powered by AFI
According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Twentieth Century-Fox bought the rights to the book in September 1936 from Sol Lesser. The deal included the rights to a screen treatment already in preparation for Lesser. According to an April 1937 Hollywood Reporter news item, Otto Brower, who was originally scheduled to direct, completed background shots in Switzerland for the film. During production, Mary Nash replaced Violet Kemble Cooper, who was forced to withdraw because of an impending operation, according to Hollywood Reporter. Gene Reynolds is listed as a cast member in Hollywood Reporter production charts, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. A Hollywood Reporter news item noted that this film, along with Twentieth Century-Fox's Ali Baba Goes to Town, would utilize a new three-tone tinting process, which had been under development for the previous ten months. The process involved a combination of sepia, amber and copper tones for daylight, and blue, orange and copper tones for nighttime. New York Times noted that the print shown at the Roxy Theatre in New York was tinted softly in sepia and blue. This film's preview in Glendale, CA on October 8, 1937, was attended by Shirley Temple and Jean Hersholt. Jule Styne, in his autobiography, states that he was Temple's vocal coach for this film. According to modern sources, some scenes in the film were shot at Lake Arrowhead, CA, and the cast also included Greta Meyer, Bodil Rosing, Elsa Janssen and Victor Kolberg. Other films and television programs based on the same source include a 1953 Swiss film and its sequel in 1955, entitled Heidi and Peter; a 1955 NBC-TV broadcast, produced and directed by Max Liebman and starring Jeanne Carson, Wally Cox, Elsa Lanchester and Natalie Wood; an Austrian film released in the U.S. in 1968 (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, F6.2098); an NBC-TV special in November 1968, directed by Delbert Mann and starring Jennifer Edwards, Michael Redgrave, Jean Simmons and Maximilian Schell; and an NBC television special entitled The New Adventures of Heidi. The November 1968 NBC-TV special preempted the end of an exciting football game, which caused much dissatisfaction among viewers who missed an exciting finish and prompted the networks to adopt a policy of never preempting football games again.