Film Review: The Little Prince (1974)



When people tell of “films that they don’t make any more”, they can do it with visible sadness or with a sigh of relief. 1970s, arguably the most interesting decade in history of US cinema, provided reasons for both. The Little Prince, 1974 musical film directed by Stanley Donen, belongs to the latter category.

The plot is based on the famous eponymous novella by French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Protagonist is the Pilot (played by Richard Kiley) who was forced to make emergency landing in Sahara Desert. There he meets a befriends Little Prince (played by Steven Warner), a boy who claims that he came from Asteroid B-612 and who entertains him with tales about his journeys through Solar system.

Donen’s adaptation of The Little Prince looked like a good idea on paper. One of the most beloved pieces of world literature was directed by film maker famous for some of the most successful musical films of all time, while the music and lyrics were written by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Turner, duo responsible for some of the most popular Broadway musicals. Yet, all those talents somehow failed to deliver anything of quality on the screen. Music numbers are simply forgettable, while Donen’s direction is inept and in some scenes even laughably lacking elementary film magic. This might be explained with the whole project being more suitable for Broadway stage musical rather than feature film; absence of proper film stars (with exception of Gene Wilder in the role of The Fox) suggests that. The only interesting detail in the film is the dance number performed by famous dancer and choreographer Bob Fosse in the role of The Snake, often cited as inspiration for Michael Jackson for his famous Billie Jean music video and “Moonwalk” dance moves. But this is hardly enough to justify regular viewers being exposed to an hour and half of near-complete failure.

RATING: 2/10 (-)

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