Caddie Woodlawn (1989) Poster

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Not bad, but Wonderworks has produced better
Lori S15 September 1999
This was made a few years after Wonderworks' presentation of the Canadian Broadcast Company's terrific "Anne of Green Gables," and "Caddie" just doesn't compare. Based on a classic children's novel of a tomboy in 1865 Wisconsin who helps avert an Indian massacre, the book is not as well-known as the "Little House" series, the first of which, "Little House in the Big Woods" also takes place in Wisconsin, in 1860. The production design of "Caddie" is too bright and clean for what should be a scraggly, woodsy primitive home in a remote area of the American wilderness. Lawns are trimmed and fenced, house interiors are too bright for oil lamps, and everyone has clean, starched clothes. But the worst thing is the synthesized music score! The best performance in the cast is not the girl playing Caddie, but the actor James Stephens playing her father John Woodlawn. Stephens gives a gentle, understated performance as her patient, understanding Dad. Also good is the Native American actor playing the local Dakota chief. Former "Hardy Boy" Parker Stevenson is just adequate as Caddie's uncle, and the screenwriter had to stretch to give Season Hubley (as Caddie's mom) enough to do. To sum it up, an OK production with a terrible, synthesized soundtrack. You're better off seeing Wonderworks' productions of "Anne of Green Gables" or "Girl of the Limberlost."
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