- SKU: 8240682
- Release Date: 03/27/2007
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Ratings & Reviews
When Darryl F. Zanuck's arrangement to loan Shirley Temple to MGM as star of The Wizard of Oz fell through, Zanuck hastily assembled a lavish Technicolor vehicle for his diminutive star which, he hoped, would match Wizard in popularity and appeal. The result was The Blue Bird, adapted from the allegorical stage play by Maurice Maeterlinck (previously filmed by director Maurice Tourneur in 1918). In emulation of The Wizard of Oz, The Blue Bird was bookended with black-and-white sequences, reserving Technicolor for the fantasy "body" of the film; similarly, Gale Sondergaard, who had been the first choice to play the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard, was cast as Blue Bird's nominal villainess. Set in mid-Europe sometime in the late 18th century, the story concerns Mytyl (Temple and Tyltyl (John Russell), the children of a woodchopper (Russell Hicks) who has been called to fight in a faraway war. Heartbroken, the kids decide to run away from home in search of the Bluebird of Happiness, which will ostensibly solve all their problems. Falling asleep, Mytyl and Tyltyl dream that the good fairy Berylune (Jessie Berylune) is leading them on that search, accompanied by their household pets Tylo (a dog) and Tylette (a cat), who have assumed human form (and as such are repectively played by Eddie Collins and the aforementioned Gale Sondergaard). Before arriving at the far-from-unexpected realization that the elusive Bluebird of Happiness is no further than their own backyard, the two kiddies undergo a variety of astonishing experiences, including a raging forest fire (a triumph of 20th Century-Fox special-effects master Fred Sersen) and an oddly unsettling visit to "The Land of the Unborn". Rather heavy going for its intended family audience, The Blue Bird proved to be Shirley Temple's biggest flop, and a subsequent 1976 US-Soviet version starring Elizabeth Taylor fared no better at the box office. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Little Princess
Shirley Temple's first Technicolor feature, The Little Princess was inspired by the oft-filmed novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Set in turn-of-the-century England, the film finds Temple being enrolled in a boarding school by her wealthy widowed father (Ian Hunter), who must head off to fight in the Boer War. At first, Temple is treated like royalty; her behavior couldn't be more down to earth, but this preferential treatment foments resentment. When her father is reported killed in the war, circumstances are severely altered. The spiteful headmistress (Mary Nash) relegates Temple to servant status and forces the girl to sleep in a drafty attic. She keeps her spirits up by hoping against hope that her father will return, and to that end she haunts the corridors of a nearby military hospital. Queen Victoria doesn't have to make a guest appearance in the tearfully joyous closing sequence, but it does serve as icing on the cake to this, one of Temple's most enjoyable feature films. Reliable Shirley Temple flick supporting actors Cesar Romero and Arthur Treacher are back in harness in The Little Princess, while adult leading lady Anita Louise figures prominently in a sugary dream sequence. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Stand up and Cheer
Based on an idea by Will Rogers, the story concerns the efforts by the President of the United States to get the public's mind off the Depression. To this end, he appoints Broadway impresario Lawrence Cromwell (Warner Baxter) to the new cabinet position of "Secretary of Amusement." Wasting no time, Cromwell sets about to nationalize the entertainment industry, organizing singers, dancers, actors and other variety artists into batallion-like touring units. Cromwell is fought at every turn by a cartel of wealthy industrialists, who've been profiting from the Depression and have no desire to see America pull itself upward. Happily, every effort to bribe or cajole Cromwell into giving up his mission is thwarted and the Department of Amusement goes on to help the the country at a time when its citizens most needed it. Among the highlights are an energetic "revival-meeting" musical number by Aunt Jemima (Theresa Gardella), and 6-year-old Shirley Temple's rendition of "Baby Take a Bow." Originally released at 80 minutes, Stand Up and Cheer was edited to 69 minutes for reissue, then to 65 minutes (removing most of Stepin Fetchit's scenes) for television: it was this last version which was computer-colorized in 1987. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Shirley Temple - Mytyl Tyl
- Spring Byington - Mummy Tyl
- Nigel Bruce - Mr. Luxury
- Gale Sondergaard - Tylette
- Eddie Collins - Tylo, the dog
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