Totally Charming Classic With Shirley Temple Excellent In A
Simon Davis | 04/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Attacked by critics and a failure at the Box Office at the time of it's release in 1940 "The Blue Bird" has with time been redeemed and is now quite rightly viewed as a classic film of it's time containing one of Shirley Temple's most interesting performances. The public and critical indifference to the film at the time of its release had alot to do with the fact that Hollywood's formerly adorable moppet and sweetheart of the depression years was now playing a selfish young girl who is only reformed near the conclusion of the story and also because film's less upbeat story suffered when inevitably compared with "The Wizard of Oz" released just the year before. I truly love this film with its strong message of appreciating what we actually have in our lives as opposed to always thinking other things are better. Shirley Temple I believe, has never been better than in this slightly older more serious role made just as she was unfortunately slipping from being Hollywood's number one attraction at the Box Office. This film's failure, combined with Shirley's declining popularity finally broke the long string of successes Twentieth Century Fox had enjoyed through the 1930's with Shirley Temple films and after one more unsuccesful release with "Young People", also in 1940 the reign of Shirley Temple as the Box Office Queen of Hollywood was definately over forever.
Certainly the "The Blue Bird" lacks the great songs and show bizzy appeal ...but its theme is a much more serious one with indeed many morbid qualities to it. I believe the two should be viewed as totally separate. ...The whole production is a ravishing feast for the eyes. The sumptous sets, gorgeous color and the costumnes make this film a sight for the eyes. Never has there been a more lavish Shirley Temple film. The graveyard scenes are very eerie and very well done and when Temple along with her younger brother played by child actor Johnny Russell visit the land of luxury the sets are unbelievably beautiful . Nigel Bruce and Laure Hope Crews lend their considerable talents to the scenes in the land of luzury and Gale Sondergaard makes a deliciously wicked Cat.The film , despite the two young children starting off as selfish individuals, has many touching moments in particular when they visit their long dead grand parents. It is a very beautiful scene which stresses the importance of family ties even after death and it never fails to move me.The special effects in the film of the great forest fire, people being turned into animals etc are top notch and give "The Blue Bird" a magical quality that can be enjoyed by all.I think it is a film that should be in all lovers of family films collections. ...I think you will love "The Blue Bird" even if you aren't a fan of Shirley Temple but just love lavish well made classics from Hollwood's golden age when such things were done so well and with so much care."
Breathtaking fantasy supreme!
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 03/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE BLUE BIRD was Twentieth Century-Fox's answer to MGM's THE WIZARD OF OZ. Shirley Temple was originally mentioned for the role of Dorothy in OZ, though Fox was leary about releasing her from her contract.
Based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, the story recounts one sad and angry little girl, Mytyl (Shirley Temple) who journeys with her brother Tyltyl (Johnny Russell) to find the 'bluebird of happiness'. Joining the children on the quest are the children's pets - cat Tylette (Gale Sondergaard) and dog Tylo (Eddie Collins) who have been magically changed to human-form.
Just like in OZ, the film changes from drab black-and-white to glowing and rich Technicolor, though OZ is of course the superior of the two. Shirley Temple is given more of a dramatic range to work with here, playing a little girl with rougher edges and thus more 'real' than her previous film roles.
Gale Sondergaard is deliciously-devious as the children's cat, and Spring Byington is perfect as Mummy Tyl. Sybil Jason who co-starred with Temple the previous year in THE LITTLE PRINCESS, plays Mytyl's afflicted friend Angela."
"The Blue Bird means Hapiness"says Berri Lou
Maureen R. Tagliaferro | Middlesex, NJ United States | 01/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite Shirley Temple movie and I being a lover of "The Wizard of Oz," I fell in love with "The Blue Bird" also. I love stories that have fantasy plots and adventures of young children seeking love and/or happiness. The characters in the story are very creative and loveable-except for the mean Tylette and the greedy Luxuries. The setting is beautiful for being an early 1940's picture. I'm a big fan of Shirley Temple and love anything she does, but this is my favorite all time movie of hers. If you have children or are a child of the heart, rent or buy the movie from the trustworthy Amazon.com. If you miss out on this movie, you are missing out on a classic picture."
A classic that every child should watch - A hidden Jewel
Maureen R. Tagliaferro | 09/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I LOVE this movie, what a valuable message it teaches children. The scene where the grandparents plead with the children to think of them is so sweet I cry every time I watch that part of the movie, makes me think of my own dear grandparents. And the unborn children waiting for the boat to take them to their parents...now who could not be touched by that scene? I loved the part where the kids go to the house and are spoiled rotten. This movie is fun, colorful, imaginative, endearing... a movie you will never forget once you've seen it. Perhaps Shirley Temple is the reason this movie is not given the merit it deserves, it unfairly gets lumped in with all her other vehicles. This is not your usual Shirley Temple Orphan flick!Waiting for it to come out on DVD...hint hint"