The Blue Bird


Adventure / Family / Fantasy

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright71%
IMDb Rating6.2101877

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Sybil Jason Photo
Sybil Jason as Angela Berlingot
Shirley Temple Photo
Shirley Temple as Mytyl
Nigel Bruce Photo
Nigel Bruce as Mr. Luxury
Spring Byington Photo
Spring Byington as Mummy Tyl
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
760.62 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 22 min
P/S 4 / 25
1.38 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 22 min
P/S 12 / 47

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moonspinner556 / 10

Ambitious perhaps, but one watches not knowing what tone was intended

Shirley Temple's last lavishly-produced starring vehicle at 20th Century-Fox didn't come close to equaling the success (financial or otherwise) of 1939's "The Wizard Of Oz" from MGM (who had tried, unsuccessfully, to star Temple as Dorothy). This curious enterprise, based on the play, would seem to have a great deal in common with "Oz" (it even begins in black-and-white and turns to color),but the crucial elements of an identifiable plot are missing, and the young girl at the center of this story is consistently petulant. It was a fundamental error to make Shirley Temple unsympathetic; as the scowling, complaining daughter of a poor woodcutter, she wakes one night to an elderly fairy-woman knocking on her door and soon finds herself and her little brother on a search to find the Blue Bird of Happiness. The production is quite grand, but the saturated colors don't gleam and the set-designs are vast without having a sense of wonderment. As for Temple, she's a little bit stiff and self-conscious (odd for her),though her mature sarcasm in the prologue is very funny. Remade (disastrously, yet amusingly) as a musical in 1976. **1/2 from ****

Reviewed by lugonian8 / 10

Happiness Ahead

THE BLUE BIRD (20th Century-Fox, 1940),directed by Walter Lang, adapted from the story by Maurice Masterlinck, is an interesting failure in Shirley Temple's movie career. A worthy follow-up to her previous success of THE LITTLE PRINCESS (1939),a family oriented story also produced with lavish scale settings and glossy Technicolor, THE BLUE BIRD, a dream-like fantasy often labeled as the studio's answer to THE WIZARD OF OZ (MGM, 1939) starring Judy Garland, could have or should have become a box office success, but it didn't. Using the same opening credit method from Temple's HEIDI (1937) introducing the cast and staff through a series of flipped pages from an open book, THE BLUE BIRD, coming nearly three years later, did allow the now taller Temple to break away from her sweet wholesome image to a selfish, disagreeable adolescent. Unlike her most typical films where she often played either an orphan, or a daughter of a widowed parent, THE BLUE BIRD gives her a set of parents as well as a little brother.

Black and White prologue: Set on Christmas Eve in a little German town sometime in the 19th Century, Mytyl Tyl (Shirley Temple),and her little brother, Tyltyl (Johnny Russell) at the Royal Forest are introduced trapping a rare little bird into a cage. On the way home, Mytyl is called over by Angela Berlinger (Sybil Jason),a sickly child resting by her bedroom window, if she would be interested in trading the bird with one of her possessions, but is refused. Aside from Angela's mother (Leona Roberts) who labels Myrtyl as a selfish child, so do her parents (Russell Hicks and Spring Byington),which explains why Mytyl is never very happy. Problems soon arise for the family when Mytyl's woodcutting father is called to war and to report Christmas day. As the children go to bed for the night, (shift to Technicolor) they each dream of themselves searching for the Blue Bird of Happiness, thus, meeting with numerous characters to guide them: Fairy Berylune (Jessie Ralph),Light (Helen Ericson),their dog and cat, Tylo and Tylette (Eddie Collins and Gale Sondergaard),magically changed to human form. While going through many aspects of human experience, Mytyl and Tyltyl visit the past, going to the land of memories in the cemetery where they are briefly reunited with their deceased grandparents (Al Shean and Cecilia Loftus); living the life of richness in the mansion of Mr. and Mrs. Luxury (Nigel Bruce and Laura Hope Crews); roaming through the forest where danger awaits, with uprooted trees and blazing fire; and moving into the future where the children visit the Palace of the Unborn where they make the acquaintance of children awaiting to be born before finding their destinies on Earth - but still no finding of the blue bird of happiness. Upon their awakening, further events await them. (While it would be asking too much to accept two children to be having the exact same dream while sleeping, but considering this to be a fantasy, it's possible acceptance to the viewer).

Other members of the cast are Thurston Hall (Father Time); Sterling Holloway (Wild Plum Tree); and possibly every child actor in the movie business appearing briefly as Gene Reynolds; Ann E. Todd, Scotty Beckett, Billy Cook, Diane Fisher, among others. Johnny Russell, the doll-faced little boy has that rare distinction of having and sharing equal time with Temple, while the lesser known name of Helen Ericson as Light stands out as a sort of glowing guardian dressed in white angel with that Heavenly glow.

First produced as a stage play, then adapted as a silent movie (Paramount, 1918),and much later retold again (20th Century-Fox, 1976) directed by George Cukor, regardless of its negative reputation, it's the 1940 edition that's become the best known of the three due to frequent television broadcasts starting in the late 1960s, usually around the Christmas season. Though there are those who claim this BLUE BIRD has laid an egg, overlooking some dull passages, it does contain some fine moments of honorable mention: lavish scale settings with crisp, glossy Technicolor; the beautiful yet haunting score to "Through the World so Far Away" sung by children on with giant ship with the golden sail on their way to be born, this being one of the longer dream segments of the dream; and one with an important message. Reportedly consisting of occasional song numbers, all except one, "Lay Dee O," sung and danced by Shirley Temple to her grandparents, remains in final cut. In fact, this is one of the few instances where the film comes to life, being a sheer reminder of formula Temple cheerfulness. Eddie Collins adds occasional humor as the humanly frightful dog while Gale Sondergaard adds tastes of cat-eye wickedness, but no threat to Margaret Hamilton's scene stealing Wicked Witch of the West from THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Formerly available as part of the Shirley Temple Playhouse on video cassette in 1989, and later in DVD format, THE BLUE BIRD has turned up on numerous cable channels over the years, ranging from The Disney Channel (1980s),American Movie Classics (1996-2001),Fox Movie Channel, and finally Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: December 20, 2015). With the reportedly heavy editing of songs and scenes to abide to Temple's attention throughout, it's a wonder how THE BLUE BIRD might have turned out theatrically in completed form of more musical sequences as opposed to its 83 minute release of the blue bird search for happiness? Whether it would have made a difference between success and failure is anybody's guess. (***1/2)

Reviewed by Ron Oliver7 / 10

Shirley Temple's Last Child Role

An obnoxious girl, unable to find joy in her life, is sent by an elderly fairy into the Lands of the Past & the Future to seek for THE BLUE BIRD of Happiness. Her search will change her life profoundly...

Fantasy is the most difficult genre for film to create successfully. All the elements have to come together just right, and then, more often than not, success is a happy accident. Fantasy is not replicable; note the number of failed sequels. If 20th Century Fox was trying to emulate MGM's THE WIZARD OF OZ (an initial box office flop, it should be remembered),it was not a wise endeavor. Given its troubled production history, OZ should have been a disaster. That it was not still puzzles & delights film historians.

THE BLUE BIRD's ultimate failure is not complete. There are several very good things about it. The main trouble seems to be in the casting of Shirley Temple in the lead role. The greatest child star of them all was now aging, and prepubescent Shirley seems to depend a bit too much on the gracious memories of her devotees. She's still cute, but this time that's just not enough. Also, it must have been awkward acting such a nasty role, one doomed to be disliked by the audience for much of the film.

Gale Sondergaard, as the Cat, has much the same problem. She tries hard, but the role is very unsympathetic & we are never told why her character is so wicked - indeed, capable of murder.

It's interesting to note that both Temple & Sondergaard were important contenders for major roles in OZ, but were instead rejected for Judy Garland & Margaret Hamilton.

There are several cast members that do an excellent job with their material: Spring Byington, tender as Shirley's mother; wonderful old Jessie Ralph as the fairy; Eddie Collins, often very funny as the Dog; Nigel Bruce & Laura Hope Crews, giving ripe performances as Mister & Mrs. Luxury; and dear Cecilia Loftus & Al Shean as Shirley's lonely, dead grandparents.

Some of the minor casting is also very effective, witness Thurston Hall as Father Time, Edwin Maxwell as Old Man Oak & Sterling Holloway, on screen only a few seconds as Wild Plum. That's Scotty Beckett, from the old OUR GANG Comedies, as one of the Unborn Boys.

The use of Technicolor is very eye-appealing, although its initial entry into the film lacks the dramatic punch produced in OZ. The forest firestorm sequence is very well done & the Unborn Children scenes have genuine pathos.

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