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The Good Fairy (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 18 February 1935 (USA)
A naive girl just out of a cloistered orphanage finds that being a 'good fairy' to strangers makes life awfully complicated.

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(English translation of play), (play) | 1 more credit »
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Genres:

Comedy | Romance

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Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

18 February 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Boa Fada  »

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(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Margaret Sullavan wanted control on the set of the movie, and did spiteful things to get her way. Script girl Freda Rosenblatt said: If she was tired and wanted to go home and Willy had one more scene to do, she would smear the makeup on her face. That would mean everything had to stop so she could be made up again. Which might take hours. So they couldn't shoot. Maggie got so bored between scenes she went behind one of the sets and purposely lay down on the dusty floor. The beautiful white dress she was wearing was a wreck. That stopped everything. -- Despite all this, she and Wyler fell in love and were married during the filming. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Schultz: Would you like to be an usherette, Luisa?
Luisa: Oh, yes, ma'am.
Dr. Schultz: Do you know what an usherette is?
Luisa: N-n-no, ma'am.
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Connections

Version of I'll Be Yours (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

Sparkling and Hilarious Early Sturges
14 August 2005 | by (Glendale, CA) – See all my reviews

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.


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