It is harder and harder these days for me to find good entertainment for my kids that doesn’t have the affect of making them grow up too fast. Even a recent G-rated show had a couple of characters in it that, well, got busy. Although the action was never shown, it was certainly implied. Yikes.
So for family movie nights, we tend to go back in time to movie classics, even those not yet in color. For example, there is Miracle on 34th Street, which, believe it or not, was a very controversial movie banned by the Catholic church for its portrayal of a single mom who was a divorcee. Things have changed a bit in media since then.
Our latest movie, thanks to our new Roku player and Netflix, was Heidi, a Shirley Temple movie. My daughter is big into Shirley Temple at the moment, and although her brothers humored her and me on the movie choice at first, they did find themselves getting into the story. It had enough real suspense to keep them interested.
Heidi is a perennial favorite with kids and adults alike. The normal song and dance of a Temple film is gone (only one Christmas song is sung by the piano plus a dream sequence that seems to have been put in at the last minute in order to showcase Temple’s talent), leaving a solid story of an orphaned girl who wins over her estranged and crabby grandfather. The two bond, until such time when Heidi is kidnapped and taken into the city to be the companion of an invalid girl. Heidi works her magic, while her grandfather launches a frantic search for his granddaughter.
The story is also complete with a wicked Fraulein governess, who at one point attempts to sell Heidi to the gypsies. My kids got a kick out of that one.