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FairyTale: A True Story (1997)

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

Director:

Charles Sturridge

Writers:

Albert Ash (story), Tom McLoughlin (story) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harvey Keitel ... Harry Houdini
Jason Salkey ... James Collins
Peter O'Toole ... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Lara Morgan Lara Morgan ... Jean Doyle
Adam Franks Adam Franks ... Adrian Doyle
Guy Witcher ... Denis Doyle
Joseph May ... Houdini's Assistant
John Bradley John Bradley ... Portly Gentleman
Anna Chancellor ... Peter Pan
Florence Hoath Florence Hoath ... Elsie Wright
Phoebe Nicholls ... Polly Wright
Leonard Kavanagh Leonard Kavanagh ... Stage Manager
Elizabeth Earl Elizabeth Earl ... Frances Griffiths
Paul McGann ... Arthur Wright
Anton Lesser ... 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fairy Tale: A True Story See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,515,323, 26 October 1997

Gross USA:

$14,059,077

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,059,077
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Judith: Is it true all Africans are cannibals?
Frances Griffiths: I've never met one. Do you have anymore stupid questions?
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
See more »

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User Reviews

For true believers in the power of magic and innocence
22 May 2002 | by uds3See all my reviews

Maybe on account of the fact that being 2/3 through my alotted span and with a terrible awareness of what this world is really like and having also managed to really never grow up, I found this film to be the most touching and magical experience of my life. I am more than happy to tell you that the last ten minutes of the film brought tears to my eyes as I witnessed what every young child wants to see....and CAN if only they can put aside life's pitiful and distracting reality.

Released the same time as the excellent PHOTOGRAPHING FAIRIES, both films dwell on the factual events of 1917 when childhood friends Elsie Wright and Florence Griffiths took what they professed to be real photographs of fairies in their immediate neighborhood. The incredible photographs were declared non-hoaxes and even incurred the attention of such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini who visited the girls and examined the phenomenon. Peter O'Toole especially, as Conan Doyle is just superb in his characterisation (why am I NOT surprised?)

Absolutely sumptuous cinematography, a most literate of scripts and some grade A acting, especially from the two girls. The film had a larger budget than PHOTOGRAPHING FAIRIES and it shows. The highlight of course and that which the younger viewers must wait patiently for, is the quite staggering appearance of the fairies at the end. As brilliant a series of special effects as I have ever seen. Several people don't appear to have seen Mel Gibson - you weren't looking to closely!!

The truth or otherwise about the photographs has since been made public although few appear to know. I have no comment to add. If you WANT to know more, contact me.


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