Was an attempt to compete with The Wizard of Oz. I have a sentimental affection for it, always the ugly stepsister. Any fans?
Don't you know that the Bluebird means happiness?
that movie still gives me nightmares. Way too trippy and freaky. The future-dead unborn sibling? the dead grandparents? the cat as evil human? no.
r1 Remember this, life is no abyss, somewhere, there's a bluebird of happiness.
Not a good movie.
Shirley too gooey sweet and borderline to old.
Had a european feel to it.
If it was so bad, why did they remake it with Fonda and Liz Taylor?
And we all know R5 how successful THAT film was.
The only movie I know with Fonda and Taylor was "Ash Wednesday".
Now THAT was a movie. Wonderful.
I thought this was going to be a soap thread.
It was made more than once. i always thought Maeterlinck was a pretty good playwright.
R9, you're referring just to some vague sense of reputation, right? Since you don't cite even one other work?
His "Blue Bird" is hideous. Period. His "Le Bourgmestre de Stilmonde" and "La Mort de Tintagiles" are much more representative of the quality of his writing. Such as it is. He was Belgian, after all, and therefore one does not expect much. It is hard to imagine what possible combination of talents could have made a decent movie out of the crap he left with that bird thingy.
He wrote a sequel to "The Blue Bird" that no one knows anything about - I've never been able to find it.
"The Blue Bird", the original with Shirley Temple, was a huge flop. Shirley starts out in the film as a very unlikeable little girl; nobody wanted to see Shirley Temple like that. It was also very creepy; I've never been able to watch it all the way through. I heard that the cat-turned-into-a-human characters ends up getting burned alive!
I did see the grandparents segment, which is unbelieveably unsettling. The children wander into a graveyard and see the graves of their dead grandparents and wish they were there with them. Then it cuts away to the grandparents, who slowly "wake up"; it seems they that when they are thought of by their loved ones they awaken from their "sleep." After a brief reunion (the grandparents beg the children to stay longer) they're left alone again, bemoaning the shortness of the visit and hoping it won't be so very long before they're thought of again. Then they go back to "sleep." It's the most depressing, spooky thing you've ever seen.
Why was "The Blue Bird" remade? Well, obviously some Hollywood types thought it would be a good idea. And it was a big budget production with major stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Fonda in it. But it too flopped big time. I guess that story was just never meant to be made into a movie.
I have real respect for this movie, even thought it wasn't exactly a "great" movie. The special effects were much scarier than the WOZ. The scene with the unborn children was extremely memorable and stays with you forever after you see it. And I always love Gale Sondergaard.
Don't forget me, you trashy cunts! My only role to outshine Luxury was as Lorne Greene's daughter in EARTHQUAKE.
I think the fashionable attitude toward this curious film has always been to slag it off as an obvious and disastrous attempt to re-create the "Wizard of Oz" but I would argue it merits a more objective look.
Firstly,the production values are state of the art for 1940....the sets are grand,sumptuous, imaginatively designed and well-executed. The costuming is of course detailed and luxurious as one would expect from a big budget fantasy production of the time and although not used as effectively as in "Wizard" the badly in need of restoration Technicolor cinematography is still a striking example of the distinctive looking 3 strip process.
I thought the optical printing in the spectacular forest fire scene was technically very remarkable as well as being a effective and exciting sequence. The other stand out setpiece and to me the most poignant in terms of story and acting was the Maxfield Parrish influenced "Land of the Future".
To me the "look",atmosphere,music and allegorical character of this film gives it a classic and unique feel as that type of story telling,art direction and dye transfer color only occurred for a short period in Hollywood.
This movie has a lot of tie-ins to "WOZ" like the switch to color,the "it was all a dream" and "there's no place like home" storyline and the central character being a somewhat dissatisfied little girl. It also features Gale Sondergaard who,as some of you may know, was the original choice for the Wicked Witch of the West.
The Blue Bird is an odd and interesting film and I quite like it.
It's an odd film, R16, without being interesting.
Sorry, it may look cool in places, but every spoken word is the kind of creepy moralizing that you find in the worst kind of children's literature.
Which is strange, because it was originally a play that was meant to be seen by adults.
I thought it was a bore when I saw it. I'd seen the Liz Taylor one first, so I thought "At last I'll see the GOOD version!" and it was better-made than the Liz one, but still a bore.
I saw it once as a kid and it totally creeped me out.
Very astute, R15. The 1940 version of Thief of Bagdad comes near WOZ, I think. It's certainly more highly regarded than "The Blue Bird", but now somewhat obscure.
I am beginning to question this claim that the Blue Bird was made in response to Oz. The Blue Bird was released less than five months after Oz was released. It seems hard to believe that a film like this could have been written, gone through pre-production, photographed and post production in such a short amount of time. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to learn both films had their production times overlap.
There is a silent version of the film that is very much worth seeing.
The "Liz Taylor" version was a Soviet/US co-production. It was chosen as it is a beloved Fairytale in the USSR.
Many years ago I saw a production that was supposedly an exact duplicate of the original Moscow Art Theater production. It was really rather amazing, particularly when all of the inanimate objects in the kitchen come to life (milk, fire, etc.)
It was a fine motion picture film for instilling morals in children.
Interesting theory R22. I, like probably everyone else, had been lead to believe the Blue Bird was released a year after Oz. But really, it wasnt. And yea, it does seem unlikely a film with its sort of technical and production values could all be done in a few months time.
My guess is the Blue Bird was in response to the same film Oz was in response to: Snow White. The Disney feature was a huge hit and demonstrated that films of fantasy/fairytale origins and aimed at children could be profitable.
I think you are all being too simplistic. MGM tried to get FOX to loan out Shirley Temple for The Wizard of OZ. FOX said no. But, FOX knew that MGM had been interested in Shirley Temple for such a fantasy/fairytale film; so, they put their star in their own film. So, yes, The Blue Bird could have been in response to The Wizard of OZ and, yes, their production could have overlapped.
[quote]MGM tried to get FOX to loan out Shirley Temple for The Wizard of OZ. FOX said no.
The story I had heard was Roger Edens went to hear Temple sing in anticipation of casting her and came away convinced she did not have what it took to do the part. If Fox was not tempted to loan her out, they never would have set up the audition for MGM. It wasn't so much that Fox wouldn't loan her out, it was more an issue of MGM not being really all interested.
R27, at this point it is very hard to tell fact from fiction. This I know. "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!" was written with ST in mind. Her signature phrase was "Oh my goodness!". This is in at least one of the OZ books.
I also find it odd that anyone would be unfamiliar with ST's voice as she sang in nearly every film she made.
R28 True, at this point, so many people have told so many different stories, its impossible to say what exactly happened. Somewhere in my house is Temple's autobiography. I'll try to find it and see what she said about the whole episode.
That being said: the boy in the kingdom of tomorrow who talks about injustice and how when he is sent to earth he will be ultimately destroyed. He's supposed to be the unborn Abe Lincoln, right?