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Little Prince, The (1974)

Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s delicate fable about the meaning of life takes quite a tumble in this glossy, ultra-sophisticated movie version. Although it’s beautiful to look at, there is no escaping the leaden script and often derivative Lerner and Loewe score which leaves you pondering where you heard that song before – or one just like it.

It is probably impossible to translate on film the fragile tale of a pilot who crash-lands in the desert after experiencing engine trouble and meets (or dreams he meets) the Little Prince who claims to have come from Asteroid B-612 in a search for self-knowledge and peace.

The Little Prince regales the Pilot with tales of his encounters with strange characters, including a friendly Fox (Gene Wilder), a demanding Rose (Donna McKechnie) and a pernicious Snake (Bob Fosse). Each encounter taught the Little Prince a lesson.

Young Steven Warner struggles gamely with the titular role but is ultimately swamped by overly complicated dialogue.

There are moments when the story briefly comes alive – notably in his encounters with The Snake and with The Fox.

But even these and other good cameos cannot hide the fact that overall this is too solid an adult’s eye view of a story so ephemeral that it belongs naturally to words on a printed page and the limitless boundaries of one’s own imagination.

The Little Prince
Steven Warner
The King
Joss Ackland
The Business Man
Clive Revill
The Historian
Victor Spinetti
The General
Graham Crowden
The Pilot
Richard Kiley
The Rose
Donna McKechnie
The Snake
Bob Fosse
The Fox
Gene Wilder

Director
Stanley Donen