The Little Prince Studio: Paramount Year: 1974 Rated: G Length: 88 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Audio: English Dolby Surround (2.0) English Subtitles, Closed Captioned Special Features:None SRP: $14.99 US Release Date: April 6, 2004 I’ve never read Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s book, The Little Prince. I was actually unfamiliar with the story until this DVD arrived for review. Apparently, though, the original story is a much revered children’s book in France. I’ve read that the film doesn’t do the original story justice. No big surprise, there, since what one can imagine in a story like this is usually more impressive than what is put on celluloid. Having not read the story, I can’t directly make a comparison assessment. I can, however, say that the film is a warm and enchanting children’s musical. At its core, The Little Prince is about lost youth. It’s about a man who suppressed the child in him too early in life, and rediscovers it through an unusual encounter in the desert. Richard Kiley plays a pilot, stranded, alone in the desert after his small plane crashes. While attempting repairs on his craft, a strange child approaches. The child claims to be from another world, and claims to have met many beings before the pilot. The young prince tells the tale of his travels from a remote asteroid where his only companion was a defenseless rose, to other worlds where the residents were less than friendly, and to Earth, where his first encounters were with a snake (Bob Fosse) and a fox (Gene Wilder). Of course, the prince’s tales are filled with delightful music (by Lerner and Loewe) and dance. Bob Fosse becomes a snake, and Gene Wilder is a fox. Costumes and makeup are not needed, They just are. Kiley’s performance is the common thread throughout the film, with strong performances from all. With sure-footed direction by Stanley Donen and some great Lerner and Loewe music, and some interesting cinematography (I love the fox sequence) and unusual set design... how can you go wrong? This is a gem of a film that is a good choice for the whole family. ... and remember... it’s not a hat! The Video The DVD features an anamorphic, 1.85:1 transfer. The Technicolor process struts its stuff here, with gorgeous, true colors and impressive saturation. There is good contrast in the transfer, with deep blacks and good shadow detail. Some fine grain is present in some darker scenes. The image is sharp and detailed, with no sign of edge enhancement or compression artifacts. The unusual sets and stage lighting, and fantasy atmosphere, make for an interesting visual presentation that is well expressed on this DVD. There is an occasional speck of dust on the film, but nothing intrusive. The Audio There is no 5.1 track on this DVD... we have only an English Dolby Surround (2.0). The music is well represented, with good frequency response. Both vocals and the full orchestral score sound very good. Dialog is clear and full, and always intelligible. The front soundstage is used to good effect, with only ambient effects in the rear. Though the soundtrack doesn’t have a dedicated LFE track, the film does have decent bass response. Special Features There are no special features. Final Thoughts I thoroughly enjoyed this Lerner and Loewe music, based on the French children’s story. The DVD does it justice, and is priced to sell. Recommended.