Hey gang, Valkor here. Looks like Aniview has been going through a bit of a dry spell. But that’s all about to change as a host of DVDs have swept through the Val-Cave like wildfire and for the most part, I believe you’ll want to pick up each one starting with a flick from the folks at Warner Home. I’ve always been a big fan of the little girl called “Heidi”; loved the book and the Shirley Temple film. And the folks at Hanna-Barbera also did an animated version and it’s recently been deemed worthy of entering Warner’s “Archive Collection”. Check it out, it’s “Heidi’s Song”, a true classic and one of my personal favorites.
"Heidi’s Song" is an animation film loosely based on the Heidi novel written by Johanna Spyri; though it still shares some of the same dark overtones of the novel, it adds bouncy musical numbers, cute creatures, and an even bubblier Heidi in the mix. In the film, Heidi (voiced by Margery Gray) is taken to live in the mountains with her grandfather (voiced by Lorne Green) by her aunt Dete (Virginia Gregg) after the death of her parents. Her grandfather is rather harsh towards Heidi at first, but he soon begins warming up to her – he even allows her to keep one of his many goats as her own. But just as things were looking up for Heidi and her grandfather, she’s soon whisked away again by her Aunt Dete, this time taking her to live with a family in Frankfurt, who have a sick daughter named Klara (Pamalyn Ferdin) in need of companionship. The daughter is great and so is the help, but Klara’s Governess Rottenmeier (Joan Gerber) doesn’t really care for her all that much. And an incident involving kittens for Klara finds Heidi tossed in the cellar to live with the rats (Head Ratte is voiced by Sammy Davis Jr.). One of Heidi’s animal friends, an owl, sees the danger she’s in and races back to the mountain top to get help in the form of Peter the goat herder (Roger DeWitt) and a host of other farm animals. Peter is able to rescue Heidi and together they take Klara back to the mountaintop where she eventually learns to walk again and Heidi is reunited with her grandfather. Happy endings all around!
That’s really the short of it as there’s so much more in between such as musical numbers, plenty of drama and suspense, plus loads of laughs. It’s a dark tale that’s been given an upbeat interpretation, which I’m happy it was picked up by Warner. And now on with the TOV Breakdown.
If you haven’t gotten wind of it already, I love this film. Again, I’m a huge fan of the classic Heidi story and many films based around the tale. I actually watched the films first before reading the book and the Shirley Temple flick was my first introduction to the character. It was only after reading the book and then seeing the Hanna Barbera version that I learned how “loosely” based the Temple version was – still a classic, but the HB version is closer to the book than its live action counterpart. The story in the HB version is very solid and very straightforward. It’s also quite dark, so it may creep out the younger set just a touch, especially when the rats make the scene, but I think it’s lightheartedness and musical numbers really help this DVD to shine. The film has been remastered, which looks and sounds amazing; colors are bold, very sharp, and bright and it reflects on the fluidity of the animation. The audio is in Dolby digital stereo, which sounds great bringing clarity to the vocals. And they need it because it’s all about the music, and the songs in this film are true blue classics, which still holds up quite well and are so much fun to listen to. Overall this is one classic DVD you would not want to pass up.
There’s a scene at the very beginning that wasn’t very well mastered; it’s very dark and very graining. Thankfully it doesn’t stay that way, but that was a bit offsetting.
Heidi’s Song will be available on DVD on August 23rd and if you’re a fan of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the Heidi books and other films surrounding it, or all of the above, then this is one DVD you shouldn’t pass up. Not only is it a great adaptation of the book, but it features a stellar cast and awesome music. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Heidi’s Song a 4 and it’s been Valkor Viewed, TOV Approved.