The Little Prince (1974)

Genres - Fantasy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy, Musical Fantasy  |   Release Date - Nov 7, 1974 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - UK  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Considering the talent associated with The Little Prince, it's something of a surprise that the movie is no better than it is. Part of the problem is that the source material itself is so delicate that even small false steps have large negative consequences -- and the film is filled with false steps, large and small. Although Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe crafted a hummable and entertaining score, it is not among their best work; worse, its tone and style are frequently at odds with the story. It doesn't help that most of the numbers are not staged imaginatively and often seem fragmented. The major exception is Bob Fosse's sly and sinuous snake dance, which is the highlight of the film and a gem by itself. Gene Wilderis also a delight as the Fox, and Steven Warner is appropriately cute as the title character. Unfortunately, Richard Kiley is a bit of a bore as the Pilot; to be fair, he is not helped by some of the dialogue and by the difficulty of making believable a story that onscreen is blatantly obvious in its use of symbolism. Director Stanley Donen is off his form here; even his usual sleek visual style is missing, replaced with a gritty, grainy look that is not attractive.