Top positive review
116 of 118 people found this helpful
At last !
on September 8, 2006
The story in this movie is faithful to the book in almost all respects. More important, the movie is faithful to the spirit of the book. The characters are appealing, and Max von Sydow manages to play the grandfather's gruff moments without alienating the audience. Also, the screenwriter obviously learned a thing or two from the previous movie versions and incorporated some of the effective touches from those movies.
The Shirley Temple version is very good at the beginning, then the screenwriter throws the book away, and the chase scenes and the cloak-and-dagger intrigue are not only ineffective but embarrassing.
The 1952 version shortens the story but adds a nice touch of having her Aunt lie to Heidi about being able to return to the mountains.
The 1968 version almost throws the book away and the child is too old for the role, but the scenery and the music are very good.
The 1993 version reproduces most of the story of the book but throws the book away at the end. Also, the characters are totally different, even antithetical, to what they are in the book. I tried watching it a second time just to be sure and I couldn't make it through the movie.
So, this is THE version of the book.
The minor departures are the grandfather's angry reaction when Heidi returns. (Fortunately, this is only momentary.) And the walking. The movie has Clara take her first steps as a result of a situation of danger. Thereafter, however, they do put in the patient physical therapy which the grandfather practices to enable Clara to walk by the end of the summer.
A nice touch is the addition of the doctor's role in Dorfli. None of the other movie versions saw fit to put it in. This movie not only puts it in but shows why it is important. The child who plays Heidi is appealing and close enough in age.