Hats off to Judge Dan Mancini!
Our reviews of The Madeline Movie: Lost In Paris (published March 24th, 2010), Madeline's Christmas And Other Wintry Tales (published October 27th, 2010), Madeline's Great Adventures (published July 18th, 2010), and Madeline's Halloween And Other Spooky Tales (published September 19th, 2010) are also available.
In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived 12 little girls in two straight lines. They left the house at half past nine, in two straight lines, in rain or shine. The smallest one was Madeline.
From the late 1930s to the 1950s, Ludwig Bemelmans wrote six rhyming children's books about Madeline, a little girl who lives in Paris with 11 other girls and is cared for by a nun named Miss Clavel. Over the years, the simple, gentle stories have inspired a number of animated television productions, as well as a live-action feature film starring Frances MacDormand (Fargo). The longest running of the television productions was Madeline, which ran for 20 episodes on The Family Channel, beginning in 1993. The 22-minute episodes feature adventures in which Madeline and her friends have all manner of Parisian adventures. In 1995, the series moved to ABC for an additional 13 episodes and was renamed The New Adventures of Madeline.
Madeline on the Town includes three episodes of Madeline and three episodes of The New Adventures of Madeline:
• "Madeline and the Wedding" (The New Adventures of
• "Madeline on Stage" (The New Adventures of
• "Madeline and the Fashion Show" (The New
Adventures of Madeline)
• "Madeline at the Ballet" (Madeline)
• "Madeline at the Costume Party" (Madeline)
• "Madeline's Birthday at the Zoo" (Madeline)
Madeline and The New Adventures of Madeline are cheaply animated and the child voice actors' French accents are hit-or-miss at best, but the shows do a decent job of reproducing the simple charm of Bemelmans' books. This is in large part due to the mellifluous narration of Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) in the earlier series and Christopher Gaze in the latter, which hews closely to the poetic rhythms and cadences in the books. The New Adventures of Madeline relies too much on absurd characters like Mr. Hamislavski and Mme. Cliché, while Madeline better adheres to the sorts of simple plotlines that Bemelman crafted, based largely on Madeline's klutziness and naiveté as the youngest of the girls, but The New Adventures of Madeline is still solid entertainment for kiddies, deftly avoiding the shrill and sarcastic tone that too often characterizes more recent children's shows.
On the audio and video front, the episodes show their age and low-budget production. Detail is soft, colors are muted, and there's minor source damage throughout. The stereo audio mix is flat and lifeless, but never shrill or distorted. The limitations are in the source, not the transfer. The episodes from The New Adventures of Madeline fare slightly better than those from Madeline, but only slightly.
The disc contains no extras. The main menu offers a Play All option and a secondary menu from which you can select individual episodes. There are no scene selections, no subtitle options, and only the single audio option. That doesn't really matter, though, if your child is a Madeline fan. With six episodes from the two series and a running time of over two hours, Madeline on the Town is an excellent budget title.
That's all there is; there isn't any more.
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