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Western Animation / Heidi's Song

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Heidi's Song is a 1982 Animated Musical produced by Hanna-Barbera based on the novel Heidi by Johanna Spyri. It was directed by veteran H-B animator Robert Taylor, with the screenplay by Taylor, Joseph Barbera and Jameson Brewer, and is one of only three animated features Hanna-Barbera made that did not feature their trademark characters (the other two being Charlotte's Web and Once Upon a Forest).note 

Like the book, the film tells the story of an orphaned girl named Heidi (Margery Gray) who is taken to live with her grandfather by her Aunt Dete. Heidi's grandfather (Lorne Greene) initially dislikes having Heidi around because she interferes in his routine. But when her grandfather hurts his leg, Heidi helps nurse him back to health, and the two begin to bond. But all is not well when Aunt Dete (Virginia Gregg) arrives to take Heidi away again, saying that a wealthy family in Frankfurt, Germany, wants Heidi to come live with them...

The film was received well enough but never garnered the attention or praise that Charlotte's Web did. While Paramount distributed the film during its theatrical run and VHS releases, this film is part of the Hanna-Barbera librarynote , with Warner Bros.note  eventually releasing the film to DVD for the first time in 2012 through the Warner Archive.

Do not confuse with Heidi, Girl of the Alps which is based on the same novel but is a different work.

Heidi's Song provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Peter was sympathetic enough in the book, but mostly a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. In this movie, he's downright heroic. Likewise, Tinette the maid was haughty and unsympathetic in the book, but a kind and sweet young woman here.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Miss Rottenheimer and Sebastian. Rottenheimer is an antagonist in the book, sure, but she wasn't evil like she's presented in this movie. And Sebastian is a good guy and friendly with Heidi in the book; here he's decidedly villainous.
  • Advertised Extra: The mountain monster is only featured for less than a minute in Heidi's nightmare, yet it's the most prominent Evil Overlooker on the movie's poster.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of Heidi.
  • Animated Musical: They didn't change the title to Heidi's Song for nothing.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Both Heidi's grandfather and his dog have them.
  • Butt-Monkey: Gruffle the dog suffers a lot for comedy.
  • Casting Gag: Sammy Davis Jr., a member of the Rat Pack, voices the leader of a group of actual rats.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Heidi, just like in the source material.
  • Credits Medley: The end titles feature Hoyt Curtin's arrangements of "That's What Friends Are For," "Heidi" and "Wunderhorn". A final reprise of "That's What Friends Are For" closes out the film.
  • Creepy Jazz Music: "Ode to a Rat" is the big-band-style Villain Song sung by the evil rats.
  • Dark Reprise: Of "Heidi" after she leaves the mountain.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Heidi's dead mother and father are this.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Heidi's grandfather is gruff and unfriendly at first but warms up to her later.
  • Determinator: Peter when he realises Heidi's in trouble, he cycles all the way to Frankfurt with his animal friends in tow to rescue her.
  • Disney Acid Sequence:
    • Heidi's Dream Sequence fittingly features a variety of colorful and surreal creatures.
    • The She's a Nothing song sequence has Rottenheimer, Sebastian, and Schnoodle transform into monstrous versions of themselves to torment Heidi.
    • Ode to a Rat uses surreal imagery frequently, but the most notable part is the dance sequence near the end, which has the rats transported to a dimension with bright colors and patterns evocative of the Jazz Age in the background.
  • Disney Death: When the tree Heidi's grandfather was cutting falls down on top of him, Peter rushes to his aid and thinks he's dead, and the grandfather responds, "Who's dead?"
  • Dream Sequence: Heidi has one early in the film, in which she dreams she's taken away by the spirits and other supernatural creatures that live on the mountain.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Klara is one.
  • Evil Overlooker: The film's poster has the heroes on the bottom, with some of the antagonists (the mountain monster, Miss Rottenheimer and Schnoodle, and the rats) watching them from above.
  • Friendship Song: When Peter realizes that Heidi's in trouble, he rallies the country animals to rescue her by singing "That's What Friends Are For".
  • Friend to All Living Things: Heidi makes friends with animals with an ease that would make a Disney princess jealous!
  • Grumpy Old Man: Heidi's grandfather may be cantankerous but he does mean well, as shown when he is nursed back to health.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Heidi is blonde and a very sweet girl.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Peter tells Heidi her grandfather is this and he's right, at least at first.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Heidi may as well be the poster child.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although Heidi's grandfather can be harsh, his actions over the course of the film show that he deeply loves her.
  • Kick the Dog: Rottenheimer's general treatment of Schnoodle the dog.
    • Schnoodle in turn is the same towards Wolfgang.
  • The Kids Are American: Heidi sounds American while her aunt and grandfather both have European accents.
  • Limited Animation: Some sequences are reused, most obviously on the animals.
  • Mountain Man: Heidi's grandfather is a rugged mountain man through and through.
  • Nightmare Sequence: The scene where Heidi has a nightmare about dancing with a group of goblins and then suddenly, the mountain comes to life and tries to grab her.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Heidi has Spritz the baby goat (a clear Expy of Schneehopli from the book) and her grandfather has his dog, Gruffle.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Both Margery Gray and Roger DeWitt, Jr. don't even bother to hide their American accents.
  • Oh, Crap!: The grandfather and Heidi have a collective moment of horror when the former realizes that the tree he was chopping down is going to fall on him.
  • Papa Wolf: Heidi's grandfather becomes this once he warms up to her. Even before that he was willing to throw himself under a falling tree to push her to safety.
  • Prefers Going Barefoot:
    • As usual, Heidi prefers to walk barefoot. She even removes her boots in the opening sequence. She is forced to wear shoes when she is sent to Frankfurt.
    • Peter the young goatherd.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • All the rats have red eyes. Even lampshaded in the Villain Song: "And 'E' is for your evil eyes of red!"
    • Inverted with the kindly old goat of the mountain though, who also has red eyes.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Spritz, the little black goat, is adorable.
  • Scary Symbolic Shapeshifting: The Villain Song "She's a Nothing" is a Disney Acid Sequence where Rottenheimer, Sebastian, and Schnoodle take on various monstrous forms to show how cruel they are as they mock Heidi. Rottenheimer's monster form resembles a Wicked Witch, Sebastian's resembles a Big Red Devil, and Schnoodle becomes a snake/dragonlike thing, and later a giant green version of himself.
  • Unnamed Parent: Heidi's grandfather is unnamed in this adaptation.note 
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: When Miss Rottenheimer and Sebastian's plans are foiled, they decide to pack up and exit the Sessemann mansion.
  • Villain Song:
    • "Ode to a Rat", sung by Sammy Davis Jr. as the Head Ratte as he encourages the rats to be as vicious and nasty as possible, after Heidi very nearly talks them into being friends with her. See Friend to All Living Things above.
    • "She's a Nothing," by Miss Rottenheimer and Sebastian as they mock and bully Heidi, trying to make her feel small and insignificant. The song features a Disney Acid Sequence where the two villains (and Rottenheimer's dog) turn into terrifying monsters that torment Heidi.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Aunt Dete, Heidi's aunt, disappears from the rest of the movie after she delivers Heidi to the city.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The basement rats.

"As you go down the third time, they'll admit
That's What Friends Are For."


Video Example(s):


She's a Nothing

Rottenheimer and Sebastian bully Heidi through song, accompanied by a Disney Acid Sequence of them turning into monsters.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainSong

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