An American boy turns out to be the long-lost heir of a British fortune. He is sent to live with the cold and unsentimental lord who oversees the trust
Freddie Bartholomew ... Cedric 'Ceddie' Erroll
Dolores Costello ... 'Dearest' Erroll (as Dolores Costello Barrymore)
C. Aubrey Smith ... Earl of Dorincourt
Guy Kibbee ... Mr. Silas Hobbs
Henry Stephenson ... Havisham
Mickey Rooney ... Dick Tipton
Constance Collier ... Lady Constanzia Lorridale
E.E. Clive ... Sir Harry Lorridale
Una O'Connor ... Mary
Jackie Searl ... Tom Tipton
Jessie Ralph ... The Applewoman
Ivan F. Simpson ... Rev. Mordaunt
Helen Flint ... Minna Tipton
Eric Alden ... Ben Tipton
May Beatty ... Mrs. Mellon the Housekeeper
Director: John Cromwell
Codecs: DivX / MP3
They just don't make 'em like this anymore. You can take all your Culkins and Woods and Osments and roll them into one, and they still couldn't shine the shoes of Freddie Bartholemew (as Mickey Rooney does in this film). The difference, I believe, is that these contemporary performers think of themselves as CHILD actors, where Bartholemew and his contemporary Shirley Temple thought of themselves as ACTORS -- just as Rooney's character thought of himself as a BUSINESSMAN. The effect is palpable: you just can't fake being a real person. This of course is the familiar story of an American boy in the 1880's who learns he is the heir to an English earl and must go live with the old bloke, who parenthetically hates his mother, in an old castle. Needless to say, it is the earl who is transformed by the strength and purity of the boy's character, and not the intended reverse. Every scene and every line in this film is perfect, and if it is a "period piece," then I say we'd be so much better off if we could return to that "period."
Two great 1930's child actors, Freddie Bartholomew and Mickey Rooney, play Little Lord Fauntleroy--Cedric Errol, and streetwise American friend Dick Tipton respectively. (Part British Ceddie fights the bullies--and Dick Tipton runs to help...they fight together. A preview of what a lot of Brits & Americans did in WWII a few years after this film!!!)
Also watch for Sir C. Aubrey Smith as the definitive hostile old Lord Dorincourt, who is charmed and warmed by his newly-met half American grandson's unconditional love. Character actor Guy Kibbee also seems made to play staunch anti-aristocrat American Silas Hobbs. If you read the book (free online), the movie fits it well!
Did you know the book LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY was an incredible late 19th century "hit"? Some statesmen actually credit this tale of reconciliation between an old Earl and his half American grandson with improving the then-strained 19th century British-American relationship.
Drew Barrymore's grandmother Dolores Costello Barrymore plays Cedric's charming American Mother.
While this film needs a sound and picture cleanup, it is still worth the watch!
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