The Blue Bird (Of Happiness)

 
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Product Description

Visually beautiful, full of imaginative sets, and splendidly photographed in rich Technicolor, this enchanting fantasy was Twentieth Century Fox's answer to "The Wizard of Oz". In a rare departure from her usual screen persona, Shirley plays a selfish, spoiled little girl named Mytyl, who doesn't appreciate her loving family. Only after a good fairy sends her and her brother (Johnny Russell) on a journey to find "the bird that means happiness" does she end up discovering happiness right in her own home.

A poignant story of a selfish young German girl's search for happiness, Blue Bird is a classic Shirley Temple film with a storybook Hansel and Gretel feel. This restored and remastered 1940 film opens with a purposely grainy, black and white world that reinforces Mytyl's (Shirley Temple) ill-humored attitude toward life. Mytyl consistently complains about everything and fails to see that she and her family are really quite blessed until her father is summoned to war. A dramatic switch to Technicolor, now bright and clear thanks to restoration efforts, marks the fairy Berylone's (Jessie Ralph) nighttime appearance and the beginning of Mytyl's and her brother Tyltyl's (Johnny Russell) quest to find the blue bird of happiness. Lead by "Light" (Helen Ericson), the children and their faithful dog Tylo (Eddie Collins) and scheming cat Tylette (Gale Sondergaard) journey through the lands of the past, future, and luxury only to find a prevailing unhappiness. In the end, it's a journey of self-discovery that leads Mytyl to find true happiness in a most unexpected place. This film marks a departure from the typically sunny and cheerful characters played by Shirley Temple and was, in spite of its lavish scenery and nominations for Academy Awards in both cinematography and special effects, unsuccessful at the box office. (Ages 5 and older) --Tami Horiuchi

Customer Reviews:

  • Still Looking For Extras
    I have to agree with another reviewer that the Technicolor portions of this transfer look great, but the BW opening is fairly poor. I am also surprised that they didn't even bother to tint it to its original sepia color. And lastly, although I am glad that Fox is releasing these movies on DVD, would it really cost them that much more to put some REAL extras on these? It would open them up to a much wider market and boost sales. This series is a vast improvement over the first DVD releases Fox did a few years back, but there is still ample room for improvement for the girl who saved the studio 70 years ago. For those not familiar with the story, Shirley plays against type as the bratty Mytyl, daughter of a poor but hardworking woodcutter. After one of her outbursts about not having enough luxuries, her father is unexpectedly called to war and must leave in the morning. She apologizes to her mother at bedtime, but her mother finds little contentment in Mytyl's empty apology. After she falls asleep, Mytyl and her brother, Tyltyl, are summoned by the Fairy Berylune to find the Blue Bird of Happiness (this is where the film changes from black & white to glorious technicolor). Mytyl & Tyltyl visit the land of the dead, the land of luxury, and the land of the future, in addition to encountering a scary forest fire.

    The film was Shirley's first big flop (her previous film, "Susannah of the Mounties" already showed a slip in attendance), which was made worse by the fact that "The Blue Bird" had a larger than normal budget for a Temple film. It failed for many reasons; Shirley's faithful audience did not want to see her as a brat, and this film was unfairly compared to "The Wizard of Oz." "The Blue Bird" was much heavier in tone and even a little creepy at times--especially the visit to the land of the dead/past. However, when watched today, it can be appreciated on its own. It does seem a little sluggish at times, which can be blamed on the director, Walter Lang, who should have used a tighter pacing. Often it seems like a filmed stage play, rather than a motion picture. The special effects are fantastic, Shirley's performance is wonderful, and the sets are nothing less than lavish and arty--a true feast for the eyes. It is a little too mature for children, and a little too simple for adults; it falls somewhere in between. Ironically, Gale Sondergaard, who plays the evil villainess of the piece, was offered the role of the Wicked Witch in "The Wizard of Oz," but turned it down when she discovered that she would have to play it as an ugly hag, and not a glamorous witch (like the Queen from "Snow White")....more info
  • HORRIBLE MOVIE,,,Be warned
    I don't think I have ever seen such a tacky, low budget offering in my life. This movie had a confusing, boring storyline, phoney looking settings...and here's the kicker...there is no real Bluebird in the whole thing. The packaging tricks you. Obviously they graphically inserted a real Bluebird in Shirley Temple's hand for the DVD. And,the Bluebird is only seen briefly in the very end. Sadly, this was made back before animals were treated humanely by Hollywood. It looks as if they spray-painted the poor bird blue. He doesn't look too healthy to me. (I don't know if you're aware of it, but for example, Tarzan really did kill the lion in the old Tarzan movie.) I imagine this bird didn't live long after that scene. I bought this movie for my Granddaughter, because she loves The Wizard of Oz,,,but to mention W of Oz in the same sentence with this movie is an abomination. Save your money. ...more info
  • The Blue Bird
    As a small child I remember seeing this lesser-known movie, and it so impressed me that I wanted our small grandchildren to see it. I hadn't seen it since then, so I watched it again to make sure it was as I remembered. I know that when our "grands" come soon, they will enjoy it as much as I did years ago. Shirley Temple was magical little child, and the story line is unusual for a Shirley Temple movie in that it is a fantasy tale. I heartily recommend it for small children!...more info
  • An All-around Good Movie?
    I watched this movie a few years ago. Since I don't remember much about it I'm not going to explain what the movies about. The only part I remember is the fire and(?) the scene where she goes up to heaven and see's all the children who are going to be born in the future (???) I remember finding some parts of the movie boring but some parts were really good. The adding of color though messed it up and made the picture awful. Anyways this was a good movie....more info
  • shirley Temples Blue Bird
    Very disappointed. This is one of the worst Shirley Temple movies I have ever owned. Should be priced in the $1.99 movie section - a BIG yawner....more info
  • Much, much better than The Wizard of Oz
    Why the Wiz. of Oz is counted a classic while this one is brushed aside is beyond me. This one has so much more depth and reality - it's not just some light repetitive annoying vehicle for Technicolour. Here I feel the colour is very wisely used - there are no garish slippers or yellow brick roads, just a lot of understated hues and excellent lighting.

    The cast is superb though. The people who play Tylo and Tylette (the dog and cat, respectively, in human form) are perfect. I couldn't get over how very catty Gale Sondergaard was. The way she walked, talked, glanced about, touched her hair, lounged around... She had some pretty incredible talent. I did feel some sympathy for her (or was it myself?) when she got trapped in the forest... because she was so much fun to watch! I don't like dogs, so Tylo didn't make such an impression on me, but he did do a very good job.

    Shirley as Mytil and the little boy as Tyltyl were also well done and I thought their acting was very good, personally. The Luxuries were very strange.

    And I can't help but put in a word for the Light-Lady, who was very gentle and beautiful and had a lovely voice to guide the children with, as well as her luminous gown.

    The costumes were astounding, the sets very elaborate and well-done. I guess I can't say enough good things about this movie. I just really liked it.

    Oh, I should say though that the forest fire sequence is pretty frightening and that it might be a good idea to watch this before letting children see it... feel it out for yourself, of course, but I just thought that it was pretty intense and a bit much for young children.

    Well, I think that is all I should say. Watch this for yourself and enjoy it as much as I did....more info

  • breathtaking fantasy supreme!
    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....more info
  • Grandmas house
    when i was younger and i would visit my grandmas house, before bed i got to choose a movie to fall alseep to "The Blue Bird" was always my choice. the movie was filled with imagination and wonder. i fell in love with it the first time i saw it. now that my grandma has past away i want my own copy. not only because its my favorite movie, but because there will always be great memories with it....more info
  • Charming
    I had only seen this movie twice - both times in my childhood - but it stayed vividly in my memory over the years. It made a huge impression on me. I enjoyed watching it again last night after all this time, and it was as wonderful as I remembered.

    A shock at first to see delightful Shirley Temple playing a spoiled brat, in time I began to feel that she enjoyed the different role and embraced the chance to play a character so different from any in her earlier works. The movie is beautifully filmed and in gorgeous colour.

    The story is the usual moral fare for the period - an ungrateful child learns to appreciate the life she has after she sees life from the other side of the fence. Not a sophisticated tale by any means, but one that still left an impression on this reviewer when she was a child.

    I don't think I could recommend it to adults who enjoy contemporary movies as it lacks so much when put beside the modern cinematic fare, but for those who enjoyed it as a child or who enjoy other movies of the time, it's a sweet piece of nostalgia that is well worth a look....more info
  • Very good!
    Shirley is twelve years old. This movie is much like Wizard of Oz, even with the color change. Shirley and her little brother embark on a journey to find the bluebird of happiness, with the help of a witch, a jealous, greedy cat, and a loyal, humble dog. They look in the past, where they find their grandparents who have died, in the future, where they find their future sister, and in a wealthy home. This is a great movie!...more info
  • Sub-par attempt at Wizard of Oz
    I previewed this movie for my 5 year old after all the great reviews I saw on Amazon... This movie has poor production. The shifting from black and white to color was not explained but just happens.
    Then it is down right scary!
    Walking across the grave yard at midnight comes out ok but I'm curious Why can't light go with them? No real reason is given.
    the script is poor and pathetic. The lines these children were made to say makes me shutter...
    Someone raved about the grandma scene.. It teaches your child to think Grandma is only "alive" when you think about her. Yuck! Why lay that burden on a childs' shoulders.
    Oh and BTW all babies are pretty and caucasion before being born.
    The big fire scene is really frighting.
    Not to mention the script writer must have hated cats!
    This is not a movie for Cat lovers.
    I can understand why I had never heard of this movie.
    The production writing and acting leave a whole bunch to be desired....more info
  • The Blue Bird with Shirley Temple
    Since Shirley Temple has been a favorite most of my life. I like all of her pictures. This is one of the first films of hers that I purchased. The scenes about the babies and children being designated to go to earth were extremely helpful when we lost our daughter's full family (5) in a house fire. They were only lent to us for a while! I recommend everyone to view this because we never know what tomorrow will bring! I know they are in Heaven now and this is an easy way to explain it to children....more info
  • Don't buy it!
    I bought this video for my 7-year-old son, and we were both very disappointed in the movie. This is not a movie that you would want to own..... I would recommend renting it instead (if you must). The setting is dark, and depressing, the story-line appears to have been thrown together haphazardly, and the costumes for the fantasy characters are cheap (I've seen better costumes in a local school play). The only reason that this movie is in the "classics" section, is because it stars Shirley Temple....more info
  • I've loved this movie for years
    This has got to be one of my all time favorite Shirley Temple movies. I'm a collector of Temple films and was proud to add this one to my collection. This was quite a change for Shirley as she always plays a sweet and loving child. In this film , she is rather mean and selfish. As she searches for the blue bird of happiness she learns alot caring for others rather than just about herself. While in Heaven , she meets several children who are waiting to be born. If you pay close attention, you will see Abe Lincoln and several other people who will be famous once they are born. I cry every time the 2 young lovers are separated. This film is a MUST SEE!!!...more info
  • Australia - video doesn't work
    Really looking forward to seeing this film, but the video is not compatible with Australia....more info
  • Love it!
    I was counting the days for this movie to come out on DVD! I love it!...more info
  • ***PROFOUNDLY BEAUTIFUL***
    Although the film is in black and white...it is rich with vision and very multi-dimensional. For those who saw it as no more than a bad attempt to recreate OZ...you were obviously not watching, it was so much more than OZ ever was or could be. Just because it wasn't flashy and colorful does not mean that the depth of it's messages were anything less than "enlightening"...to learn that those we love may pass away, but are only a thought away is a lovely lesson for a child. The scenes of where children originate, were very complex and transcending...it covered such a broad expanse of beliefs. I will always treasure this movie...for it's subleties and expansive far-reaching ability to touch your soul. It was truly a life-altering experience for me...one that I didn't even realize or fully understand, until I was much older....more info
  • The Wizard of Oz it's not.
    MGM and 20th Century Fox battled nastily over the rights to the Wizard of Oz for over a decade. When MGM won, they wanted to "borrow" Shirley Temple from Fox to play Dorothy. A bitter Fox refused and decided to counter with "The Bluebird". Eddie Collins, Fox's staple comedian, played Temple's dog, Tylo. Had Fox won the rights to "Wizard of Oz", he probably would have been the cowardly lion. So instead of Bert Lahr fame, he became an little known actor that only great nephews like me remember.
    It was one of his last films before he died. In 1944, while in the middle of his first lead role, he died suddenly of a heart attack. The film was canned and had to be refilmed giving a young actor his big break. His name was Danny Kaye....more info
  • A classic that every child should watch - A hidden Jewel
    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...more info

  • A Remarkable film
    "The Blue Bird" Has to be one of the most beautiful and underrated films ever made. I am also a big fan of "The Wizard of Oz" But Iv always felt that The Wizard of oz was not a childrens due to it's scary scenes and I for one used to be very afraid of it. I could never just sit and watch it because I would always be worried about one Scary Scene after another. With The Blue Bird you can sit back and relax while your chiled gets a good clear useful message from the film. I advise any parent to show there children "The Blue Bird" before showing the Wizard of oz....more info
  • One of the best temple's film
    Great for children for the moral lesson and also entertainment. Shirley was a big girl with her brother. Nice fantacy story for children....more info
  • A great movie for everyone!
    I loved this movie. It taught me and my son to be so thankful. He understood it and was only 6 at the time. I loved the part about Heaven. This is a great "Be Grateful" movie. Who cares about the black and white, and then color... the movie was worth it. Everyone should watch this movie around Thanksgiving/Christmas time. It has become a tradition at our house....more info
  • Will be appreciated by a new generation of Temple fans
    For those of you not familiar with the making of the film "The Wizard of Oz", let me give you a little background. MGM studios originally wanted Shirley Temple to play the part of Dorothy, but Twentieth Century Fox had the popular starlet under an exclusive long term contract and wouldn't lend her out to MGM. Also, actress Gale Sondergaard who plays the humanized version of the cat Tylette in the Blue Bird was originally cast as the Wicked Witch of the West, but MGM decided the part should be played by a not-so-glamorous actress; so eventually, the role went to Margaret Hamilton. "The Wizard of Oz" went on to make cinematic history as a contender for the 1939 Best Picture Oscar and a royalties magnet for MGM with annual television network presentations. Envious of the success of "The Wizard of Oz", Twentieth Century Fox decided to make their own children's fantasy film. Shirley Temple had been Fox's most popular young star and one of their biggest box office draws. The studio went all out with a sizable production budget and plenty of publicity, but this film was shunned by most of the general public and the critics, and turned out to be one of Fox's biggest financial disasters. Until just recently, the "Blue Bird" was pretty much appreciated by only the most ardent of Shirley Temple fans. With showings at Shirley Temple film festivals and the advent of VCR's, this film is beginning to be appreciated by new generations of Temple fans. Just like "The Wizard of Oz", the movie starts out in black and white and transforms into color just before the children start out on their adventure. The plot is very imaginative and entertaining while teaching the young that the most important thing in life is to find happiness and be content with what you have. Fans of the old series of Sherlock Holmes films may recognize Nigel Bruce (who played Dr. Watson) as Mr. Luxury....more info
  • Early Color Classic
    Our grandchildren fell in love with Shirly Temple the way we did 70 years ago... Beautiful movie - be sure to watch it with the kids....more info
  • Early Color Classic
    Our grandchildren fell in love with Shirly Temple the way we did 70 years ago... Beautiful movie - be sure to watch it with the kids....more info
  • CHILDREN'S CLASSIC.
    In a Grimm's Fairy Tale setting, two children of a poor woodcutter seek the "bluebird of happiness" only to discover it in their own backyard (sounds like Dorothy going to Oz!) The script is imaginitive and chilling oftentimes with the art direction outstanding. The children playing unsympathetic roles hinder what could have been a much more charming excursion into a child's fantasy world. It must be noted, however, that Sondergaard is absolutely first-rate in her playing of the Tylette the Cat. Opinions are quite divided concerning this film (it was the first Temple picture to lose money when it was released in 1940) Many find Temple (in a cheekily selfish role) rather stiff and the production charmless while others see an elusive magical quality....more info
  • becks bluebird review
    once i recieve my video The bluebird i put it in straight away hoping to see if it was indeed as good as i remebered from my childhood. I have to say yes it was i was not dissapointed at all .It still captured me the same way as when i was a child and i really enjoyed it thank you amazon for helping me find this rare movie I was very grateful to finally find somwhere i could get this childhood favorite from. ...more info
  • Totally Charming Classic With Shirley Temple Excellent In A Very Different Kind Of Role
    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....more info
  • pure and simple story
    My grandchildren ( ages 7 and 4) love this movie. They have found a new friend in Shirley Temple and have totally embraced the moral of the story. They understand and explain it to me. My daughter, their mother, remembers it from her childhood and has said she is going to sit down with them for one of their multiple viewings. So glad to find a story that is really pure and simple....more info

 

 
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