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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.


William Wyler


Jane Hinton (English translation of play), Ferenc Molnár (play) | 1 more credit »


Complete credited cast:
Margaret Sullavan ... Luisa
Herbert Marshall ... Dr. Sporum
Frank Morgan ... Konrad
Reginald Owen ... The Waiter
Eric Blore ... Dr. Metz
Beulah Bondi ... Dr. Schultz
Alan Hale ... Maurice Schlapkohl
Cesar Romero ... Joe
Luis Alberni ... The Barber
June Clayworth ... Mitzi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
June Smaney June Smaney
Thelma Woodruff Thelma Woodruff
Learn more

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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


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 »


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.
See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Comedy Movies: 1930s (2014) See more »

User Reviews

An Elfin Sullavan Charms in a Fanciful Budapest-Set Fable
24 November 2011 | by EUyeshimaSee all my reviews

Five years before she butted heads with James Stewart working at Matuschek and Co. in Ernst Lubitsch's classic pen-pal romance, "The Shop Around the Corner", Margaret Sullavan was playing another character living in Budapest, this time a naïve young woman chosen to become an usherette in an elaborate movie palace. This warm-hearted 1935 screwball comedy has impressive credentials beyond a luminous Sullavan in only her third film, as it offers a screenplay by Preston Sturges ("The Lady Eve") and direction from William Wyler ("The Best Years of Our Lives") who married Sullavan during the tempestuous production. Alas, this was their only collaboration since they divorced less than two years later, but this long-forgotten collaboration is a fruitful one as the then-25-year-old actress sparkles in a role that could have easily been cloying if Wyler didn't maintain the right tempo for Sturges' alternately scatterbrained and clever story.

Sullavan plays the improbably named Luisa Ginglebusher, a gregarious, pig-tailed orphan who regales the younger girls with her fanciful fairy tales. A blustery theater owner comes to the orphanage looking for girls to be silver-costumed usherettes at his Budapest movie palace. The head of the orphanage allows Luisa to accept the job on the condition that she performs at least one good deed a day in the real world. At the theater, Luisa meets Detlaff, a waiter who gets her an invitation to an exclusive party at which he is serving. She almost immediately has to hold off the bold advances of Konrad, a somewhat lascivious South American meat-packing millionaire who wants to seduce her and shower her with gifts. However, she isn't interested and lies about being married. When he insists on employing her "husband" so he can send him away, Luisa randomly picks a name from the phone book, hoping to do a good deed and divert some of Konrad's wealth to someone else. The lucky man is poor but proud Dr. Max Sporum, but complications obviously ensue when Luisa meets Sporum and Konrad finds out the truth.

Although she had few opportunities to play comedy, the adorable Sullavan shines in this type of shenanigan-driven farce, whether using her electric wand to point patrons to their theater seats or prancing with a multiplicity of her mirror images as she models a "foxine" stole at the department store. Reginald Owen (Scrooge in the 1938 "A Christmas Carol") gamely plays Detlaff with rubbery charm, while Frank Morgan (the Wizard in "The Wizard of Oz") is a bit too fey and downright wizardly as Konrad. Generally a tight-lipped presence on the screen, Herbert Marshall ("The Little Foxes") has never appeared more animated in a movie than he does as Sporum. Familiar character actors show up like Alan Hale as the cinema impresario, Beulah Bondi as the orphanage matron, a hilariously over-the-top Eric Blore (from all the early Fred-and-Ginger pictures) as a monocled drunk, and a menacing Cesar Romero as a pushy stage-door lothario. An unusual entry on Wyler's resume, this is quite a charmer thanks to Sullavan. The print is clear on the 2002 DVD, which includes the original theatrical trailer and a photo gallery as extras.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

18 February 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Good Fairy See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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