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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Madeline (1998)



Reviews and Comments

The opening moments of this live action film version of Madeline, based on the books by Ludwig Bemelmans, are the best. They transcribe, almost exactly, the events from the first book, to the screen with lavish loving care and a sharp eye for detail. Frances McDormand is an inspired choice for Miss Clavel, and Hatty Jones does a wonderful job embodying the Madeline of the books. Unfortunately, the story goes downhill just slightly from there -- Lord Covington wants to sell the school, and of course kidnappers come into play sooner or later -- these plot elements are nothing new to the genre. The filmmakers did well with what they had -- it would have been difficult to make a feature length film out of a series of very short books and keep the same spirit. Considering, they did a pretty good job, and I certainly enjoyed the sets and costumes that went into making up the idealized Paris of Madeline's world. A partial success, Madeline may yet please the young and young at heart.