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The Blue Bird
Directed by Walter Lang
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by Screenplay:
Ernest Pascal
Walter Bullock
Maurice Maeterlinck
Starring Shirley Temple
Spring Byington
Nigel Bruce
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) January 19, 1940 (1940-01-19)
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Blue Bird is a 1940 American fantasy film directed by Walter Lang. The screenplay by Walter Bullock was adapted from the 1908 play of the same name by Maurice Maeterlinck. Intended as 20th Century Fox's answer to The Wizard of Oz, which had been released the previous year, it was filmed in Technicolor and tells the story of a disagreeable little girl (Temple) and her search for happiness. The film was a box office flop, lost money, nominated for two Academy Awards, and is available on DVD and videocassette.



Mytyl, the bratty daughter of a woodcutter, finds a unique bird in the Royal Forest and selfishly refuses to give it to her sick friend. That night, she is visited in a dream by a fairy named Berylune who sends her and her brother Tytyl to search for the Blue Bird of Happiness. To accompany them, the fairy magically transforms their dog Tylo, cat Tylette, and lantern ("Light") into human form. The children have a number of adventures. The dream journey makes Mytyl awake as a kinder and gentler girl who has learned to appreciate all the comforts and joys of her home and family.



Twentieth Century-Fox reportedly made the film intending to give Temple her own fantasy vehicle after she lost the role of Dorothy to Judy Garland. Shirley had been considered for the role of Dorothy Gale in MGM's The Wizard of Oz a year earlier, but her modest singing talent and contractual obligations to Fox Studios prevented her from getting the part.

The Blue Bird was Shirley Temple's first box-office flop in her 6 years as a child star. Audiences disliked the idea of Shirley as a nasty character needing to learn a lesson. While many of Temple's films show her character misbehaving in various ways, this is the only to show her being truly punished. Early in the film, her brattiness earns her a spanking and a reprimand from her mother.

Almost a month prior to the film's release, Blue Bird was dramatized as a half-hour radio play on the December 24, 1939 broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater, starring Shirley Temple and Nelson Eddy.

See also


  • Windeler, Robert (1992) [1978], The Films of Shirley Temple, Carol Publishing Group, pp. 208-211  

External links



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