6.5/10
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The Blue Bird (1940)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, Family | 15 January 1940 (USA)
Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl, a woodchopper's children, are led by the Fairy Berylune on a magical trip through the past, present, and future to locate the Blue Bird of Happiness.

Director:

Walter Lang

Writers:

Maurice Maeterlinck (by), Ernest Pascal (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley Temple ... Mytyl
Spring Byington ... Mummy Tyl
Nigel Bruce ... Mr. Luxury
Gale Sondergaard ... Tylette
Eddie Collins Eddie Collins ... Tylo
Sybil Jason ... Angela Berlingot
Jessie Ralph ... Fairy Berylune
Helen Ericson ... Light
Johnny Russell ... Tyltyl
Laura Hope Crews ... Mrs. Luxury
Russell Hicks ... Daddy Tyl
Cecilia Loftus ... Granny Tyl
Al Shean ... Grandpa Tyl
Leona Roberts ... Mrs. Berlingot
Gene Reynolds ... Studious Boy
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Storyline

Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl, a woodchopper's children, are led by the Fairy Berylune on a magical trip through the past, present, and future to locate the Blue Bird of Happiness.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El pájaro azul See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Black and White (first reel)| Color (photographed in) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Considered Fox's answer to MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939), the film was an expensive failure and marked the end of Shirley Temple's unimpeachable star power. Audiences found the idea of Shirley playing a nasty character hard to swallow. See more »

Goofs

When the group is in the Cemetery, Tylo jumps in the shallow grave instead of falling in. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tyltyl: [sees the bird] Look, Mytyl! There's one!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits listed in hand turned pages of a book. See more »

Connections

Version of The Blue Bird (1918) See more »

Soundtracks

O Come Little Children
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Edward B. Powell and Frank Tresselt
See more »

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User Reviews

Unusual Fantasy Deserves Honorable Mention Among Temple's Films
21 March 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Although 'The Blue Bird' was not a resounding financial success at time of release, and has always been cited as being a poor imitation of 'The Wizard of Oz', it is an unjustly neglected film. Individual scenes are striking, as for example those depicting the unborn waiting in a kind of heavenly limbo (with billowing clouds) before sailing off to their destination on earth. (You can spot Dickie Moore and Scotty Beckett among the unborn lads.) Shirley Temple and Johnny Russell are tremendously appealing as the young sister and brother searching for the elusive blue bird of happiness. A highlight is Shirley's excursion to the Land of the Past where she visits her dead grandparents and does a charming song-and-dance to a yodel song. The studio would have been wise to incorporate a few more such songs. With added numbers, this might have been a much more successful film. As it is, her role is not strong enough, as written, and yet we can appreciate her by the film's end. She is particularly affecting in the scenes with the unborn children, showing genuine charm and affection and looking radiant in technicolor. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Special Effects and Color Cinematography), nominations which were well deserved. The spectacular forest fire is very effective, as are the special effects in general. In the supporting roles, Gale Sondergaard (as Tylette, the cat)has fun with a typical Sondergaard role, mistress of evil. Nigel Bruce and Spring Byington lend excellent support. Summing up, while the whole is not as great as its parts, this is a lavishly photographed film definitely worth viewing. Not a masterpiece, by any means, but there is much to appreciate and it should not be neglected.


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