"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Book vs. Movie Review: Little Lord Fauntleroy

Hello, my readers!

Today is one of my favorite days: a birthday! This one is especially good because it would've been someone's 100th birthday! You know how I am, I get so excited about these things. And, I love to make you wait, so you'll have to go through my review of my most recent read before I tell you. Enjoy the suspense!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. These reviews are spoiler free!

Little Lord Fauntleroy - by Frances Hodgson Burnett:
A little boy, Cedric Errol, goes through some changes when he is moved from New York to England upon learning that he is going to be an Earl! His grandfather, the current earl, had a few disagreements with his son, and still has some with the boy's mother, but Cedric is his only heir. The seven year old begins his new life while still staying the kind person that he is. But, trouble looms on the horizon when it comes to their attention that something is wrong.
Genre: Children's Fiction.
Characters: 8, I'll talk about this more latter on. I have to get this out of the way first, these names are hilarious! They were the craziest things that you've ever heard. My favorite was Molyneux!
Words: 8, no bad words! I have this rating because I was getting tired of the words "dryly" and "queer" which are used a lot. The latter, though, was slightly intentional:
'"It makes me feel very queer," he said; "it makes me feel---queer."
The Earl looked at the boy in silence. It made him feel queer, too---queerer than he had ever felt in his whole life."'
Quotability: 7, there aren't any lines that I can see myself quoting over and over again, but this line was so funny because I relate to it a lot.
'"Spelling is a curious thing," he said. "It's so often different from what you expect it to be. I used to think "please' was spelled p-l-e-e-s, but it isn't, you know; and you'd think 'dear' was spelled d-e-r-e, if you didn't inquire. Sometimes it almost discourages you."'
Notes: There was also this one line, though very innocently said, cracked me up because it was so funny! Oh, Cedric! You little seven year old, you!
"I never knew any little girls, but I always like to look at them."
Content: 8, there is a tiny mention of married couples not living together, and usually that greatly concerns me, but in here I was fine with the circumstances.
Originality: 9, this is a cute little story! I can think of a few like it, but I believe that this was the first, so it gets the credit!
Good For: All kids! This teaches great lessons of being kind that would be suitable for all.
"You know you always remember people who are kind to you."
Age Range: All ages! This is one of the few books that I can think would be great for young and old alike.
Overall Score: 8!
Worth reading?: Oh, very! All the scenes make me so happy.
Will I read again?: I don't know if I'd want to read this again for my own benefit, but I now want to read it TO someone, and I hate reading out loud if that tells you anything.


Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936):
Based on: the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
In 1880's New York a little boy gets the surprise of his life when he learns that he is to be an earl! He has to move to England and will miss his friends, but he is excited to meet his grandfather, though he is confused that his mother and the Earl won't meet. Things are going very well and he is happy, but is there an even bigger surprise around the corner?
Genres: Drama, Family.
Length: approx. 90 minutes.
Costumes: 9, nothing extravagant, but nothing indecent.
Script: 10, no bad words! (Unless you count "holy mackerel!", which was used only once)
A funny part about a bike: "It has all the latest improvements!"
Crew: Directed by: John Cromwell. Written by: Hugh Walpole & Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Freddie Bartholomew as Cedric Errol, Lord Fauntleroy.
C. Aubrey Smith as the Earl of Dorincourt.
Dolores Costello Barrymore as "Dearest" Errol.
Mickey Rooney as Dick Tipton.
Henry Stephenson as Mr Havisham.
Guy Kibbee as Silas Hobbs.
Una O'Connor as Mary.
Helen Flint as Minna.
Jackie Searl as Tom.
Eric Alden as Ben Tipton.
Constance Collier as Lady Constantia Lorridaile.
Walter Kingsford as Joshua Snade.
E. E. Clive as Sir Harry Lorridaile.
Ivan F. Simpson as Reverend Mordaunt.
Virginia Field as Miss Herbert.
Lionel Belmore as Mr. Higgins.
Reginald Barlow as Mr. Newick.
Jessie Ralph as the Applewoman from Brooklyn
Cinematography: 8, there was one part that stood out to me, when someone was turning a page that turned into a new scene, but that's it. Just your standard black and white. Oh, but the horses caught both my dad's and my eye! Those where some "high steppers"! Very impressive. Extra point just for that.
Cinematography by: Charles Rosher.
Music: 7, the music didn't stand out to me. Sometimes it was peppy, other times more subdued. But, at one point the music for Auld Lang Syne was worked in and I thought it was well done.
Music by: Max Steiner.
At one point Cedric is playing Robin Hood and Una O'Connor is in the background. This was an interesting thing because Una O'Connor was in the movie made two years later The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)!
I also didn't notice until watching the movie the coincidence of Errol and Earl being so close...
Quotability: 7, there were funny lines, for sure, but not many that I would consider quoting often. This, though, was hilarious!
"I find that muffins are biscuits and biscuits are cookies!"
Content: 8, same as the book. In addition to that some kids get into a fight, but no one is hurt.
"I've promised him that if there was another war I would try to stop it." 
(This is out of context because of reasons, but I like it all the same).
Originality: 9, based on the book, so same as the book! There were a few differences, but they didn't change much. Basically just:
Cedric's age. In this he is nine instead of seven.
And another small part with his character that I mention later on.
Good For: Fans of black and white movies.
Age Range: I can't recommend this one as much as the book just because it bored me when I was little. The script isn't that interesting and you can easily lose track of what is happening. I think I might have left a little over half way the first time because I had other things to do. BUT, a little older viewers might have a longer attention span. This isn't because of content, just personal feelings.
Overall Score: 7!
Worth watching?: Yeah, probably because of the horses, to be honest.
Will I watch again?: Um, I don't know. I'd already seen it before, and it was fun to see again, but I don't feel the urge to revisit it anytime soon. But, I am interested in looking into other versions!

Well, I've kept you waiting long enough. I'm reviewing this because today, September 23rd, would have been Mickey Rooney's 100th birthday!
My favorite role of his is Mi Taylor in National Velvet (1944) which was the first movie I saw him in. But, Little Lord Fauntleroy was the second movie of his that I saw! In fact, I always think of him as either "National Velvet guy" or "Little Lord Fauntleroy guy".  Rewatching it I couldn't believe how young he was! Wow!

Some of my thoughts on both the book and the movie dealing with the characters and storyline:

At first I was a trifle irritated with the book. Oh what a perfect little boy! He's the most adorable little boy in the world! He's such a handsome chap, handsomer than any! He is so sweet and kind! I was thinking, "Come on. No little boy is "perfect" like that!" I know quite a few because I babysit them and they are all precious darlings whom I love, but they all can be quite mischievous. So I thought that it was unrealistic. As a writer, I'm always cautioned against making my characters too flawless. It can be hard and I've received feedback that my characters were not relatable because of it. Therefore I start to think, "Why could Frances Hodgson Burnett get away with it?" I'm not saying that characters should be badly behaved--mercy no!--just that having a fault or two makes them all the greater when they learn and overcome!

Here the movie did make a slight difference. It showed Cedric getting into a fight, though not completely of his own accord. I can't say that I didn't like it. It was brief, but made Cedric seem a little more human.
After that I began thinking of two characters from the book Anne of Avonlea - by L. M. Montgomery: Davy and Dora. Everyone loves Davy in spite of the fact that he is the biggest troublemaker ever---or is it because of it that they love him? I love Davy, too, as I said earlier, I know several of my own "Davys". He was my favorite part of the book when I read it the first time.

Upon rereading I realized something: Dora. Dora doesn't get nearly enough attention. She is a perfect angel and is good and lovely, why don't we appreciate her? I understand that at that time L. M. Montgomery was probably making a statement with the way the twins (oh, did I mention that they were twins?) are treated. I'm sure that readers expected the good people to be loved and the naughty ones to be punished and not loved as much and Ms. Montgomery was saying how that shouldn't always be like that. I appreciate that, I really do, but I also want to see more Dora.

CLICK. Things start to come together in my mind. If there is a child who has been raised with so much love, one who sees the good in everyone, should we not look up to this person? I understand isn't always possible and it shouldn't be (otherwise books and movies would become boring really quickly), but it's good to have a character like this every once in awhile. Especially for little kids to look up to! After that I realized what a good story this is for little kids.

But, something still bothered me. The statement that was obvious to me was: "You can only be good if you are beautiful". Huh, you won't get far with me. When the Earl was thinking to himself of how he wouldn't like him so much if he wasn't so good looking I was rolling my eyes. I couldn't believe it! It's Cedric's good nature and kindness that are what make him so lovable!

There was then a little boy mentioned who had a scar on his face but was still pleasant.

CLICK. There it goes again. "Maybe I'm thinking about this the wrong way..." I pondered. Maybe it's that people are beautiful BECAUSE they are kind, not vice versa. Think about it, in the story of Cinderella we hear of her two "ugly stepsisters" who are like that because they are cruel. Maybe goodness shines through? Now we don't have scientific proof of that, but it makes sense.

Maybe the moral of the story is to look for the best in people. Not that you should be blind, but that seeing the potential in someone helps them to see it, too.

Now that, is a meaning that I write about and can get fully behind.

As this is a comparison, which is the winner? I don't know. I'm going to have to say the book because they movie bored me when I was little while when I read the book it was a cute and refreshing break from my other reading. They are both enjoyable in their own rights, but I would recommend (like always) reading the book first, then deciding for yourself!

Hey, near the end there I got into a little rant that I did not see coming. But, in my defense it's something that I've very passionate about and love getting a chance to think about it.

Alright friends, that's enough from me! Thank you so much for reading! Please tell me some of your favorite story examples dealing with this! Oh, and what is your favorite Mickey Rooney movie? Happy birthday to MR!



  1. What a great review! In defense of Cedric's kind natured personality, it reminded me of Sara Crew from 'A Little Princess', which was also written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I think the author was trying to teach the reader to stay true to yourself and not let money or influence change who you are. I also reviewed this adaptation, so I'll provide the link if you'd like to check it out!


    1. Why thank you, Sally! I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoyed my thoughts! Oh, yes, I love Sara Crew! The Shirley Temple film version is one of my favorites, and I read the book years ago. Now that you mention it, both of those characters are a bit of a contrast to sullen Mary from The Secret Garden (also by Frances Hodgson Burnett), but all three have their purpose. I like the point that you made about being true to yourself! I'm off to read your post, now, thanks for linking to it!


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