“Little Lord Fauntleroy” is a 1936 film adaptation of the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The movie tells the story of Cedric Errol (played by Freddie Bartholomew), a young boy from New York who discovers that he is the heir to a British earldom. Cedric is initially excited about his newfound title but soon learns that his grandfather, the Earl of Dorincourt (played by C. Aubrey Smith), is a cold and distant man who disapproves of Cedric’s mother and wants nothing to do with her or her son.
Despite this, Cedric travels to England with his mother (played by Dolores Costello) to claim his title and inheritance. Along the way, he makes friends with several people, including the earl’s kind-hearted gardener, Dick (played by Mickey Rooney), and the earl’s beautiful but unhappy daughter-in-law, Lady Hester (played by Constance Collier).
Cedric’s natural kindness and innocence eventually begin to thaw the earl’s icy demeanor, and he comes to appreciate Cedric’s positive influence on his household. However, when Cedric falls ill with pneumonia, the earl realizes just how much he has come to care for the boy and rushes to his bedside to offer comfort and support.
In the end, the earl decides to rewrite his will to make Cedric his heir, despite the objections of his scheming lawyer, Havisham (played by Guy Kibbee). Cedric’s mother, who had been prepared to leave England with her son if the earl did not accept them, is overjoyed at the turn of events, and Cedric’s new status as the future Earl of Dorincourt is celebrated by all.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, Hugh Walpole, John Cromwell
Freddie Bartholomew, Dolores Costello, C. Aubrey Smith