Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thoughts Upon Watching the 1993 "Heidi" Three Times While Sick with Strep Throat

That One Time I was Sick and Watched the 1993 Heidi three times

Darn you, Heidi!  Frig.

Guys, there are some  stories that just rip my little heart to shreds. Heidi is, like Eight Cousins and Pollyanna, a bit of a comfort food read for me. Especially back when I moved from my lovely little town to the big city for university.  Heidi, in her loft on her makeshift bed, would peer out the slats of the window and stare at the stars and I would breathe in and remember the stars that I could see from my bedroom window and that were, well, all but obliterated by the tall buildings and streetlights in Toronto.

I have not once made it through this book without crying. Heck, I was in Switzerland a few years back and just cried THINKING about it on the train. Don’t worry, some random Swiss dude gave me a piece of chocolate and a smile and a tissue.  Thanks, guy.  It is just one of those books that just drains my tear ducts. There’s Heidi and her winsome spirit and all the goats and her grandfather until she’s ripped from her happiness to Frankfurt to act as companion to a girl suffering from one of those vague 19th Century diseases and in a wheel chair (see Colin from Secret Garden)   And, you know, you just know every feeling she’s experiencing.  When the wealthy old mother of Herr Sesemann gives her that book about the Prodigal Son and she sees a picture of a goat but stupid Fraulein Rottemeier has told her she can’t cry and is forbidden so she sneaks to her bed and feels a heavy lump crammed into her air passage.   Or, when she steals rolls at dinner—fluffy white rolls –for the Grandmother (Peter the goatherd’s matriarch ) and they go stale and …..

lotsa screencaps: thanks, google image search


So, last week I was pretty sick with strep throat and basically just slept the week away home from work; but I wanted to watch a nice movie and I  flipped through the Netflix catalogue and landed on the 1993 Heidi Disney miniseries which I have, surprisingly, never seen before.  The only adaptation I HAVE seen was the  Shirley Temple one which---you know—it’s fine and all; but not really the experience I want as a lover of the book.

So I watched it.  And serious to Pete I was crying through the opening credits.  GUYS, I CANNOT HANDLE THIS STUFF! It’s too much. I am a wreck!
She’s a lovely little girl and her grandfather wants to love her but he’s stubborn and blames himself and there are GOATS and mountains and then Dete (that witch! ) takes her away and I JUST…. GAH! …. WTF!!!!!???!

And, we’re talking three hours of pretty decent adaptation here, kittens.  I mean it is fairly close to the story.  When Heidi is taken to Frankfurt under the promise (LIAR!) that she will be back in a week if she doesn’t like it there and then she’s stuck there with stupid Clara and stupid Fraulein Rottemeier and stupid Sebastian (okay, Sebastian’s not that bad), I just wanna….. gah!

And they don’t go into the Herr Doctor’s history as much as in the book; but he’s there too ( WHEN SHE IS SLEEP WALKING! REMEMBER??? THE SLEEP WALKING BECAUSE SHE IS SO SAD! Of course she is SAD! Her goats are far away! )

And she finally gets back to the mountain and the sigh of relief deflated me like a popped balloon….but…. nooooo! …then stupid Clara and entourage have to hike up through Dorfli to Grandfather’s mountain and …my insides are torn out.

This is terrible. By terrible, I mean wonderful. But, really….. stop wringing my emotions like a dishcloth, Heidi.

The girl who plays Heidi is the friggin’ cutest thing you will ever see. Gosh, the freckles, the braids, the friggin’ way she cradles a baby goat and picks flowers for her grandfather and just loves him unconditionally because she just needs and wants love  (DARN YOU, STORY! Orphan stories…. My kryptonite)

And the Grandfather?--- Jason Robards---that’s right--- because why wouldn’t it be Jason BLOODY Robards. Love him! Seriously attracted to him in anything from the 60s ; but then want him to kinda be my grandpa ‘cause I don’t have one.  Remember him in Huck Finn? With Robbie Coltrane? I went there. I WENT THERE (speaking of Disney movies from the 90s that make me cry, FYI... like that scene with Jim and Huck in the rain and they tried to HANG Jim but failed and Huck is shot... I can't...even.... EMOTIONS! SO MANY!).

And you’re thinking: whoa! This is sounding pretty great.  Let me add a cherry to this sundae---- PATRICIA NEAL ---she of the great voice and resume that includes THE FOUNTAINHEAD, BREAKFAST AT TIFF’S and, you know, a stint as John Boy’s mom ---is Grandmother.  Gosh.

The whole thing… I just…. And then I ordered it on amazon and I will neither confirm nor deny that I have watched it two more times since.

*Rachel pauses to compose herself*

I mean, read the book first if you haven’t.  The scene where Grandfather comes down the mountain to re-establish his relationship with God and the community is amazing and not, of course, included in the film. But, this is a pretty decent adaptation as far as literary adaptations go

And ripped my darn heart out.

What the heck!

I just wanna go and snuggle in a hayloft and toast goat’s cheese over a fire and drink a lot of milk now when I’m not frolicking in the Alps.

I really have nothing more to say except that the ICING ON THE MINISERIES’ CAKE is that it’s filmed in Austria (the TYROL! ) and Salzburg so---yeah---there’s that.

This is …really….

*message truncated because I am crying uncontrollably*

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I think the last time I watched this was probably 1993. I remember that kid!!