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Western Animation / Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper

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Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper is the fourth in the film series and is billed as the first-ever Barbie Musical. It was released in 2004, preceded by Barbie of Swan Lake and followed by Barbie Fairytopia.

It stars Barbie as both Anneliese and Erika, a princess and a pauper. After a chance meeting, the two become quick friends due to their similarities and how they look just like each other (except for their hair colors and the fact that Anneliese has a royal birthmark). However, with the kingdom's finances falling, Anneliese is engaged to Dominick, the king of a neighboring kingdom, despite her love for her tutor. When the queen's scheming advisor Preminger arranges for Anneliese to be kidnapped so the marriage to King Dominick will not go through, Anneliese's tutor Julian arranges for Erika to replace Anneliese until the real princess is found.

Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper provides examples of the following tropes:

  • invokedActing for Two: Invoked. The movie treats "Barbie" and "Ken" as real actors. Barbie plays both Anneliese and Erika, while Ken plays both Julian and Dominick. There are even "bloopers" of Barbie and Ken messing up their takes in the end credits, which of course aren't real and had to be animated and voiced by the actual humans behind the movie.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Upon their first meeting, Erika comments that Anneliese has the same name as the princess.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Preminger plans to marry Anneliese, and is clearly a lot older than her. It does not actually have much to do with romance, though.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Wolfie is actually a cat, but his sense of smell is akin to a dog. He even barks like one.
  • Altar Diplomacy:
    • Queen Genevieve arranges Anneliese's marriage to Dominick so his wealth can revitalize her kingdom's failing economy. On Dominick's end, it's briefly mentioned that the two kingdoms would be joined after the wedding, making him king of both.
    • Preminger's plan to become king revolves around this; his original intent was to use his (stolen) wealth as a bargaining chip for Anneliese's hand. When his original plan goes off the rails, he instead brokers a similar deal with Queen Genevieve.
  • Animal Motifs: Pink and blue butterflies for our pink and blue heroines.
  • Animal Talk: Serafina and Wolfie talk to each other in English for the audience's benefit, but to the in-universe humans it just sounds like meowing. Or barking, in Wolfie's case.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: It's downplayed and definitely intentional, but when Erika tries talking like a princess she's very formal and stops using contractions.
  • Arranged Marriage: Anneliese and Dominick. Neither is happy about it, though Dominick warms to the idea after hitting it off with Anneliese (actually Erika in disguise).
  • Artistic License – Biology: Wolfie is described as a "calico", but he's male. Calico cats are almost exclusively females, and in rare cases there are males, a genetic disorder stops them from breeding.
  • Babies Ever After: Serafina and Wolfie manage to get together, having lots and lots of little kittens.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Preminger, because he's evil. His henchmen, because they're just that stupid.
  • Bad Boss: Madame Carp is awful to Erika and the other dressmaker. Preminger is also pretty nasty to his cronies, but they still seem to like him quite a bit.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Preminger's thugs use this on Anneliese, and later to capture Julian when he confronts the former.
  • Batman Gambit: Anneliese's fondness for her cat is used to lure her to her kidnappers.
  • Big Bad: Preminger, the queen's treasurer who intends to claim the crown and rule over the kingdom.
  • Big "NO!": Queen Genevieve lets one loose when she thinks Anneliese has been killed in a mine collapse.
  • Because Destiny Says So: "But fate decreed they would..."
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Anneliese creates one to escape her kidnappers.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Preminger seems to think Anneliese acts cold to him in order to hide her attraction. While we never see her treat him badly, it could be that she was just so happy to be rescued from Madame Carp's that she didn't really care who he was.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Erika alludes to this trope in the song "If You Love Me For Me" which begins 'Once a lass met a lad...'
  • Brainy Brunette: Julian is a male example. Erika, though she lacks education, is far from stupid, either, given she's able to convince everyone she's Anneliese, even her mother, and escape from a dungeon.
  • Breakfast in Bed: When Erika wakes up for the first time in Annaliese's room while impersonating her, a maid walk in with the breakfast tray. Erika asks if it will be served in bed and the confused maid answers: "As always."
  • Brick Joke: Anneliese spends a moment in the movie establishing that one of the stone she's studying isn't gold, but iron pyrite, also known as "fool's gold". A few scenes later, Preminger steals it because he mistakes it for a gold nugget.
  • Cassandra Truth: After she returns, nobody (from the palace guard who refuses to let her in to Madame Carp, who thinks she's Erika wearing a wig) believes Anneliese's assertions that she is the princess.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted. Wolfie and Serafina are perfectly sweet and nice, and the mean animal is Preminger's pet poodle, Midas.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Erika walks into the closet in one gown and out of it in another almost immediately.
  • Chastity Couple: Both Erika/Dominick and Anneliese/Julian are pretty chaste, but the latter even more so. Where Erika and Dominick embrace and hold hands multiple times and even get an Almost Kiss, Anneliese and Julian only hug once and hold hands in the carriage. Could be justified due to the 18th century-ish setting and them being used to their social class keeping them at distance.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Anneliese's interest in geology comes in handy when she's able to recognize that the drained out gold mine is full of precious gemstones, which restarts her kingdom's economy without her having to marry King Dominick.
    • Erika uses her beautiful singing voice to lull the guard to sleep before making her escape.
    • Wolfie, who is essentially a dog in a cat's body, is able to use his superior sense of smell to locate Serafina and her mistress.
  • Commonality Connection: Anneliese and Erika form this, first over the fact that they are nearly identical and then when they realize that they are both unable to do what they really want because of external circumstances—Erika cannot pursue her dream career as a singer due to crippling debt, while Anneliese must forsake her passion for science and her love for Julian because of her duty to the kingdom.
    • Downplayed and subverted with Julian and Preminger—both are peasants by birth who worked their way up to positions of trust in the palace, but they show nothing but dislike toward each other.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Anneliese and Erika are born at the exact same second and look exactly alike aside from their hair colors.note 
  • Censor Suds: The bath scene with Erika makes sure to not show her boobs, cleavage or other privates... well, her entire body is covered.
  • Corrupt Politician: Preminger, who bankrupts the kingdom by embezzling the contents of the royal mine, both for the gold itself and to create a situation in which Anneliese would need to marry him for his riches, making him her consort.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Anneliese is kidnapped twice, and both times uses her brains to escape.
    • Erika, too. She single-handedly escapes from jail, with only a little help from Dominick, and then nearly succeeds in getting away from him due to believing he's a guard.
  • Dark Reprise: Erika reprises "To Be a Princess" while locked up in jail, breaking into tears by the end.
  • Darkest Hour: It looks like Preminger is going to get away with everything; he's trapped Anneliese and Julian in the mines and left them to die, he's revealed Erika's deception and had her framed for his own crimes and arrested (with Dominick leaving the kingdom as a result), and he's convinced the queen to marry him to save her kingdom from debt. Thankfully, our heroes manage to escape their situations and stop him in the nick of time.
  • Disappeared Dad: Both of our protagonists' fathers. While the queen is explicitly widowed, there's really no mention of what happened to Erika's dad.
  • Distant Duet: "Free", sung by Erika and Anneliese from far-off, different places within the kingdom.
  • A Dog Named "Cat": Erika's dog-like cat is named Wolfie.
  • Dramatic Irony: When the queen protests "Do you think I don't know my own daughter?" While her daughter has been kidnapped and replaced with an Identical Stranger.
    • Also, King Dominick telling Erika that one of the things he likes about her is how she's "honest, no pretenses"... while she's masquerading as Anneliese. This is especially amusing given his own fondness for disguises.
  • Emergency Impersonation: Julian brought Erika in to pose as Anneliese to keep King Dominick's ambassador from calling off her Arranged Marriage and buy time for him to mount a proper search. Then he's captured by Preminger's henchmen, leaving Erika stuck in her role, and Erika falls hard for Dominick...
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • "Free", the opening song, revolves around Anneliese and Erika's shared dissatisfaction with their current lives. It also highlights the difference in their personalities; while Anneliese is resigned to marrying King Dominick for the good of the kingdom, Erika is determined to pay off her debts so she can get away from Madame Carp and pursue the career she's always dreamed of.
    • Nick and Nack make their first appearance when Nack—the smarter of the two—berates Nick for throwing a worthless rock into a minecart with the gold they're stealing from the royal mine while himself overlooking its hidden value, setting the pattern for almost all of their future appearances.
    • Preminger almost immediately launches into his Villain Song, a hammy, over-the-top piece that perfectly encapsulates his large ego, ambition, and skill at Xanatos Speed Chess.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie takes place almost entirely over a three-day period.
  • Evil Laugh: Preminger cackles. His assistants guffaw stupidly.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: The heroines each wear one at the end.
  • Failed a Spot Check: An Establishing Character Moment for one of Preminger's henchmen is putting a big ugly rock in the mine cart when they're supposed to be collecting gold.
  • Fat Bitch: Madame Carp, a Bad Boss to Erika and her workers in her shop.
  • Fauxshadowing: Early in the film, Anneliese is examining a piece of metal and identifies it as iron pyrite, or fool's gold. As a major plot point is Preminger's stockpile of stolen gold, you would expect this to be setting up a reveal that he's just mined a bunch of iron pyrite, but this never happens.
    • However, Preminger is later shown stealing the pyrite from Anneliese's desk, possibly foreshadowing the fact that he overlooked the valuable geodes left behind in the mine due to their worthless appearances.
  • Foregone Conclusion: There is a royal. There is also a peasant. They are identical. They switch places. Most people know this much through Popcultural Osmosis of the original story.
  • Formal Full Array of Cutlery: Erika is being taught in a song that "To be a princess is to know which spoon to use."
  • Furry Reminder: Serafina chasing the mouse. Both the cats looking horrified when Julian and Anneliese let water into the cave.
  • Good Parents: Erika's parents took on a crushing debt to ensure that they could take care of her. Anneliese's mother obviously sympathizes with her misgivings over her Arranged Marriage, and gladly lets her marry the man she really loves instead after Anneliese finds a solution to the problem that made the arrangement necessary in the first place.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Preminger indulges in both French and Spanish in his Villain Song, in the form of Poirot Speak.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Anneliese, a princess with blonde-gold hair and a very nice royal inside out.
  • Held Gaze: Between Dominick and Erika at the end of their Falling-in-Love Montage that uses the beautiful song "If You Love Me For Me."
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Some were written for the credits, featuring the Animated Actors rather than the people who voiced them.
  • Holding Hands: Both Julian and Anneliese and Dominick and Erika.
  • Hot for Teacher: Anneliese and Julian. Justified that he's her tutor rather than an actual teacher and appears to be pretty close to her age.
  • Identical Stranger: True to the original.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: The only way to tell Anneliese and Erika apart is the former is blonde while the latter is brunette and her parting is reversed, and Anneliese has a royal birthmark on her back shoulder.
  • Imagine Spot: We are witness to Preminger's plotting in the second song, first directly, and then through shadows on a wall.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The royal mines run out, leaving the queen, and by extension her country, totally broke.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Anneliese. First she asks Julian which house he used to live in before he moved to the castle, before he answers his family could only afford to rent one room (but he knows she didn't mean to be rude). Her part in the "Girl Like You" song also oozes of this: while Erika explains that she's an indentured slave, her only complaints are that she's marrying a stranger and would rather spend the day in her own private library rather than get a foot massage during her breakfast in bed. It helps that Anneliese herself clearly realizes how bad it sounds immediately after saying it.
  • Jerkass: Madam Carp, who stole the money Erika earned from singing in public and plans to keep Erika for the rest of her life even though she had already paid more than half of her parents' debt. Her business eventually goes bankrupt when the castle stops buying from her.
  • King Incognito: Dominick pulls two, the second to "sneak" Erika out of her confinement. Erika lampshades it.
    "You... do love disguises, don't you?"
    • This also happens to Anneliese, but sort of... against her will. She tries to convince people she's the princess more than once, but gets pooh-poohed.
  • Leitmotif: Many of them:
    • Preminger's Villain Song is played in almost every scene he appears in.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The movie can give the impression that the queen only has the one dress, seeing as she wears it in every appearance, including her wedding. Somewhat justified by the movie being set in a time period when even royalty would only own a handful of outfits at a time, but it still appears odd given every other major character is shown in at least two different outfits.
    • Erika mentions at one point that she only owns one dress (justified, seeing as she's very poor and up to her eyes in debt). This changes after she begins masquerading as Anneliese.
  • Literal-Minded:
    "Who does [the Queen] think she is?!"
    "The queen?"
  • Love at First Note:
    • Dominick overhears Erika singing, and that's it — his heart is gone.
    • A platonic version occurs between Anneliese and Erika, with the former being drawn to the latter because of her gorgeous voice.
  • Love at First Sight: Dominick says he didn't want to marry a stranger, but when he sees Erika posing as Anneliese, he encourages his ambassador to agree to go forward with the wedding, although he's never spoken to her. She, for her part, is temporarily struck speechless when they are introduced.
  • Love Confession: Anneliese gives one to Julian.
  • Man Versus Career: Averted! The ending shows that Erika got to have both, first turning down Dominick's marriage proposal so she can fulfill her dream of becoming a singer. He's understandably sad, but agrees, and gives her a ring. After a while of touring, Erika comes back and marries him happily.
  • Meaningful Name: Midas the dog cares a lot for his gold tooth.
    • Wolfie is a cat that acts and sounds like a dog.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Erika’s song "Written In Your Heart" is interrupted by an enraged Madame Carp.
  • Nice Guy: Herve the horse is quite friendly and helpful to the other animal characters (and, by extension, their human owners) throughout the movie. However, at the climax, Preminger learns the hard way not to push him too far.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Julian and Erika had good intentions when they had the latter pose as Anneliese to hide the real one's abduction, but it results in the real princess being denied entrance to the castle after escaping captivity and being mistaken for Erika at Madame Carp's emporium.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The girls' cats.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Erika and Anneliese get a whole song dedicated to them being the same sort of person, under their surface differences.
  • Oh, Crap!: Serafina substitutes "oh dear" when she realizes how bad Herve's cat-bucking aim is in the bloopers.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Dominick compliments Erika on being "honest, no pretenses" while she's posing as Anneliese.
  • Only One Name: Nobody in the cast is stated to have a last one, so maybe people in that kingdom simply don't use them.
  • Opening Narration: "Long ago, and far away..."
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Julian gets suspicious when he realizes that Anneliese's forged runaway letter is scented with lilac rather than rose.
  • Parents as People: The Queen. She's pushing Anneliese into a marriage she doesn't want with a man she doesn't even know, but she doesn't seem to be a bad mother. She understands why Anneliese isn't wild about her engagement, even apologizing to her about it, and only insists that Anneliese go through with it because the kingdom is in debt. She's perfectly fine with Anneliese marrying a commoner after the problem gets solved, though, and also doesn't get mad at her when she thinks Anneliese ran away to avoid having to marry Dominick, just asking that she doesn't do it again.
  • Patchwork Kids: Wolfie and Serafina's kittens all have either their mother or their father's pelt. Furthermore, we see one with white Serafina fur bark like his father, whereas one with Wolfie's coloration has Serafina's build.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Dominick thinks his engagement to Anneliese is an example of this trope, but she's been kidnapped and replaced with a face double, and the woman he's hitting it off with is Erika.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Both Erika and Anneliese wear one.
  • Plucky Girl: Despite being worked like a slave, Erika is cheerful and high-spirited.
  • The Power of Acting: Julian and Erika's plan wouldn't have worked for a second if Erika wasn't so good at passing herself off as Anneliese.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Anneliese spends most of her screen time in a pink dress. Her main one worn for majority of the film was made by Erika.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Anneliese and Erika become very close, very fast, and Erika's willing to play a role in a potentially life-threatening scheme (of course, since this is a Barbie movie, she only gets thrown in the dungeon when she gets found out, but still) for Anneliese's sake after only one meeting, and Anneliese is particularly fixated on Erika's beautiful voice. The ending all but states that the two remain lifelong best friends.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Preminger, when there are too many people around for a full-out psychotic grin.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The queen wears a dress of pinkish-purple. Preminger wears a lot of deep purples, indicative of his desire to take over.
  • Rags to Royalty: Erika marries King Dominick.
  • Rebellious Princess: Subverted Trope. Anneliese does not like her royal lifestyle, but pledges to "remain forever royal" in spite of her desire for freedom. It's partly because of this that Julian grows suspicious of Preminger's claim she ran away to avoid her duty.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: This exact phrase is sung by Julian while teaching Erika how to act like a princess. It is later echoed by Erika after she has been arrested for impersonating the princess, and combined with Trying Not to Cry.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Preminger. He should probably just find new help, but then again the ones he has are pretty loyal to him...
  • Symbolism: The iron pyrite Anneliese classifies near the beginning of the movie and the geode she finds in the mine near the end. The pyrite symbolizes King Dominick and Preminger—both attractive marriage prospects from a political standpoint due to their wealth, but neither of whom Anneliese is interested in. The geode represents Julian, as she herself lampshades—"unassuming on the outside, but a treasure within."
    • Queen Genevieve's spectacles. Julian "misplaces" then when he introduces Erika as Anneliese, presumably to make it harder for her to see through the deception. The queen spends Erika's entire stay at the palace without them, representing her inability to see through Erika's disguise. She doesn't get them back until Preminger exposes Erika as an impostor. Then she wears them during the scene where Preminger essentially extorts her into marrying him in exchange for using his fortune to rebuild the kingdom's economy, when she finally sees the greed and ambition beneath his pretense of being a loyal adviser.
  • The Dutiful Son: Dutiful daughter, in this case. Anneliese is far from thrilled about her Arranged Marriage to King Dominick, but resolves to go through with it (and all the other royal duties she's not exactly fond of) for the sake of the kingdom.
  • Theme Naming: Nick and Nack. Their names come from the phrase, "Knick Knack", and they're rather pathetic in their attempts to aid Preminger's plans.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Though neither of them are particularly frail or boyish, Erika is a bit more street-smart than Anneliese (what with being a commoner and all).
  • True Blue Femininity: Erika is prominently clad in a blue dress.
  • Uptown Girl: While Anneliese and Serafina aren't really rich anymore, their relationships with Julian and Wolfie still have this dynamic, and it becomes the trope technically as well as in spirit when valuable geodes give the kingdom an income again.
    • Erika and Dominick are a gender-inverted example. She's a pauper and he's a King.
  • Villain Recruitment Song: The "How Can I Refuse?" reprise has Preminger convincing Queen Genevieve to marry him to save the kingdom from financial ruin.
  • Wakeup Makeup: Erika wakes up wearing a wig that is in perfect condition.
  • Wedding Deadline: Anneliese stops a wedding as her mother is halfway through the word "do".
  • Wedding Finale: The episode ends with a double wedding, with Anneliese marrying Julian and Erika marrying Dominic.

Live your dream.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Barbie In The Princess And The Pauper


To Be a Princess

"To Be a Princess" performed when Erika is living it up vs during her darkest hour.

How well does it match the trope?

4.18 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / DarkReprise

Media sources: