Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Unlike previous adaptations of the Johanna Spyri children's classic, this 1952 German-language version of Heidi was lensed on location in Switzerland. Elsbeth Sigmund plays the title character, who endures all sorts of hardships and setbacks before finding happiness in the form of her ex-curmudgeon grandfather (top-billed Heinrich Gretler). Isa Gunther co-stars as the crippled girl whom Heidi befriends; with her twin sister, Gunther had previously starred in the successful German farce Two Times Lotte (1950), which served as the inspiration for the 1961 Disney film The Parent Trap. Thanks to the built-in popularity of the Spyri original, Heidi managed good international booking even before it was finished. The film was the fourth effort by Praesens Productions, which had previously struck box-office gold with Four in a Jeep (1951). It was directed by Italy's Luigi Comencini, a specialist in films featuring wise-beyond-their-years children.
grandfather, invalid, orphan, Swiss [nationality]