The Blue Bird (1976) Poster

(1976)

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Not Very Good but It's Certainly Weird
Michael_Elliott16 January 2013
The Blue Bird (1976)

** (out of 4)

George Cukor directed this USSR/USA co-production of the classic story about two children who set out to find the Blue Bird of Happiness. The all-star cast includes Elizabeth Taylor in four roles including the Mother, Witch and Queen of Light, Jane Fonda as The Night, Cicely Tyson as Tylette and Ava Gardner as Luxery. THE BLUE BIRD has been filmed countless times over the years and this one here has the reputation as being one of the worst. It's strange to see all the talent that is wasted here but at the same time I think fans of the weird and surreal will probably want to check this out and they might get a few kicks out of it. This version here is completely weird from the opening scene to the last but I think this here is what keeps it entertaining. For the most part the performances range from poor to average but with a cast like this you expect much better. Taylor seems out of place in all four of her roles but I will admit that I got a kick out of her playing the witch. Fonda seems like she's caught up in a bad dream as she never feels in place. Gardner is wasted in her small role as is Robert Morley. Poor Tyson comes off the worst with a rather embarrassing performance. I'd say that the majority of the visuals are quite nice and we're given some good cinematography but all of this is pretty much wasted since the story never fully takes off. The dance sequences really don't add anything either and in the end this here is just a strange mix of fantasy and drama.
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10/10
original and fantastic
hannahschmitz3 January 2006
I love this film and it is my favourite film of all time. I think the cast, costumes and music are all original and brilliant. I cannot fault this film.It was introduced to me as a young child by my grandmother and I'm now 25 and i still enjoy watching it.This film makes me happy, i am an artist and have been so inspired by this movie. My grandmother prefers the b&w version - with Shirley Temple. I love this version, it contains some of the worlds most beautiful women: Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardener.It's true that this film is a little quirky and has some surreal scenes, but this only adds to the genius of it. I only wish that i had created this film, it's totally artistic and creative. A beautiful masterpiece.
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9/10
Unbelievably entertaining bad movie
vogueman21 January 1999
On a level of polished film making, this is possibly one of the shoddiest big-budget films ever made, but for viewers with the right (admittedly warped) perspective, it's terrifically entertaining. Most bad movies are merely ineptly made and therefore boring. But this film reaches such a surreal level of ineptitude that the viewer can only wonder, "What did I just watch? Was that a movie or was I hallucinating?" The script here is so disjointed and bizarre, it gave me the impression of what Ed Wood might have done if he had tried to make a children's film and had access to real stars. The plot is indescribable, so I won't try. Some golden moments are Will Geer and Mona Washbourne as the children's grandparents singing a song about how boring it is to be dead; Robert Morley decked out as Father Time in a slightly morbid Land of Unborn children; and my favorite, Ava Gardener in the Palace of Luxury, pointing out to the young boy all the luxuries (all grotesquely personified): the luxury of eating when not hungry, the luxury of loving one's own looks, etc. When the kid asks Ava, "Which luxury are you?" she leers at him and says, "You'll find out about me when you get a bit older."

I saw this film when it was first released. The ad campaign had made it sound like a charming children's fantasy, and the fact that it was filmed in the USSR brought out all the liberal parents and their kids. By the end of the screening, the theatre was empty except for my friends and me, rolling in the aisles with laughter. So, if you like inexplicable bad movies, the ones that make you wonder just what in the world the filmmakers thought they were doing, don't miss "The Blue Bird".
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8/10
Kids love this
conniewatt13 December 2006
When my son was approximately 7-8 years old, he loved watching this movie. At that time he was really into watching the Saturday afternoon monster movies, Ultra man etc. My daughters watched it a couple of years later and they both loved it too. Elizabeth Taylor is beautiful, but the storyline was nice too. Actually anything that held my son's attention had to be really good. As an adult, I watched it with the kids a couple of times and then that was enough for me, so I think it is really for the kids. I'd like to get a DVD of this movie because now I have two granddaughters. The four and half year old would really enjoy it. It would probably be another year before my other grandchild would sit still to watch it. I recommend this story for children, if you let them watch make believe and magical movies.
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4/10
Kids and critics turned up their noses, but film-buffs should get a kick out of it!
moonspinner559 April 2002
This musical version of "The Blue Bird" is highly reminiscent of those awful, English-dubbed "Pippi Longstocking" movies from Sweden, where everyone is manic, grinning, out of step and out of tune. The same clueless qualities are on display here, only this picture was directed by George "My Fair Lady" Cukor and co-stars Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Cicely Tyson and Jane Fonda! Filmed in Russia (with the assistance of a Russian crew and Russian rubles), it's a remake of the Shirley Temple chestnut from 1940, adapted from the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, and literally defies explanation. Amateurish--and yet fascinatingly so--the movie is heavier than bricks and is never seamless; it feels patched together by a child's hands. I remember watching this on HBO many years ago several times, always in stunned, mind-numbing shock. Taylor (in four roles!) goofs around a little and she's fun to watch, Fonda has a pithy few seconds as Night, and Robert Morley is energetic without camping it up as Father Time; everyone else is out to sea. Forgettable, needless songs by Irwin Kostal and Andrei Petrov. Connoisseurs of bad cinema should feast on this for ages. Hey, terrible flicks can be fun, too. ** from ****
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See that cast list? Those are not typos! These people do play objects in this oddball mess!
Glenn Andreiev24 November 1998
The first co-production between USSR and Hollywood would have to be this strange kiddie film that is so icky sweet, it makes "Barney" look like "Penthouse Forum" in comparison! Some kids meet up with their fairy Godmother (Elizabeth Taylor dressed like a Mafia wife gone insane). With a wave of her magic wand, household pets, and inanimate objects come to life. The most disgusting has to be what happens to a pitcher of milk! It turns into a ballerina. To remind audiences of its milk origins, whenever the ballerina dances, we hear milk splash in a pitcher. It sounds as if the poor ballerina has a stomach disorder! The story goes that the production of this film was very rough. It went on forever. Jane Fonda supposedly kept on pestering the Russian workers, and it became an expensive mess.
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10/10
A beautiful movie
icywind22 May 2004
I don't agree with the author of the previous comment about this film. The film has to be understood in the context of the time when it was made-at the height of the Cold War. It is one of very few examples of the US-USSR cooperation, especially, in the movie industry. I was very young when I saw it for the first time, on Soviet TV. Right after the signing of the nuclear arms reduction treaty between the US and the then-Soviet Union. The soundtrack of the movie is beautiful; and some of the best Soviet movie actors are cast in it, to say nothing about Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Fonda. Yes, it's not the Lord of the Rings, by all stretch of imagination. It's rather a children's story, a fairy tale, without computer animation and Oscars for it, but with some good old-fashioned ACTING. By the way, I'd love to purchase the movie and would appreciate any hints regarding to who carries it on DVD.
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10/10
A marvelous traveling through the Past to the Future searching the Happiness
atahuallpa13 September 2005
Excellent, brilliant film! If you know what the happiness is, you'll search for it in that film. You'll be a guest in your own past, in your memory.. and you'll enter the amazing world of the future, which is always young. You'll enter the Castle of Darkness and the Palace of All the Enjoys of the World. You will have a lot of difficult adventures. You will have some true friends and some very envious enemies.. The Blue Bird - the symbol of happiness - is always flying somewhere close, but you can't get it in your hands. You'll probably try to answer to one question: "where your happiness is, if you have enjoyed it not once."
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8/10
Don't skip this one based on press.
Snowball24 January 2013
I watched this last night, taped it off a TCM showing. This film is a lot better than reviewers said. I'd say it's a must-see for Elizabeth Taylor fans. She obviously enjoyed her roles. Patsy Kensit is simply adorable in this. The film has deep, yet surreally portrayed concepts involving life and death, sin and love. Certainly perfect for young children with a strong moral philosophy. The story is fantasy, some sets are better than others, it's all very colorful and has an early 19th century feel. If you are a student of set construction, choreography, ballet in film, or escapes to alternate realities, you will enjoy this perhaps more than you think you should.
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1/10
The worst film ever
milesjgraham25 July 2005
I have witnessed many bad films, and I really thought that Blues Brothers 2000 could not be out-done. But this is the most painful, excruciating and unbearable film ever. Do not watch it unless you have taken drugs.

The acting is terrible, the directing is terrible, the costumes are just unreal... I cannot go on. It hurts me to even talk about it.

What on earth were good actors like Liz doing? I can only assume that the back-ground of a Hollywood-Soviet joint children's film production in the middle of the Cold War was their contribution to bring the world together. Well, I can tell you this: I am a Brit, my wife is Slovak. We both saw it from other sides of the Iron Curtain, and we both agree - it sucks.
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