Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Film Reels: The Little Prince

Film Reels - In which I catch up on my classic movies and then talk about them.

The Little Prince -  Musical, 1974

It has been many years since my first encounter with The Little Prince. As a very young child I remember Nickelodeon playing the 1978 French/Japanese cartoon, The Adventures of The Little Prince, in the mid-80s. It was one of my first tv obsessions. The child prince alone on the moon, taking care of his rose friend and later going on adventures. I may have been a very small child while watching the show, but the memories stuck with me. I knew that someday, I'd find my little prince again, and I did...

While browsing Netflix for musicals to watch, my sister and I found The Little Prince from 1974. With a cast that includes Gene Wilder, Bob Fosse, and other familiar faces, we decided to give it a watch.Tthe first thing to keep in mind is this is a musical from the 70's and it is a bit dated. The second thing to keep in mind is that the book, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, can be very dark in nature and deeply philosophical. Its not typically the stuff that kid's cartoons or movies are made of.

After the initial shock from the memories of my 5 year old self wore off, I started to really get into the allegories for war and politics as the Little Prince moved from planet to planet, as well as the touching story of the Pilot and the Prince. The movie was magical and heart-wrenching at the same time. Some scenes were still silly and dated, but I started to forget all my qualms about campiness and focused on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's message and beautiful phrases, even when translated from French. And how often do you get to see Bob Fosse dance like a snake!

My favorite scene has to be Gene Wilder's. As much as I love the Little Prince, the Fox stole the show. That man is so talented. He took a small animal and embodied the shyness of the fox and fragility of his and the Prince's relationship to a tee.

I won't spoil the ending, for those that don't know the story, but don't expect to be dry-eyed when the movie is over. And if you are like me, expect to have an intense urge to buy a copy of the book for when you are feeling lonely, political, or just in need of some literary beauty.

“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince