AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Little Lord Fauntleroy
Director: John Cromwell (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Mar 1936
Premiere Information:   World premiere: 4 Mar 1936, Warm Springs, GA
Production Date:   began early Dec 1935
Duration (in mins):   97-98 or 102
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Cast:   Freddie Bartholomew (Ceddie [Errol])  
    Dolores Costello Barrymore ("Dearest" [Mrs. Errol])  
    C. Aubrey Smith (The Earl of Dorincourt)  
    Guy Kibbee (Mr. Hobbs)  
    Henry Stephenson (Havisham)  
    Mickey Rooney (Dick)  
    Constance Collier (Lady Lorridaile)  
    E. E. Clive (Sir Harry Lorridaile)  
    Una O'Connor (Mary)  
    Jackie Searl (Tom)  
    Jessie Ralph (The applewoman)  
    Ivan Simpson (Rev. Mordaunt)  
    Helen Flint (Minna)  
    Eric Alden (Ben)  
    May Beatty (Mrs. Mellon)  
    Virginia Field (Miss Herbert)  
    Reginald Barlow (Newick)  
    Lionel Belmore (Higgins)  
    Tempe Pigott (Mrs. Dibble)  
    Gilbert Emery (Purvis)  
    Lawrence Grant (Lord Chief Justice)  
    Walter Kingsford (Mr. Snade)  
    Eily Malyon (Landlady)  
    Fred Walton (Landlord)  
    Robert Emmett O'Connor ([Brooklyn] policeman)  
    Elsa Buchanan (Susan)  
    Joseph Tozer (Thomas)  
    Alex Pollard (Footman)  
    Daisy Belmore (Mrs. Baines)  
    "Prince" (Dougal, a dog)  
    Lillian Irene (Bridget, the maid)  
    Dave Dunbar (Jeffries)  
    Jack Cameron (Charles)  
    Joan Standing (Dawson)  
    Montague Shaw (Mr. Semple)  
    Agnes Steele (Castle cook)  
    Mary McLaren (Maid)  
    Renee Sheering (Maid)  
    Dan Maxwell (Stout farmer)  
    Mary Gordon (Stout farmer's wife)  
    Cecil Elliott (Farmer woman)  
    Marjorie Plecher (Farmer woman's daughter)  
    J. P. McGowan (Man in church)  
    Alec Craig (Man in church)  
    Barlow Borland (Man in church)  
    George Atkinson (Man in church)  
    Dickie Jones (Ceddie at seven years)  
    William Ingersoll (Doctor)  
    Eddie Bernard (Boy in fight)  
    Tommy Bupp (Boy in fight)  
    Mickey Rentschler (Boy in fight)  
    Georgie Billings (Boy in fight)  
    Leonard Kibrick (Boy in fight)  
    Donald Haines (Boy in fight)  
    Dewey Bender (Boy in fight)  
    Buster Slavin (Boy in fight)  
    Billy Dooley (Bootblack)  
    Walter Lawrence (Huckster)  
    Lorimer Johnson (Partygoer)  
    Harold Entwistle (Partygoer)  
    Barbara Denny (Partygoer)  
    Edith Kingdon (Partygoer)  
    Peter Shaw (Partygoer)  
    Tom Ricketts (Partygoer)  
    Arthur Blake (Partygoer)  
    Lionel Pape (Partygoer)  
    Robert Bolder (Partygoer)  
    Anthony Kemble Cooper (Partygoer)  

Summary: In Brooklyn in the 1880s, after Captain Errol, an Englishman, dies, his American widow and son Ceddie live frugally, but are happily devoted to each other. When Ceddie turns nine, his miserly grandfather, the Earl of Dorincourt, who had earlier denounced his son for marrying an American, calls Ceddie to England to take the title Lord Fauntleroy, the earl's successor. Ceddie's best friend, grocer Mr. Hobbs, believes all aristocracy are pretentious and unkind. Ceddie, therefore, is reluctant to accept his new title. However, when Havisham, the earl's lawyer and envoy, gives Ceddie money that enables him to help those most dear to him, he believes the earl is filled with generosity. When Ceddie and his mother, whom he calls "Dearest," arrive in Erlesboror, he learns that his mother will not be living with him at the castle. Dearest, not wanting Ceddie to think ill of his grandfather, does not tell him it is the earl's bigotry that forces them to live apart. The handsome and well-mannered Ceddie treats the earl with a candor and sweetness that soon softens the old man's heart, causing his family and tenants to think kindly of him for the first time. Trouble starts when Minna, a fortune-hunting woman who claims to have married the earl's eldest son, comes forward to claim Ceddie's title for her own ill-mannered boy, Tom. When the court barrister regretfully names Tom Lord Fauntleroy, Ceddie swears his devotion to his grandfather, with or without his title. Broken-hearted, the earl decides Minna's actions are retribution for his cruelty to Dearest and apologizes. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, bootblack Dick, Hobbs' and Ceddie's friend, reads about Minna's claim and recognizes her as his actress sister-in-law. Soon Hobbs, Dick and Dick's brother Ben are in England, where Ben identifies Minna as his wife and is reunited with his missing son. On Ceddie's tenth birthday, Dearest comes to live at the castle, and Hobbs, changing his mind about earls, says he has come to England to stay. 

Production Company: Selznick International Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: John Cromwell (Dir)
  Eric Stacey (Asst dir)
  Robert Stillman (Asst dir)
Producer: David O. Selznick (Prod)
Writer: Hugh Walpole (Scr)
Photography: Charles Rosher (Photog)
  Stuart Thompson (Asst cam)
Art Direction: Sturges Carne (Art dir)
  Casey Roberts (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Hal C. Kern (Film ed)
Costumes: Sophie Wachner (Ward)
Music: Max Steiner (Mus)
Sound: Earl A. Wolcott (Rec)
Special Effects: Jack Cosgrove (Spec eff)
  Virgil Miller (Spec eff)
  Jack Wagner (Spec eff)
Production Misc: Major G. O. T. Bagley (Tech adv)
  Phil L. Ryan (Prod mgr)
  Robert Ross (Unit mgr)
  Barbara Keon (Prod secy)
  Corynn Kiehl (Prod secy)
Stand In: Henry Stone (Stunt double for Freddie Bartholomew)
  Bert Mayer (Stunt double for Freddie Bartholomew)
  Ray Sperry (Stand-in for Freddie Bartholomew)
  Marian Webb (Stand-in for Dolores Costello)
  William Law (Stand-in for C. Aubrey Smith)
  Edd Russell (Stand-in for Henry Stephenson)
  Art Keenan (Stand-in for Guy Kibbee)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett (New York, 1886).
Authors: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Selznick International Pictures, Inc. 6/3/1936 dd/mm/yyyy LP6189 Yes

PCA NO: 1959
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Americans in foreign countries
  Aristocracy
  Grandfathers
  Great Britain--History--Social life and customs
  Mothers and sons
 
Subjects (Minor): Actors and actresses
  Birthdays
  Bootblacks
  Class distinction
  Fortune hunters
  Friendship
  Impersonation and imposture
  Landlords
  Lawyers
  Misers
  Recognition
  New York City--Brooklyn
  Storekeepers
  Transformation

Note: On 6 Dec 1935, DV reported that the film company was leaving for location shooting in Calabasas, CA; however, the exact day production began is unclear. This was the first film that David Selznick made after he left M-G-M and formed his new production company, Selznick International. On 17 Dec 1935, HR reported that Lillian Irene, who played the part of Bridget, the maid, would receive a screen credit, even though she completed her part in one's day's shooting, because her character is referred to many times by other players. She did not appear in the credits on the viewed print, but is listed in the Call Bureau Cast Service records for this film. According to HR , invitations to a "swank" preview of this film at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on 20 Feb 1936 were in the name of Selznick International's board of directors: Dr. A. H. Giannini, Robert Lehman, David O. Selznick, C. V. Whitney and Lloyd Wright. Dolores Costello Barrymore made a personal appearance at a special premiere at Foundation Hospital in Warm Springs, GA, where young patients were the guests of honor; Freddie Bartholomew was also expected to make an appearance, but it is unclear whether or not he attended. The film opened in Philadelphia on 5 Mar 1936. An ad in FD on 6 Mar quotes thirteen men "from the world of sport and industry...who are known for their courage and daring," including Jack Dempsey, on their impressions of the character of Lord Fauntleroy following the preview. An ad in MPD on 10 Apr 1936 projected a week of $100,000 in box-office sales at New York's Radio City Music Hall. FD reported on 22 May 1936 that schools in Providence, RI were urging students to attend the film. Earlier versions of Little Lord Fauntleroy include the 1914 British film directed by F. Martin Thornton and starring Gerald Royston, Jane Wells and H. Agar Lyons, and the 1921 Mary Pickford-United Artists film directed by Alfred E. Green and Jack Pickford and starring Mary Pickford and Claude Gillingwater. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   6 Dec 35   p. 1.
Daily Variety   21 Feb 36   p. 3
Film Daily   25 Feb 36   p. 9.
Film Daily   29 Feb 36   pp. 1-2.
Film Daily   6 Mar 36   pp. 6-7.
Film Daily   22 May 36   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Oct 35   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Dec 35   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Feb 36   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Feb 36   p. 1, 3
Hollywood Reporter   11 Mar 36   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Apr 36   p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily   25 Feb 36   p. 10.
Motion Picture Daily   10 Apr 36   p. 9.
Motion Picture Herald   29 Feb 36   p. 40.
MPSI   1 May 36   p. 36.
New York Times   3 Apr 36   p. 27.
Variety   8 Apr 36   p. 16.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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