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Madeline

210 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, twelve little girls lived in two straight lines. The smallest one in rain or shine was the fearless Madeline (Hatty Jones), and she is the heroine of this family comedy based on Ludwig Bemelmans' classic book series about a Parisian schoolgirl andher classmates.

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The schoolgirl adventures of Madeline, a flame-haired orphan, are lovingly adapted from Ludwig Bemelmans's classic children's books. His sly and witty writing is transferred to this first-rate film, one that should not be thought of merely as childhood entertainment. Spunky Madeline is most adept at finding trouble. She is also a quick-witted and likable child who can solve almost any problem. Her latest scheme is to keep her school, which is also her home, from being sold by its owner, the recently widowed Lord Covington (Nigel Hawthorne). Unlike most youthful movie fare, this adventure boasts high production values that wisely include colorful Parisian locations. Hatty Jones is all spunky self-sufficiency and sweet innocence in the title role, and Frances McDormand is quite humorous as the stern school-mistress, Miss Clavel. --Rochelle O'Gorman

Special Features

  • Photo Gallery
  • Includes Madeline Cartoon (nominated for Best Short Subject-Cartoon Oscar in 1952)
  • Weblinks

Product Details

  • Actors: Frances McDormand, Nigel Hawthorne, Christopher Plummer, Tracey Lee Smythe, Stevie Vallance
  • Directors: Daisy von Scherler Mayer
  • Writers: Jennifer Flackett, Ludwig Bemelmans, Malia Scotch Marmo, Mark Levin
  • Producers: Allyn Stewart, Pancho Kohner, Saul Cooper
  • Format: Anamorphic, Full Screen, Color, Dolby
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 15, 1998
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767819659
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,918 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Madeline" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Horner on March 28, 2002
Format: DVD
Madeline is a slight but utterly charming film taken from the children's books by Ludwig Bemelmas. It does not possess the dramatic content of The Secret Garden or A Little Princess, but it's free of the cynicism of the modern five-year old, as in The Rugrats Movie. It has an innocence which is downright old-fashioned. I liked it, and I am cynical and somewhat over the age of five.
Aren't the best stories about little girls often about orphans? That's what bright, adorable eight-year old Madeline is, as are her eleven schoolmates in a small private school in Paris. Usually the students dress alike, but they have several outfits. There are some wonderfully colorful scenes of the young ladies exploring the City of Lights. All have distinct personalities, which causes them to disagree on many subjects. This makes for some charming bits of dialog.
In charge of this group is the wise and tolerant nun, Miss Clavell, and the cold, lonely Lord Covington, whom the girls refer to by such names as Lord Coo Coo Face. These two characters are played by an American treasure, Francis McDormand, and a British one, Nigel Hawthorne. McDormand won an Oscar for Best Actress in Fargo, while Hawthorne was nominated for Best Actor in The Madness of King George. This picture is more of a holiday than an acting job for these major talents, but it's always nice to see them.
Madeline is spirited and exuberant. She gets into one mess after another. She winds up in the hospital, falls into the River Seine, nearly destroys the Spanish Embassy, smuggles a dog into the school and finds herself accidentally kidnapped by circus clowns. As directed by Daisy Von Scherler Mayer and portrayed by the delightful Hatty Jones, Madeline is never seen as a bad girl. She's simply a very bright and curious one.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Parents, you will love this movie. My four year old (and I) have seen it about 20 times already, and we limit TV to 30-60 minutes a day.
There are only 2 scary parts: Pepito wears a red devil mask and says "boo" to the girls who have sneaked into the kitchen; Pepito and Madeline are kidnapped by Pepito's tutor. I know the latter sounds terrible, but for some reason, it was not terrifying to my daughter. (We almost always watch with her.) This beats Disney the frightening animated movies in many ways. (Mary Poppins is a terrific exception.) There was one "damn" that I counted.
This was beautifully written, directed and acted.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on November 8, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
A really exquisite movie that will make you laugh, cry, and keep putting it on again for more

The movie is about a girls school in Paris and the adventures of 12 adorable little girls, with the cutest and most interesting of all being the plucky flame haired little tyke, with a heart of gold Madeline (Hatty Jones).

With adventures taken from the timeless books, including little Madeleine's appendicitis, and her rescue from the water by the golden retriever Genevieve, the centerpiece of the story is the battle of the girls and their loving guardian Miss Clavel (Frances McDormand) to keep their school and their dog, against the cruel plans of Lord Covington (Nigel Hawthorne) and also foiling a thuggish tutor cum kidnapper Leopold (Ben Daniels)

This is really beautiful, not only for kids, but for all young at heart aged 2 to 122 years of age.

There are just so many wonderful memorable heart-stealing scenes, funny cute and poignant.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 16, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I don't watch many movies, and have recently lost my taste for kids' movies in particular--which are also the few movies which don't have gratuitous sex, violence, and cursing. This movie manages to transcend genres, a witty film that those who have outgrown the "Madeleine" cartoons will enjoy.
Madeleine, played by the excellent Hatty Jones, is a little French girl at a boarding school in France, along with eleven other girls (also flawlessly acted) and their teacher Miss Clavel (Frances McDormand). The movie follows her clashes with the Spanish ambassador's son, Pepito, and with Lord "Cuckooface" Covington, the man who owns the school upon the death of their sponsor--and who wants to close it down; also with such problems as a ransom plot, and the loyal dog Genevieve.
Madeleine purists should be warned: this movie is not just a live-action version of the book stories. The movie exists as a series of vignettes loosely based on the books, such as Madeleine's appendectomy and her rescue by Genevieve. Two of the central plots are not in the books, however: Lord Covington's wish to sell the school, and the kidnapping plot concerning Pepito. Occasionally dialogue will be lifted (a difficulty, given the almost complete lack of REAL dialogue) such as Miss Clavel's midnight "Something is not right" or Madeleine's defiant "pooh pooh!"
The actors and script contain the necessary amount of innocent cuteness and comedy (the visits of the various ambassadors to the school) while also having poignancy. One thing that will irritate Madeleine purists is Madeleine's family situation in this movie, but it does give her the ability to interact with Lord Covington.
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