Â She is very good at getting into trouble, but she's also fantastic in solving problems as well, and her school-mistress Miss Clavel is not too approving of her. Back at the school, Lord Covington appears and happily shares that he's sold the property to the ambassador of. Madeline takes the dog in and names her Genevieve. She is the only orphan and wishes she had a family since her parents died when she was very small. He at first dismisses her sympathy but Madeline speaks earnestly to Lord Covington about her own family being gone and says that Lady Covington is still with him and with the school and Miss Clavel, knowing Madeline is fearful of having no one if the school were to shut down, assures her that they'll be together, regardless of what happens. While out on a daily walk, Madeline accidentally falls into the while standing on the ledge of a bridge going over the river. They and Miss Clavel look for her the next day and go to a circus to cheer themselves up, but Madeline decides to run away with the circus because she feels lonely and wants a real home.
Miss Clavel, at first not knowing they had been kidnapped, eventually finds out from Aggie that Madeline has run away and leaves to find her. Madeline realises that Lord Covington is merely trying to sell the school. Murphy in the series, but renamed Helene in the film. Parisian schoolgirl and orphan Madeline Hatty Jones schemes to save her boarding school and home from being closed and sold by its owner, the severe Lord Covington Nigel Hawthorne , whose benevolent wife Stéphane Audran has recently passed away. While on her way, she finds Genevieve and takes her along.
But, true to her promise, Madeline searches for her name under the beds, finding it under her own. Madeline Hatty Jones , as legions of little girls, their mothers and their mother's mothers already know, is a pint-sized. Madeline confronts Covington and convinces him that his wife is still with him, and in the school also. During her stay, she meets Lady Covington. Unlike the books, the film takes place in 1956, not 1939. It was released on July 10, 1998 by.
The movie ends with the girls running off in various directions at the Luxembourg Palace gardens, while Miss Clavel follows them. Madeline is an , coming from neither family nor money, but maintains a positive attitude and is best friends with another girl, Aggie. Madeline still calls him Lord Cucuface both behind his back and on one occasion, directly to his face. She discovers Madeline in pain and quickly takes her to the hospital. On his way back home, Covington discovers Genevieve and turns her loose despite the pleads of the girls.
Meanwhile, Genevieve finds Madeline and the two try to hide from Lord Covington who is showing the house to the Liberian Ambassador and his wife. She turns almost all of the other girls against the chicken dish and make them vegetarians and cluck, which results in Miss Clavel sending the girls to bed without dinner, after a discussion with Lord Covington about how he'll close the school down as he has resigned from his job due to his wife's death. Leopold always called them idiots and they would get mad because it was their stage name. Miss Clavel, unnerved by Pepito's bothering her girls, attempts to make peace with the boy by giving his tutor, Leopold, a tool box for him, in hopes that it will distract him from his obnoxious ways. Pepito is the target of a kidnapping orchestrated by Leopold.
She suggests that Pepito drives it, since he drove one, but Pepito states he drives a Vespa scooter, which is very different from a motorbike as it does not have gears. The film's costume department went for some artistic licence in developing the costumes for Madeline. Their conversation is interrupted by the strict Lord Covington, who orders Madeline to leave. Madeline catches a cold, and when Miss Clavel and the rest of the girls leave on their walk, she hears Pepito complaining he doesn't have his keys. He is nonetheless convinced by Madeline, and the two use it to escape Leopold, who, along with the other Idiots, follows them. Madeline starts fighting Pepito, but Miss Clavel stops her and insists they leave. A few days later, when Madeline is ready to go, she and Miss Clavel discover that Lady Covington had died.
On their way out, Madeline steals Pepito's motorcycle keys to get even with him. Wanting to save the school Madeline forms an alliance with Pepito, enlisting his help to sabotage Lord Covington's attempts to sell the property but her efforts are ultimately discovered by Lord Covington, who initially blames Miss Clavel. Hélène decides to celebrate by fixing a vegetarian feast, to which Madeline responds and that she wants Chicken Hélène, with the girls squawking in agreement, only to be interrupted by the sudden arrival of Lord Covington. The police arrive and arrest the kidnappers. She tells her best friend Aggie that she's leaving, and makes her swear not to tell a soul.
Similar considerations were made for Frances McDormand's character, a who, according to research, would have worn a short black habit; a softer blue habit similar to the one worn by Miss Clavel in the books was used instead. During her stay there, Madeline meets Lady Covington, the wife of the school's board of 's member, Lord Covington. Their conversation is interrupted by Lord Covington, who tells Madeline to leave the room. Miss Clavel sees them pursuing them and in turn pursues Leopold. Miss Clavel and Leopold are about to both hit Madeline and Pepito, but Pepito swerves away just in time and Miss Clavel cuts Leopold off, making him and the Idiots crash into a nearby lake. Back at the school, Madeline nurses a cold and at the same time, tries to keep Genevieve away from Miss Clavel.