Madeline: Lost in Paris is a 1999 American animated direct-to-video film, produced by DIC.
Compared to the episodes and other feature films of the franchise, this story has rather dark themes.
The animated musical film is released to VHS on August 3, 1999 by Buena Vista Home Video under the Disney imprint.
Shout! Factory released the film to DVD on April 3, 2010.
- Miss Clavel
- Twelve little Girls
- Henri Horst
- Lord Cucuface
- Madame LaCroque
- Madame LaCroque's Slaves
It's late winter in the city of Paris. The snow is falling one morning. At the Boarding School, the Girls prepare to head out for their morning walk. Genevieve frolics around in the snow, as the Girls wait for Miss Clavel. Just then, back in the school, they hear Ms. Clavel sneezing. They head back inside to tend to her, as Madeline calls Dr. Cohn. Mrs. Murphy makes some hot tea for Ms. Clavel, while Dr. Cohn examines her. He deduces that she needs to rest and tells the Girls to look after her.
At that moment, a horrendous noise filters over from next door. Pepito is trying to learn how to play the violin at the bequest of his Mother, and is having a difficult time of it. Because it's bothering Ms. Clavel, Madeline calls out to him and asks him to keep it down. Pepito is happy to do so, as he will get out of violin lessons. Dr. Cohn wishes the Girls good luck and then departs, assuring them Ms. Clavel will be better soon enough. Nicole, wanting to help Ms. Clavel, offers to lend her the prized marble set. She politely declines and drifts off to sleep. The Girls tiptoe out of her room and look after themselves for the day.
That evening, the snow has gotten worse. The Girls are in their bedroom, feeling doubtful in their ability to look after Ms. Clavel. Madeline asks the group what else they can do to care for Ms. Clavel. Everyone pitches their ideas, referencing how their families usually tend to them when they are sick (Chloe's Father reads her some stories, Nicole's Grandmother makes her onion soup, and Danielle's Mother plays dolls with her). All their stories, while heartwarming, seem to make Madeline more despondent. She pets Genevieve and speaks about her previous experiences with her Mother. She says that she would brush her hair in bed and let her wear the necklace that's given to her by Madeline's Father when they first met. Madeline abruptly ends the story. She tragically reveals that her parents have since died, leaving her all alone without family.
Of course, the other Girls are devastated by the news. Everyone bursts into tears. Ms. Clavel wakes up from the commotion and overcomes her illness to rush to the bedroom. The Girls tell her why they're sad. Ms. Clavel tells them that families are not necessarily bound by blood, and that they're themselves family. She reminds them what they say for grace at each meal. The Girls, especially Madeline, feel better by all this, and everyone heads back to sleep in their beds.
The next morning, the postman delivers a letter. By now, Ms. Clavel is feeling much better. She realizes that the letter is for Madeline, and it's certainly unexpected. It's from Madeline's long-lost Uncle Horst from Vienna, Austria. He's coming to Paris to visit Madeline, who's delighted by the news. She's cherishing the prospect of having a family once more, and the Girls clean up the house for Horst's arrival; "Family."
That evening, the Girls excitedly theorize what Horst must be like. (Chloe thinks he'll be a famous novelist, just like Victor Hugo; Danielle imagines he'll be an accomplished soldier; while Nicole assumes he'll be part of royalty). Madeline takes part in the wild imaginations, but also expects her uncle to be very kind. On their morning walk, Madeline can't help but tell all the street vendors about her uncle. Later in the morning, a taxi pulls up at the Boarding School's gate, and Madeline races to the door. Ms. Clavel asserts they must make a good first impression and keeps the other Girls calm.
She lets Uncle Horst into the house and introduces him to Madeline. He has a very distinct Austrian accent, which the Girls enjoy. Sure enough, he recognizes Madeline and states that he's from her Mother's side of the family. He quickly calls in his cabbie to hand out some boxes containing gifts for the Girls. They consist of very elegant lace collars, which the Girls adore. By now, everyone really likes the kind-hearted Uncle Horst. It's then that he drops some more bitter news.
He hands Ms. Clavel a court document which outlines his custodianship of Madeline. He explains that his whole life is in Vienna, so he must return and wants to bring Madeline with him. He states there's a very exclusive finishing school in the City that Madeline's Mother attended. While Madeline is caught off-guard by the prospect of leaving her friends behind, she feels obliged to follow her Family's footsteps. Horst says they'll be leaving for Vienna tomorrow aboard the Orient Express. Of course, everyone is disappointed that Madeline will soon be leaving, but Ms. Clavel has a brilliant idea. She invites Horst to return in the evening for dinner. He accepts and bids farewell for the afternoon.
After he leaves, Madeline consults with Genevieve about her reservations for departure, but states her belief that it will be for the best. Around the corner out of sight, Horst unexpectedly emerges from the cab, pays the cabbie and leaves the area on foot.
At the school, Ms. Clavel proposes to the Girls and Pepito that they make a good impression on Uncle Horst to convince him that the school in Paris is more than sufficient for Madeline's education. The Girls agree to be as polite, elegant and lady-like as possible. Pepito proposes inviting his parents as they have connected the school with high-society figures in the past. Ms. Clavel states she'll invite Lord Cucuface as he can further talk-up the school.
That evening, the school is spotless, and the Girls are decked out in their best dresses, as well as their lace collars. Ms. Clavel introduces Horst to the Spanish Ambassador and his Wife. The Ambassador explains that he's close with the King of Spain. It has connected many French and foreign dignitaries with the school. Horst seems to get competitive with this, and claims he personally knows a number of European, Middle Eastern and Asian royal dynasties, some of whom have daughters who will attend Madeline's school. As Ms. Clavel calls him over to introduce Lord Cucuface, the Ambassador looks rather embarrassed, while Pepito struggles not to laugh. Lord Cucuface is pleased to meet Uncle Horst as he knows many high-society people in Vienna. Horst seems a little bit nervous about this, until Cucuface struggles to place the people he met a long time ago.
Mrs. Murphy, wearing a very professional housekeeper outfit, announces dinner. She has made them an elaborately delicious banquet. Madeline and the Girls keep talking about Madeline's accomplishments at the school. Horst keeps assuring that the school in Vienna is even grander, proclaiming that Madeline's entire class roster will be made up of royalty. Of course, this makes Madeline simply nervous.
After dinner, the Girls, Pepito and the adults continue to try and convince Horst that the school in Paris is superior. They reflect on all their past adventures and what they've learned along the way; "We Can Sing, We Can Dance." Horst seems to get more irritated and dismissive of their insistences (he gets particularly annoyed with Pepito trying to play the violin again). By the end of the night, Horst remains adamant to bring Madeline to Vienna.
Lord Cucuface offers to drive Horst to his hotel. In the limo, Cucuface once again tries to convince Horst to let Madeline stay. But by now, Horst doesn't want to talk. Cucuface moves on to bring up a more sensitive issue. As it turns out, the Foggs were very noteworthy people and left her a very substantial inheritance. Horst seems more interested in this subject and states he can act as trustee until she grows up. Cucuface is assured by this and drops Horst off at the hotel. After the limo pulls away, Horst strangely leaves the hotel lobby and walks away to another part of the town. (By now, the narrator has become suspicious of his charming demeanor but peculiar behavior).
After Ms. Clavel sends the Girls to bed, everyone expresses their deep sorrow that Madeline will soon be leaving. Madeline attests she will visit and keep in touch, (but we all know how people eventually move on). The Girls all huddle up and declare they'll all be friends forever. Meanwhile, in the hour before morning, Pepito tries in vain to prevent the morning from coming by trying to silence the rooster as he doesn't want to see Madeline leave. Unfortunately, he can't overcome astrophysics, and the crack of dawn arrives.
That morning, the Girls are very downhearted. They brush their teeth in quietness, Madeline tries not to make eye contact with anyone. The Girls make their beds, while Madeline removes her mattress, then rolls up her blankets and pillows. At breakfast, the Girls have a mournful breakdown during grace. Even Ms. Clavel has to weep. As 9 AM approaches, the Girls help Madeline pack up her clothes and personal items. Danielle gifts Madeline her favorite doll. They have a little bit of trouble closing the suitcase as it's overpacked. Meanwhile, Pepito is going through his toy chest to find a parting gift for Madeline. In his typical "Bad Hat" fashion, he settles on an old present from the Brazilian Ambassador – a SHRUNKEN HEAD! This freaks out his cat, and he wraps it in earnest.
Outside the gate, Uncle Horst has arrived by taxi to pick up Madeline. Unexpectedly, Genevieve runs up and jumps into the taxi. The Girls have agreed that Genevieve should go with Madeline, who's very thankful for this gesture. Horst gets annoyed and forbids Genevieve to join the trip. Seeing the Girls groan about this, Madeline puts her foot down and says she won't leave without her dog. Horst reluctantly relents. Before their departure, Ms. Clavel steps forward with a gift for Madeline. She reveals that she has been holding onto Madeline's Mother's priceless beaded necklace. She places it around Madeline's neck as a parting gift. Madeline hugs and kisses Ms. Clavel on the cheek, overjoyed to have the necklace and memory of her Mother once again. Horst then rushes Madeline to conclude her farewell, they enter the cab, and it departs. The Girls wave goodbye as Madeline and Genevieve watch sadly from the backseat.
As soon as the cab rides around the corner, the Girls give a gloomful wail. Ms. Clavel sniffles too, but tries to lift the Girls' spirits by reminding them that Madeline is with her family, and they can one day visit her in Vienna. As they're filing to return to the school and get on with their lives, Pepito runs up (his usual lateness quirk). Unspeakably, he's anxious to hear that Madeline has left without him saying goodbye.
Unable to leave things like that, Pepito commissions his Family's chauffeur to drive himself, the Girls and Ms. Clavel to the Austerlitz train station so he can give his gift to Madeline. Ahead of them, the taxi has arrived at the train station. But oddly, Uncle Horst leads Madeline and Genevieve to the Paris Métro instead. Madeline's a little put off by this. Horst claims that they first head for a store a few stops away and buy a new dress for Madeline (he doesn't sound particularly convincing in this plan). Nonetheless, they head into the Metro.
In the limousine, Pepito unwraps his present to show the Girls the shrunken head. They panic at the sight of such a grotesque idol, causing the driver to swerve and nearly crash as they approach Gare d'Austerlitz. In the Metro, Horst, Madeline and Genevieve arrive to board a subway train. At the last second, Horst coldly pushes Genevieve out the door back onto the platform. Madeline is obviously distraught by this as Horst claims that dogs won't be allowed on the Metro. He also states that they'll pick her up when they return. He seems even more frustrated now, like Madeline's understandable antics are costing him something. Some of the other passengers seem concerned for Madeline's well-being, but Horst convinces them she's just excited. He then sternly tells Madeline to stop questioning him and do exactly what he says. Madeline begins to suspect something is seriously wrong.
At Austerlitz, it's 10 AM! Ms. Clavel, the Girls and Pepito are rushing to meet the Orient Express before its departure for Vienna. They catch the conductor, who checks the ticket reservations. However, he reports that Madeline and Horst have not checked in to the Express. More than that, they're not even BOOKED on the train! Ms. Clavel realizes something is definitely wrong. She, the Girls and Pepito start frantically searching the station for Madeline; "Something is Not Right." Ms. Clavel is now convinced Horst wasn't who he said he was.
At the same time, the Metro has gone MORE than a few stops. Madeline sees that they're at the end of the line. Horst continues to say everything is okay, but his tone seems more threatening. As they emerge from the Metro, Madeline does not recognize the neighborhood. It's very derelict, impoverished, decaying, and the people look downright hostile. Madeline now KNOWS something horrible is happening, but she also knows she has very limited options. Calmly, but out of sight, she breaks her Mother's necklace and drops one of the beads on the Metro's steps. As they continue through the twisting, dilapidated streets, Madeline periodically drops beads without Horst knowing.
Meanwhile at the train station, after failing to find Madeline, the Girls and Pepito reunite with Genevieve. Realizing she came from the Metro, Ms. Clavel decides it's time to call the police.
They finally stopped at a lace shop. As Horst arrives to open the door, he accidentally drops Madeline's suitcase on his foot. In pain, he lets out a string of French curses. Madeline's suspicion reaches its peak, and she questions why he no longer has his Austrian accent. He pathetically attempts to resume speaking that way, but Madeline calls him a foolish liar. Horst drops the act, gets furious at Madeline's insolence, grabs her by the collar and drags her into the store. When he dragged her, she drops the penultimate bead in front of the shop.
'Horst' roughly shoves Madeline through the store as she demands to know who he really is and what's going on. He impatiently states his name is Henri, and he has no relation to Madeline. She despairs at the situation, realizing not only is she being kidnapped, but she's now completely alone. Henri cruelly tells her she's trapped and not going anywhere before shoving her down the stairs into the cellar.
There, a very sharp-tongued voice demands Henri to close the door. Madeline takes in her surroundings. She's in what could be described as a sweatshop dungeon. At several rows of tables sit nine young girls about her age, busily working on lace. They are all thin, pale and sickly. They are wearing very bland, ratty clothes. Half of them have had haphazard haircuts. Henri trips and falls down the stairs, then lands in a heap. Madeline, not wanting the situation to get even worse, hands him his fallen hat. Someone claps, and the person speaking earlier reveals herself.
The woman is tall and severe. She berates Henri for his clumsiness, his previously failed acting career. She states she hates useless people like him. She then turns her attention to Madeline, berating her for not showing fear. Madeline admits she is afraid, but defiantly states that she's very brave. The woman scoffs at this before introducing herself as LaCroque, short for Crocodile. Henri whispers to Madeline that she used to be know as "La Jolie Fleur" (The Pretty Flower). LaCroque barks at him to shut his mouth, demonstrating that she's the boss of this criminal enterprise. Madeline asks what happened to LaCroque (as she isn't very pretty anymore) to which Henri tells her she "wilted."
LaCroque again forbids Henri from speaking. She takes out a pair of very threatening scissors, takes hold of Madeline's wrist and drags her to the back of the room. The other Girls watch on in fear as she forces Madeline to sit down at one of the workstations. She demands Madeline's complete obedience, knocks off her hat, and tells her she'll be making lace products for her for as long as she sees fit. And if she doesn't fulfill her roll, LaCroque menaces her with the scissors and threatens to cut off her hair and use it to create lace.
Madeline is shocked by the situation and looks desperately at the Girl sitting next to her. Not wanting to suffer LaCroque's wrath, she quickly resumes her task without making eye-contact. LaCroque storms back to her desk at the head of the workshop. She reveals that she forged the court documents that established Henri as Madeline's guardian. She and Henri celebrate the progress of their scheme. Using custodianship of Madeline, they will send a fraudulent tuition bill for the non-existent School in Vienna to the bank where Madeline's family fortune is kept. In short, they'll steadily milk the trust fund with ease.
Madeline is angered by this, calling LaCroque and Henri criminals. The Girl next to her quickly tells her to quiet down. Not wanting her to get in trouble, she gives her an apron and pillow necessary for manufacturing lace. She then shows how to make lace using bobbins and thread. It's a complex procedure to the inexperienced Madeline, but the Girl tells her she will learn fast. She begs her to be submissive and productive, warning her of LaCroque's fury.
Madeline ignores the last part, still infuriated to have been swindled and enslaved. Meanwhile, LaCroque and Henri are finishing their discussion. Henri is content to keep Madeline prisoner forever, having been very frustrated to have to deal with her and her friends earlier. LaCroque finds that suggestion amicable, as she hates children herself. Before they leave for other business, LaCroque delivers a final threat to Madeline. She tells her to work for her meals. In case of disobedience, red hair is in high demand for fine lace.
Across town, the police have arrived at the boarding school. Ms. Clavel leaves with the inspector to file a missing persons report. She assigns the Girls to wait under the care of Mrs. Murphy. Without confidence in the adults to solve the problem, the Girls resolve to find Madeline themselves. They begin formulating a plan of investigation, but then realize they will get nowhere if they can't ditch Mrs. Murphy. One idea comes to mind: Pepito!
Back at the workshop, Madeline takes a break from her work to look at the final bead she kept. Her workmate, known as Fifi, asks her about it. Madeline tells her it's her Mother's, but she had to break the necklace it came from. Fifi, being from a much worse orphaned situation than Madeline, at first thinks Madeline had to sell them to survive. But Madeline lets Fifi know about her strategy of dropping the beads. She remembered the story of "Hansel and Gretel", and decided to apply it in reverse. She is confident that her friends will, at some point, come looking for her and use the trail of beads as clues.
Fifi persistently coughs through their conversation, indicating she has been ill for some time. She compliments Madeline's ingenuity, but gives her condolences for having to cast away her Mother's beads. Madeline is upset about that, but says she intentionally kept one leftover to feel strong and hopeful. Fifi despairs that no one is looking for her. Madeline kindly offers to be her friend, and tells her she must always have lots of hope.
At that moment, LaCroque and Henri return, prompting Madeline and Fifi to resume their work. Fifi, feeling a little more confident now that Madeline is there, giggles at LaCroque. She declares that any laughter is forbidden, once again telling Henri to shut up when he tries to add in his own proclamation. The Girls laugh at this, but quickly fall silent when LaCroque snaps her scissors.
At the school, Pepito arrives. The Girls catch up with him on the mission to find Madeline as he sets about distracting Mrs. Murphy. He sets loose a mouse in the kitchen as she's making meat pies. She panics and jumps on a stool, afraid of the mouse. The Children use their opportunity to sneak out.
At the workshop, Madeline feeds its resident mouse some crumbs from her stale bread for lunch. Fifi explains the small rodent is their pet and asks her not to tell LaCroque about him. Madeline snidely remarks that she has nothing to say to LaCroque, describing her as monstrous. Fifi has a chuckle at this, to which LaCroque demands to stop yapping or else she'll take away her meal. To add insult to injury, she and Henri are enjoying their very filling lunch, giving the Girls meager loafs of stale bread. Madeline remembers that Genevieve was left behind at the Metro and frets about her well-being.
At the local police station, Ms. Clavel describes "Uncle Horst" to the police sketch artist. She's not having much luck, unfortunately, as the artist considers himself to be a professional. Meanwhile, picking up the trail at the Metro, the Children ride along the route. At each station, Genevieve sniffs the platform for Madeline's scent. They spend all day working their way down the line until it's 6 PM. The Girls know they must come home before Ms. Clavel.
Pepito is dismayed. But since the next stop is the last, it gives them a solid start for tomorrow's search. As they board the Metro home, they wonder about Madeline's condition.
At the workshop, LaCroque finally ends the shift at 7 PM. She lines up the Girls to collect their finished products, and sneers that there will be a lot more antiques to be finished tomorrow. When it's Fifi's turn to hand her the lace, LaCroque is displeased. Fifi's coughing has ruined the white lace, turning it yellow. Fifi apologizes meekly and begs for mercy, but LaCroque isn't interested in feeble apologies or pleas. As punishment, she assigns Fifi to only work with black lace, intending to make an example to her fellow slaves. Fifi sobs in despair and tells Madeline that working on black lace in the dark can cause blindness. One of the Laceshop Girls, Claire, explained how her grandmother was blinded that way.
Hearing this injustice, Madeline stands up to LaCroque. She tells her she can't treat Fifi like that. She points out that she needs sunlight, more food and some medicine. LaCroque stifles her defiant speech and demands silence, enraged by the act of impertinence. Deciding Madeline needs to be punished and separated from the other enslaved girls, she shoves Madeline into a single prison cell in the basement. She and Henri walk away, laughing at her.
Madeline sits sadly in the darkness of her prison cell, cold and hungry. She takes out the bead, thinking of her Mother. She lets out a few tears, and spends the evening pondering what went so wrong; "Where is the Hope that I once knew?" Even after losing her parents, she remembers having kind friends and caretakers, a warm and welcoming home. Now all that's been taken away, as well as her freedom and dignity.
However, she sees a bee fly in through the barred window and it gets tangled up in a cobweb. Looking at the bead's lion picture, hope returns. She knows that she's brave and resourceful, as well as the situation that becomes survivable. She kindly rescues the bee from its trap (it doesn't sting her out of thanks) and sets it free.
Madeline then hears singing voices coming from the wall. She recognizes it to be Fifi and the other girls keeping themselves spirited. Using a rusty nail, Madeline dislodges a brick and opens a small talking portal to the larger basement area where Fifi and the other girls sleep. Fifi asks her if she's okay, and Madeline says she is. She then declares they need to work together and escape. Fifi is doubtful as she tried once before. LaCroque made good on her threat and cut off her pretty long hair to make black lace, making her look like a boy.
Madeline asks how LaCroque became so horrible. Fifi tells her that many years ago, LaCroque used to be a famous cabaret can-can dancer. During one performance, she tore up her dress and fell off the stage. She was publicly humiliated and fell out of the world of the arts. Penniless, she sold her golden blonde hair to start over. She grew cruel, abusive and money-hungry at the world, jealous of the beauty and success of others. From her past career, she's experienced in manufacturing lace and apparently also crafting legal documents. She came into contact with Henri, a failed actor who was angry at the world and in need of work, then recruited him as her partner so she could build the workshop and launch her criminal enterprise.
Madeline sympathizes with the situation that turned LaCroque evil, but is still rightfully angry that she chose the virtue-less path of preying on other vulnerable people. Madeline says she isn't intimidated by LaCroque's threats of having her hair cut off, reasoning it will grow back and the prospect of escape is far better. Fifi goes on to say that like Madeline, they are all orphans, only unlike her, they had neither money nor connections. Henri plucked them out of orphanages using the similar scam of claiming guardianship, then LaCroque greedily put them to work as slaves.
Madeline tells the Girls that they're all in this together, and while they aren't bound by blood, they're still a family. The Girls are touched by Madeline's words. Even their pet mouse seems happy. They all share a good laugh. From the hallway, LaCroque overhears them. She's too tired to do anything about it for the night, but snarls to herself that Madeline is a thorn in her side. Outside, a thunderstorm starts.
At the School, the Girls brush up for bedtime, despondent over their failure to find Madeline. Ms. Clavel tries to keep their spirits up by promising they will keep searching tomorrow and for as long as it takes. The Girls agree in earnest and say some prayers that Madeline is safe. Meanwhile, Madeline sleeps peacefully on her straw cot, feeling more hopeful and confident.
The next morning, Ms. Clavel sets out for the police station again. Pepito puts the tested plan of distracting Mrs. Murphy into motion. However, she has borrowed his Mother's cat, causing the poor mouse to faint. Pepito comes up with a new and better idea.
At the workshop, Madeline has become far more adept at making lace and has crafted her own plans for damage. She and the Girls reconfigure the knots to read out discrete distress messages to customers. Unfortunately, LaCroque has her eyes like a hawk and quickly catches on to their plan. She lines up the Girls and demands to know who planned the act of rebellion. None of the Girls come forward, but Madeline subtly insults LaCroque by sarcastically suggesting a flaw in the thread quality caused the issue (referencing LaCroque's onstage embarrassment). LaCroque is enraged by this, and demands everyone return to their work. After she and Henri leave, Madeline formulates a new plan and snatches some cheese from LaCroque's desk.
At the School, Pepito reproaches his original plan. He uses a whip to annoy to distract the cat. Then when the cat has gotten attention, he shows it his shrunken head, giving it much fear. It runs into the kitchen and jumps on poor Mrs. Murphy's head. For good measure, Pepito releases the mouse again, and the Children sneak out of the house as the melee in the kitchen unfolds. (By now, Mrs. Murphy is surely thinking of early retirement).
At the Workshop, Madeline passes around the cheese to the other Girls. They all sew bits of it into the lace. Their pet mouse quickly takes interest, then bites into and rips up the threads. LaCroque sees this and becomes enraged. She demands to know who's messing with her operation, but since the mouse has eaten all the cheese, there's no evidence to pin the blame. However, she begins to strongly suspect Madeline as being the culprit.
The Children ride the Metro directly to the last station on the route. Genevieve sets out, catching a small whiff of Madeline's scent. However, their lead dead-ends when they reach a medium-sized puddle. Last night's rainstorm certainly erased the trail. The Girls refuse to succumb, but are unsure of what to do next. Genevieve then spots one of Madeline's beads resting on the stairs. They quickly find another and realize they have a physical trail. They find about half the necklace before they can't find anymore beads.
The Children fan out to canvass the neighborhood. Nicole then spots some local boys playing with their marbles. She recognizes them as Madeline's beads and snatches them. One of the boys gets angry at her and takes them back, claiming they found them. Danielle asks where they found them, and he points them in a new direction. Knowing how important the beads are to Madeline, Nicole offers to trade her prized collection of marbles. The boy accepts, the other Girls thank Nicole for her selflessness and wander off to find Madeline.
In the ground-level lace store of the workshop, LaCroque showcases a number of laces to a prospective customer. She claims they are antiques sold to her by financially troubled noble families (but they could very well just be fakes or stolen). LaCroque then shows her a more audacious piece – a black lace collar made from human hair (most likely Fifi's). Henri tries to talk up the sale, but he isn't helping much. The high-paying customer is impressed, totally oblivious to the nefarious schemes of the duo, but mentions she has a red silk dress that she would like to match a lace collar with. LaCroque is interested in the prospect, knowing exactly where she can get red human hair. She lies to the client, saying that such a piece requires discreet inquiries and search to get an up-front deposit. She tells her to come back in a few days. LaCroque tells Henri to dial it back when attempting to sell, because he's not good at it.
Downstairs, the Girls have decided to attempt a direct escape. Madeline organizes them into a human pyramid and begins to climb. Upstairs, LaCroque gleefully anticipates cutting off Madeline's hair, and making her and the Girls spin it into lace. To tie up loose ends, she gives Henri Madeline's suitcase to pawn off her possessions. She tells him to use the money to buy a new strong lock, planning to make the single dungeon cell Madeline's permanent room. Her goal is to break Madeline's spirit and prevent her from organizing any more uprisings.
Downstairs, Madeline calls Fifi to the top of the human pyramid, then reveals she's afraid of heights. Madeline encourages her, and Fifi courageously climbs to the top. Unfortunately, another coughing spasm causes the pyramid to collapse in a heap. Fifi apologizes, but Madeline says its alright and they can try again. However, two of them say that it's not gonna work, reasoning they are neither big nor strong. Madeline says her stature never stopped her from being brave. She rallies them up to start over by saying they can do anything as a team; "Together."
They re-complete the pyramid and are just about to reach the window. Just then, LaCroque arrives downstairs. She sees the pyramid and becomes infuriated. The Girls, startled by her ugly appearance, collapse and quickly race to hide under the workstations. LaCroque demands Madeline to come out and face her punishment. While in hiding, Madeline gets a new idea. As LaCroque passes by her workstation, she ties a long strand of yard to her shoe. Madeline tries to move to a new spot, but LaCroque spots her and gives chase. Madeline tries to run around the stations to ensnare LaCroque, but she catches her. Seeing that Madeline has destroyed another lace piece, she prepares to cut off her hair.
A few blocks away, Henri is making his way to the store with Madeline's suitcase. He rudely shoves past a young street-boy begging for change. As fate would have it, Ms. Clavel is traveling with the inspectors who are canvassing the neighborhood. Although Henri has changed his outfit, Ms. Clavel recognizes him. The police turn around the cruiser and put on the flashing lights, prompting Henri to bolt down the street. As he passes the boy he snubbed earlier, he sees the situation and trips Henri in retaliation.
Ms. Clavel identifies Henri as "Uncle Horst." He tries to convince the inspectors he has no idea what Ms. Clavel is talking about. She yanks Madeline's suitcase out of his hand and opens it. Considering it's full of a little girl's clothes and toys, the police are convinced he is involved in Madeline's kidnapping caper. The boy laughs as Henri looks sullen, knowing he is busted. Ms. Clavel demands to know where Madeline is. The inspector threatens Henri with severe charges if he doesn't comply. Henri refuses to say anything, obstinate that his plan is falling apart.
Out front of the lace shop, Danielle finds Madeline's final bead. Genevieve sniffs around and starts pawing the shop's door, convinced Madeline is inside. However, the store is closed. Chloe spots a basement window and kneels down to check inside. She's horrified to see LaCroque slicing off a lock of an interned Madeline's hair, to which LaCroque is distracted. Madeline is about to get away again. It's now the Workshop Girls' turn to put their plan into action. Fifi and Patty use their thread to tripwire LaCroque and start tying her up with thread.
The School Girls watch in terror at the events unfolding. Pepito sees a curtain hanger in the trash, and gets a new idea. Madeline, Fifi, Kelly and Tanya manage to bind up LaCroque's feet. But she easily cuts her way out. She threatens haircuts all around, and corners Madeline to finish hers; who then spots her friends upstairs signaling to her. She winks back, knowing help is coming, even with LaCroque thinking she is just trying to trick her again.
Ms. Clavel implores Henri to tell them where Madeline is. She points out that if he cooperates, he will surely receive a lighter sentence. The police inspectors concur and not wanting to go to jail for good, Henri relents his offer to tell them. The inspector, showing him distrust, demands he lead them to the location.
Madeline laughs at LaCroque to irritate her once again. With the distraction, Pepito sets up his trap. He ties the shrunken head to the hanger and swings it in the workshop through a broken window. Just as LaCroque is about to cut off another lock of Madeline's hair, Pepito swings his trap at the back of LaCroque's head. It connects and knocks her hair-piece wig clean off! The Workshop Girls burst into hysterical laughter as the trap comes back and knocks LaCroque on her backside. She drops both her dreaded scissors and the key to the workshop, trying to escape from the shrunken head. Fifi grabs both and motions to the outside group that she will let them in.
Pepito rallies the School Girls into the store as the Workshop Girls mob LaCroque with Madeline, Tanya and Violet holding the throngs lace to tie her up. Fifi opens the basement door and lets the group down. LaCroque is now ensnared and outnumbered 22 (23 counting Genevieve) to one. Just then, the police cruiser pulls over to the store's sidewalk. The inspectors and Ms. Clavel hear LaCroque's frustrated screams at the children, being sure to levy the worst of her outrage at Madeline. Ms. Clavel hears this and runs into the store. The adults find the children having completely tied up LaCroque and mocking her. Ms. Clavel and Madeline joyfully reunite, having missed each other so much.
Ms. Clavel is stunned to see the rest of the children there partaking in the rescue. The inspectors restrain LaCroque. She sees Henri sulking in the back and deduces he ratted her out. She tries to convince the inspectors he came up with the scheme. Henri panics and tries to flee, but he's cornered on all sides. LaCroque, intent on bringing Henri down with her, uses her old can-can kick to trip him; while Pepito lassos his feet with some yarn. He sprawls on the ground. Anne, Monique, Fifi and Susan ensnare him up with lace too. LaCroque jeers at Henri, but her tirade is cut short when Madeline dumps more lace to gag her.
All the Girls laugh and cheer at the villains' downfall. The police remark that there will likely be a substantial reward paid for by the city government to Madeline for breaking up the criminal enterprise. They lead LaCroque and Henri to the paddy-wagon, assuring long prison sentences for both. Ms. Clavel hugs Madeline and congratulates her courageous conduct. Madeline says she couldn't have done it without her friends. Chloe and Nicole step forward with Madeline's beads, much to her delight. Madeline then hugs Fifi and congratulates all her Workshop sisters. Madeline states she has learned the true meaning of family, and now she wants to return home. Ms. Clavel agrees, and Madeline finally reunites with Genevieve.
The next morning, everything is back to normal. Madeline is none the worse for her previous dark adventure, although her hair is still a bit lopsided. On their morning walk, Ms. Clavel watches dumbfounded as the Girls walk by, all having their hair cut exactly like Madeline. But seeing how they cut their hair in solidarity, she is quite proud of them. That evening after Ms. Clavel puts everyone to bed, the Girls discuss how Madeline should utilize her substantial reward money (Danielle suggests Madeline goes shopping; Chloe suggests traveling the world; Nicole suggests creating a private zoo). However, Madeline has other ideas, not forgetting a promise made to her friends.
A few weeks later, summer has arrived in Paris. Madeline has chosen something very wonderful to do with her reward money. She has made a donation to start a charitable boarding school for the Workshop Girls and other orphans in Paris. Lord Cucuface has helped her establish the school and matched her contribution. By now, all the Girls' hair has grown in naturally, they're now colorful, well-dressed and not fearful of LaCroque anymore.
Cucuface hosts a grand opening ceremony to much fanfare. He congratulates Madeline and his new set of students for their bravery and dedication. As the crowd applauds, Pepito gives Nicole a new set of marbles he procured, much to her delight. Madeline and Fifi reunite. She thanks her for all her assistance, and reveals that she's successfully recovered, thanks to Dr. Cohn. Madeline asserts they will visit often as sister-schools.
Ms. Clavel tells Madeline she's very proud of her for donating her reward to something so productive. Madeline says it's what her parents would have wished. She's now wearing her mother's refreshed necklace with pride. Madeline remarks how she's very fortunate to have such a big family; "Family reprise."
The narrator concludes the tale with the iconic "And that's all there is. There isn't anymore." Closing out a brilliant year-long tenure by Christopher Plummer.
- Andrea Libman as Madeline
- Christopher Plummer as the Narrator
- Jason Alexander as Uncle Horst/Henri
- Lauren Bacall as Madame LaCroque, the owner of her lace factory.
- Brittney Irvin as Nicole, Kelly Radcliffe
- Stevie Vallance as Miss Clavel and Genevieve
- Veronika Sztopa as Chloe, Claire Sullivan
- Kathleen Barr as Susan William
- Tracey Lee Smyth as Danielle
- We Can Sing, We Can Dance
- Oh Dear, Oh Dear
- Where is the Hope That I Once Knew?
- Family (reprise)
- This is Pepito's first film appearance along with his parents. He later returns in Madeline in Tahiti.
- Henri, LaCroque, Fifi and her fellow Lace shop Girls, Roxy, Tanya, Kelly, Heather, Susan, Claire, Patty and Violet, are the only exclusive characters who appear in the movie, thus never making another appearance.
- Heather is the only character who dosen't have her own line in the movie.
- Madeline is the only known student at Miss Clavel’s school who is an orphan.
- This was the last production of Madeline which included Christopher Plummer (he died in later years) as the narrator.