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Madeline: Lost in Paris
Directed by Stan Phillips
Produced by
  • Stan Phillips
  • Riley Kathryn Ellis
Written by
  • Jacqueline Feather
  • David Seidler
Narrated by Christopher Plummer
Starring
Music by Andy Street
Studio DIC Entertainment, L.P.
Distributed by Buena Vista Home Video
Release date(s) August 3, 1999 (1999-08-03)
Running time 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Madeline: Lost in Paris is a 1999 American direct-to-video animated musical adventure comedy-drama film produced by DIC Entertainment, L.P. It was released on August 3, 1999 to VHS by Buena Vista Home Video under the Walt Disney Home Video imprint. In 2009, the film was released on iTunes for the film's 10th anniversary.

Plot

The film begins during winter, as the twelve girls are shown walking outside "at half-past nine in two straight lines". Before they head out on their daily outing, they soon find out that their teacher Miss Clavel (Stevie Vallance) is sick with a bad cold. Dr. Cohn tells her to stay in bed until she gets better, and then tells the girls to give her warmth and love while she recovers. Suddenly, the girls are interrupted by Pepito who was playing his violin from next-door; he promises Madeline (Andrea Libman) that he'll stop playing until Miss Clavel feels better again. That night while getting ready for bed, the children begin to reminisce about the good times that they've had with each of their families back at home especially the times when they have been sick as well. Madeline also tells her friends about the good times that she's had with her own family; she also shows them a special gold necklace with animal printings on them that her mother had given her, unfortunately since both of her parents died many years ago she has no other family members to return to. Saddened by Madeline's story, the girls begin to feel sorry for her and they start crying but are soon comforted by Miss Clavel, who was awoken by the commotion. She reminds the girls that they all love and look out for each other, and that they are all are just as much a family as anybody else, comforting all of the girls.

One day, Madeline receives a mysterious letter in the mail from her long-lost Uncle Horst (Jason Alexander) from Vienna, who is planning on a visit. He arrives at the school later that week where is invited to have dinner with the girls including Lord Cucuface and Pepito's family, he then announces that he has been designated Madeline's new legal guardian (shows the court papers to Miss Clavel, her teacher). Horst plans on taking her to his hometown Vienna, to attend a fine finishing school, and plan on leaving the following day via the Orient Express. Madeline and her classmates react with shock, elation, and sadness. The children, wanting to prove that their school is just as good, puts on a musical to display their talents to Uncle Horst; however this does not impress him enough and he decides to take Madeline with him the next day.

That morning when Uncle Horst leaves with his niece the next morning, he takes Madeline on the Paris Métro instead of the Orient Express, to a distant and unfamiliar part of the city that's ravaged with poverty and crime. Presuming that she is being kidnapped, Madeline throws beads of her mother's treasured necklace to make a trail to where she is taken to, however she keeps one of the beads which has a lion on it as a memento. It is then revealed that Uncle Horst is not Madeline's uncle nor is he related to her, but a Frenchman and a failed actor named Henri (who can only do accents), who works for Madame LaCroque (Lauren Bacall), the owner of a bobbin lace shop/factory. Henri takes Madeline to the lace shop's basement, which is full of kidnapped orphan girls who are forced into slave labor to making laces to sell. One of the girls, Fifi, befriends Madeline. It is then revealed that Madame LaCroque forged Madeline's court custody papers, and that the criminal duo plan to steal her family inheritance as she works in the factory.

Shortly after Madeline left, Miss Clavel, the girls, and Pepito tried to stop her and Horst so that Pepito could give her his Halloween parting gift: a shrunken head from Brazil. They arrive at the train station, only to learn that the two had taken the Métro, not the Orient Express. They also find Genevieve abandoned at the station. Fearing the worst, Miss Clavel enlists the police to help them rescue Madeline.

At the lace shop, the child workers endure enormous amounts of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of LaCroque; especially when Fifi accidentally causes her coughing to turn one of the laces yellow. As a result, LaCroque decides to have her make only black lace in the dark, which could potentially render her blind, as one of the girls, Claire, explains that her grandmother lost her sight that way; Madeline defends Fifi and the other children in the process, but LaCroque retaliates and punishes Madeline for her backtalk by throwing her into a prison cell, where she sings a song about love along with the other orphans. After breaking off a loose brick, Madeline tells Fifi and the children that they should escape from the factory; however Fifi said that she tried once but was caught in the process, and consequently LaCroque cut off her once-long hair to make lace. When Madeline asks how LaCroque's cruelty originated, Fifi explains through a flashback sequence that LaCroque was once a famous cabaret dancer who experienced a performance disaster, by accidentally ripping her dress. Totally humiliated, she stopped performing altogether and sold all of her long blond hair to make lace. She and Henri then gained legal custody of all of the orphan girls. Rather than taking care of them (as they promised to the courts), they treat them as their miserable slaves.

Through following the trail of Madeline's necklace beads, Madeline's classmates, along with Pepito and Genevieve, find their way to the factory; back at the lace store, a customer tells LaCroque she wants red lace, which gives her the idea to cut Madeline's hair. Madeline tells her new friends that when an escape plan fails and that they may be small, but can follow as one. LaCroque interrupts their escape attempt and cuts off a few locks of Madeline's hair and prepares to torture her and the other orphans by deciding to give all of them haircuts. Back at the factory, Pepito uses his shrunken skull head to knock off LaCroque's wig from outside the window (revealing her bald head), and then frighten her to the ground. Meanwhile, Miss Clavel and the police catch Henri walking through the streets of Paris, planning to sell-off Madeline's belongings. Through a plea bargain deal, Henri agrees to lead them to the lace factory, in exchange for a lighter punishment. Madeline and all of her friends are able to tie up LaCroque in endless rolls of lace just as the police arrive with Henri and Miss Clavel. Henri makes one last attempt to escape, only to be tripped by Pepito's spool trick, allowing the girls to tangle him up as well. After the children celebrate their victory, the criminal duo are arrested and taken away by the police to be sent to prison and charged for their crimes; the girls give Madeline her mother's beads that they had found earlier. The factory girls, however, still have no family or a place to call home. During bedtime, Madeline's friends talk about what they would do with the reward money that they had received for LaCroque and Henri's capture. Danielle would go shopping for fashion, clothes and jewelry, Chloe would travel to exotic countries around the world, and Nicole would own a zoo "with all of her favorite animals". However, Madeline has a better idea.

A while later, Madeline (wearing her mother's now-repaired necklace) uses the money to open up a special school for the orphans; she also reunites with Fifi who now has long hair and is completely healthy and fully recovered thanks to treatment from Dr. Cohn. The girls from both sister schools rejoice in the fact that they are all one whole family. Madeline ends the film by smiling and winking at the audience.

Voice cast

  • Christopher Plummer as the Narrator
  • Lauren Bacall as Madame LaCroque
  • Jason Alexander as Uncle Horst / Henri
  • Andrea Libman as Madeline
  • Stevie Vallance (as Stephanie Louise Vallance) as Miss Clavel
  • Additional voices include Alex Hood, Jennifer Copping, Brittney Irvin, Tabitha St. Germain, Veronika Sztopa, Rochelle Greenwood, French Tickner, Michael Heyward, Garry Chalk, Dale Wilson, Jane Mortifee

Songs

  • Family - Madeline & 11 Little Girls
  • We Can Sing, We Can Dance - 11 Little Girls, Uncle Horst, Mrs. Clavel, Pepito's Mother, Lord Cucuface, Others
  • Something is Not Right - Miss Clavel, 11 Little Girls, Pepito, Madeline and Uncle Horst
  • Where is the Hope That I Once Knew? - Madeline & Laceshop Girls
  • Together - Madeline & Laceshop Girls
  • Family (reprise) - Madeline, 11 Little Girls, Pepito & Laceshop Girls
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