One of star Shirley Temple's signature films, Heidi was hugely popular with audiences upon its release. Modern viewers are likely to have a more varied reaction to it, as Temple's style strikes many today as being overly broad or ultra-cute. That said, even those who are not generally counted among "the Shirley camp} will probably find Heidi to their liking. For one thing, the original children's story that is its basis is hard to resist. Granted, it has been "tear-jerked" up a bit for Temple, and a few musical numbers (and a chase scene) which don't really fit the feel of the novel have been shoehorned in. But for the most part, this is a good adaptation, and it fits the star very well. Director Allan Dwan showcases his little star very well, giving her a chance to show off her talents in a variety of areas, and playing up the drama of the story in a simple, straightforward manner that is quite effective. Jean HErsholt comes across very well as the crusty grandfather whose heart Temple melts, and there are also good turns from Arthur Treacher, Mady Christians and Sidney Blackmer. The songs, if perhaps not well integrated, are enjoyable, and the production values are good.
by Craig Butler review