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FairyTale: A True Story (1997)

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In 1917, two children take a photograph, which is soon believed by some to be the first scientific evidence of the existence of fairies.

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(story), (story) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Harry Houdini
... James Collins
... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Lara Morgan ... Jean Doyle
Adam Franks ... Adrian Doyle
... Denis Doyle
... Houdini's Assistant
John Bradley ... Portly Gentleman
... Peter Pan
Florence Hoath ... Elsie Wright
... Polly Wright
Leonard Kavanagh ... Stage Manager
Elizabeth Earl ... Frances Griffiths
... Arthur Wright
... Wounded Corporal
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Storyline

Based on factual accounts, this is the story of two young girls that, somehow, have the ability to take pictures of winged beings... which certainly causes quite a stir throughout England during the time of the first World War. Everyone, except the girls who think it's quite normal, are excited about this "photographic proof" that fairies exist... even the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini pay the girls a visit. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Believe.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

24 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fairy Tale: A True Story  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,515,323, 26 October 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,036,249, 11 January 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on the true story of the Cottingley Fairies. In the summer of 1917, Frances Griffiths (then ten years old) and her cousin Elsie Wright (then sixteen years old) were living with Elsie's parents in the town of Cottingley in West Yorkshire. Using Arthur Wright's camera, the girls took a series of pictures of themselves with fairies in the nearby woodland brook of Cottingley Beck. (The woodland scenes in "FairyTale: A True Story" are filmed in Cottingley Beck, the actual location where Frances and Elsie supposedly encountered the fairies in 1917.) The photographs became public in 1919 (not during World War I, as depicted in the film), when Elsie's mother gave the photos to Edward Gardner, President of the Theosophical Society of Bradford. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the photos with an article on spiritualism in "The Strand" Magazine in December 1920. Opinions over the authenticity of the photos were divided. Several photographic experts examined them and pronounced them "genuine," while other photo experts found "evidence of fakery." (A few experts who examined the photos noted that the "fairies" had "Parisienne-style haircuts," which were popular in the day.) In the end, no real harm came from the photos. The two girls never accepted any money for them, or tried to swindle anyone with their claims of fairy encounters. Years later, as adults, the girls admitted they had faked the photos using cardboard cutouts of fairies taken from a children's book. Elsie explained that they were too embarrassed to admit the truth about the photos after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the legendary creator of Sherlock Holmes, accepted them as genuine. However, Frances insisted until her death that at least one of the "fairy photos" was real. Frances died in 1986, and Elsie died in 1988. The original photos, and the cameras the girls used to take them, are now in the National Media Museum in Bradford, England. See more »

Quotes

Polly Wright: Frances, I've been down the beck a hundred times. Why haven't I ever seen any of them?
Frances Griffiths: Grownups don't know how to believe.
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Connections

Referenced in Thatcher Joe Vlogs: Something For Every Hole?! (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

See the Conquering Hero Comes
from "Judas Maccabeus"
Composed by George Frideric Handel (as Georg Friedrich Händel)
Arranged by Christopher Blood
Performed by the combined brass ensembles of St. Peter's & St. Oliver's Schools, York
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User Reviews

 
A Wistful, Visual Masterpiece!
27 October 1998 | by See all my reviews

Few films affect me as immediately as Fairy Tale: A True Story. It is visually stunning, excellently acted with star turns by Peter O'Toole and Harvey Keitel. The story is engrossing and you can decide for yourself whether it is about a hoax or not, but that is not important here. It captures the period of the early 1900s magnificently. Special effects are unbelievably realistic. Apparently Academy members never saw this film or it would have gathered a handful of Oscars. The cinematography should have garnered an Oscar as should the moving and glorious music score. I plan to purchase the CD. Despite the title, this film is more for adults and older children. It would not hold the attention of the younger ones.


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