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The Blue Bird (1940)

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Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl, a woodchopper's children, are led by the Fairy Berylune on a magical trip through the past, present, and future to locate the Blue Bird of Happiness.



(screen play), (additional dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Blue Bird (1940)

The Blue Bird (1940) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Collins ...
Sybil Jason ...
Jessie Ralph ...
Helen Ericson ...
Johnny Russell ...
Laura Hope Crews ...
Russell Hicks ...
Cecilia Loftus ...
Al Shean ...
Leona Roberts ...
Gene Reynolds ...
Studious Boy


Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl, a woodchopper's children, are led by the Fairy Berylune on a magical trip through the past, present, and future to locate the Blue Bird of Happiness.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family | Fantasy


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El pájaro azul  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)


(first reel)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Considered Fox's answer to MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939), the film was an expensive failure and marked the end of Shirley Temple's unimpeachable star power. Audiences found the idea of Shirley playing a nasty character hard to swallow. See more »


When the group is in the Cemetery, Tylo jumps in the shallow grave instead of falling in. See more »


Tylette: Why don't you go to the Land of Luxury? There's plenty to eat there. Everything you could think of.
Mytyl: Do you think we'd find the blue bird there?
Light: No, dear. I don't.
Tylette: Why not? They'll have everything they want there. Where would be a better place to look for the blue bird?
Mytyl: We might find the blue bird there.
Light: Very well. Go there if you want.
Mytyl: How do we get to the Land of Luxury?
Tylette: It's very easy. We take the first side road.
Mytyl: Will you be waiting for us?
Light: Yes, dear, just beyond. But don't stay too long. ...
See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


O Come Little Children
Arranged by Edward B. Powell and Frank Tresselt
See more »

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User Reviews

Shirley Temple's Last Child Role
5 July 2000 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

An obnoxious girl, unable to find joy in her life, is sent by an elderly fairy into the Lands of the Past & the Future to seek for THE BLUE BIRD of Happiness. Her search will change her life profoundly...

Fantasy is the most difficult genre for film to create successfully. All the elements have to come together just right, and then, more often than not, success is a happy accident. Fantasy is not replicable; note the number of failed sequels. If 20th Century Fox was trying to emulate MGM's THE WIZARD OF OZ (an initial box office flop, it should be remembered), it was not a wise endeavor. Given its troubled production history, OZ should have been a disaster. That it was not still puzzles & delights film historians.

THE BLUE BIRD's ultimate failure is not complete. There are several very good things about it. The main trouble seems to be in the casting of Shirley Temple in the lead role. The greatest child star of them all was now aging, and prepubescent Shirley seems to depend a bit too much on the gracious memories of her devotees. She's still cute, but this time that's just not enough. Also, it must have been awkward acting such a nasty role, one doomed to be disliked by the audience for much of the film.

Gale Sondergaard, as the Cat, has much the same problem. She tries hard, but the role is very unsympathetic & we are never told why her character is so wicked - indeed, capable of murder.

It's interesting to note that both Temple & Sondergaard were important contenders for major roles in OZ, but were instead rejected for Judy Garland & Margaret Hamilton.

There are several cast members that do an excellent job with their material: Spring Byington, tender as Shirley's mother; wonderful old Jessie Ralph as the fairy; Eddie Collins, often very funny as the Dog; Nigel Bruce & Laura Hope Crews, giving ripe performances as Mister & Mrs. Luxury; and dear Cecilia Loftus & Al Shean as Shirley's lonely, dead grandparents.

Some of the minor casting is also very effective, witness Thurston Hall as Father Time, Edwin Maxwell as Old Man Oak & Sterling Holloway, on screen only a few seconds as Wild Plum. That's Scotty Beckett, from the old OUR GANG Comedies, as one of the Unborn Boys.

The use of Technicolor is very eye-appealing, although its initial entry into the film lacks the dramatic punch produced in OZ. The forest firestorm sequence is very well done & the Unborn Children scenes have genuine pathos.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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