Young, naive Luisa Ginglebusher, who loves fairy tales, leaves the Budapest orphanage to become a movie usherette. Soon she befriends paternal waiter Detlaff and not so paternal Konrad, a meat-packing millionaire. Uninterested in Konrad's rich gifts, Luisa schemes to be a "good fairy" and divert some of this wealth to poor stranger Dr. Sporum. But it's not that simple... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
On July 31, 1944, Deanna Durbin, Fredric March and June Lockhart acted in a 30-minute radio adaptation of the film, presented on the "Screen Guild Theatre" by CBS. Two-and-one-half years later, Miss Durbin starred in a musical remake of this picture, entitled I'll Be Yours (1947), which opened on February 2. See more »
[In an energetic telling of a fairy tale for the other orphans]
Wampa wampa, Wumpa wumpa, Eenie meenie minie mo; Sweet and faithful Rosalinda, Take me where I want to go.
See more »
Don't let the title or director give you the wrong idea; THE GOOD FAIRY is a snappy and sophisticated example of the kind of civilized lunacy for which screenwriter (and later director) Preston Sturges became so well-known. Yes, it's adapted from a Hungarian play, and yes, it's directed by William Wyler, but Sturges' creative influence is evident - even dominant - throughout. Though Wyler did make the occasional foray into lighter material ("Roman Holiday," "How To Steal a Million"), he's mostly associated with intelligent drama, and here one can almost sense idea man Sturges lurking just behind him, whispering, "Hey, Willie, how about this....?" There's so much about this picture that is prototypical of later Sturges classics such as "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" and "Unfaithfully Yours." Indeed, THE GOOD FAIRY utilizes a plot device that was later modified for "The Palm Beach Story," wherein Claudette Colbert tries to get a millionaire to enrich her husband by pretending he's not her husband. Here, Margaret Sullavan tries to get a millionaire to enrich a complete stranger by pretending the stranger IS her husband. Only Sturges could make such near-insanity seem almost logical.
There's not much point in synopsizing the plot; it's rather like a benign little tornado that sweeps the characters - and the viewer - up with it; there's nothing to do but surrender and see where it will touch down next, and what happens when it does. Let it suffice to say that, if you're any kind of Sturges fan, you'll find the ride delightful.
It's no surprise that winsome Sullavan, blustery Reginald Owen and the eminently reliable Alan Hale handle the material so deftly, but even normally serious players such as Herbert Marshall and Beulah Bondi exhibit understated but devastating comedy chops. Special mention must be made of Eric Blore (whose tipsy descent of a brief flight of stairs is nothing short of a miniature comic ballet) and Frank Morgan, at his flustered best, giving a performance of such sustained energy and velocity that (as my viewing companion said) he must have had to lie down for a rest after every take. An odd little sidelight: quintessentially American players Sullavan and Morgan made exactly three pictures together, in two of which they played Hungarians (this one and "Shop Around The Corner"), with the story taking place in Budapest. (In the third - "The Mortal Storm" - they played Germans in a small Alpine town.) Just one of those curious bits of trivia.
As noted in other comments, this gem of a film is apparently little known or remembered. Perhaps its release on DVD will accord it the attention and praise it so richly deserves. Do yourself a huge favor and get your hands on it right away. I saw it just a week ago and am already looking forward to watching it again.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?