's wicked headmistress, Miss Minchen (Eleanor Bron), Sara quickly becomes popular with her schoolmates, but fate intervenes and she soon faces a stern reversal of fortune, resorting to wild flights of fancy to cope with an unexpectedly harsh reality. Rather than label her fanciful tales as escapist fantasy, A Little Princess actively encourages a child's power of imagination--a power that can be used to learn, grow, and adapt to a world that is often cruel and difficult. It's also one of the most visually beautiful films of the 90s and creates a fully detailed world within the boarding school--a place where imagination is vital to survival. A first-class production in every respect, this is one family film that should (if it's not too stuffy to say it) be considered required viewing for parents and kids alike. --Jeff ShannonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Some scenes border on magical, all is well-photographed. The story is a trifle over-sentimental, but that's Burnett for you. It's also a little over-dramatized - but that's Hollywood for you ...
All in all, a refreshing change from Disney's childhood.
On the change of setting: I'm British, and do occasionally get irritated with Americanisation, but in this film the changed setting really didn't annoy me (partly, I suppose, because I knew from experience what a dog's dinner American productions make of English settings). The plot was changed, and it can be seen as a sanitising - the ending is happier in the film than in the book. Ordinarily this would have irritated me, but I found the ending handled so well that I didn't care. It may verge on the sentimental, but the moment when Sarah and her father are reunited is genuinely moving.
Other things have clearly changed since the original in line with changing times. The Indian characters are looked at completely differently; Becky, the serving-girl, is black. These things do not interfere - in fact, I really liked the Indian themes throughout the film.
I also preferred Sarah's relationship with Becky in the film. While in the book the author insists the girls are on the same level, and as good as each other, that doesn't seem half so true as in the film.
The film is well structured and paced, nicely shot and has satisfying dialogue and human characters (Sarah's saintliness and Miss. Minchin's wickedness are toned down a bit) I think the thing that sets this film apart from me is the beautifully handled juxtaposition of the exotic and the dreary - the sumptuous Indian colours of Sarah's former life among the New York streets.
She has to go to a strict boarding school and meets lots of new people: Lavinia (the school bully), Miss Minchin (the evil headmistress), Becky (a little coloured girl who is Miss Minchin's slave) and many more.
This film makes you laugh and cry with the brilliant acting of the talented Liesel Matthews.
This is a film the whole family can enjoy time and time again.
By Anna Wrigley-Howe, Age 9
A young girl goes to stay at a private boarding school while her father goes out to war. After hearing news of his death she is made to be a servant girl and live in the attic to pay off some of the debt. While there, she befriends the other servant girl and try to make light of the situation.
I own this dvd and I make everyone watch it. Garanteed tears at the end and giggles in the middle.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The little princess is my favourite movie possibly of all time. I always cry at the end. I'm not sure if younger children will like it and it's only now that I'm older that I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A good quality film, lots of emotion, good plot and characters.Published 2 months ago by The nursery teacher
Abit slow at the beginning but when it got going it was brilliantPublished 3 months ago by gloria lernihan