The Heidi story is reworked here to the point that original author Johanna Spyri doesn’t get a mention. It’s something of a sequel to the original tale, as now-teenage Heidi (Caton) is sent to boarding school in Italy, only for World War I to break out. Soon the Italian army has commandeered her school and the children are rounded up and taken to a harsh orphanage where they decide to escape, travelling across the Alps back to Heidi’s grandfather in Switzerland. Meanwhile, Gramps has heard what has happened and sent Heidi’s love, Peter (Sheen), off to rescue her.
Like a junior Sound of Music without the songs, this romps along with some nice performances from the children and boasts some superb scenery as the gang head towards Switzerland with the bad guy (Yorgo Voyagis’s orphanage owner) in hot pursuit. There’s just enough suspense, (chaste) romance and adventure to keep little girls entertained throughout, though older viewers may question Sheen’s casting (he’s twenty-five playing eighteen, and doesn’t drop the American accent) and the less plausible plot points.
Is Courage Mountain suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...