The Blue Bird (1940)

83 mins | Allegory, Children's works | 22 March 1940

Director:

Walter Lang

Writer:

Ernest Pascal

Cinematographer:

Arthur Miller

Editor:

Robert Bischoff

Production Designers:

Richard Day, Wiard B. Ihnen

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

Material contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library indicate that Darryl Zanuck suggested Bobs Watson for the role of "Tyltyl"; Gene Lockhart play "Daddy Tyl"; Joan Davis for "Tylette"; Jessie Ralph for Angela's mother; Anita Louise for "Light"; Zeffie Tilbury for "Granny"; George Barbier for "Grandpa"; Andy Devine for "Cold in Head"; and Burton Churchill for "Time." A HR production chart adds Nancy Kelly to the cast, but her participation in the released film is unconfirmed. A contemporary article in AC notes that fifteen sound stages were used in shooting this picture, and the filming of the red room scenes presented difficulties as far as Technicolor process was concerned. News items in HR add that the film was shot on location around Lake Arrowhead, CA. A news item in HR noted that the film was budgeted at $2,000,000. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Cinematography (Color) and Special Effects (Photographic Effects, Fred Sersen, Sound Effects, E. H. Hansen) categories.
       An unidentified contemporary source in the AFI Library noted that Disney also bid for the rights to the Maeterlinck play. In 1918, Famous Players-Lasky Corp. made another version of the Maeterlinck play, directed by Maurice Tourneur and starring Tula Belle and Robin Macdougall (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0394), and in 1976, George Cukor directed Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda and Ava Gardner in a Russian-American version also entitled The Blue Bird ... More Less

Material contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library indicate that Darryl Zanuck suggested Bobs Watson for the role of "Tyltyl"; Gene Lockhart play "Daddy Tyl"; Joan Davis for "Tylette"; Jessie Ralph for Angela's mother; Anita Louise for "Light"; Zeffie Tilbury for "Granny"; George Barbier for "Grandpa"; Andy Devine for "Cold in Head"; and Burton Churchill for "Time." A HR production chart adds Nancy Kelly to the cast, but her participation in the released film is unconfirmed. A contemporary article in AC notes that fifteen sound stages were used in shooting this picture, and the filming of the red room scenes presented difficulties as far as Technicolor process was concerned. News items in HR add that the film was shot on location around Lake Arrowhead, CA. A news item in HR noted that the film was budgeted at $2,000,000. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Cinematography (Color) and Special Effects (Photographic Effects, Fred Sersen, Sound Effects, E. H. Hansen) categories.
       An unidentified contemporary source in the AFI Library noted that Disney also bid for the rights to the Maeterlinck play. In 1918, Famous Players-Lasky Corp. made another version of the Maeterlinck play, directed by Maurice Tourneur and starring Tula Belle and Robin Macdougall (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0394), and in 1976, George Cukor directed Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda and Ava Gardner in a Russian-American version also entitled The Blue Bird . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
1 Dec 39
p. 543.
Daily Variety
20 Jan 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Jan 40
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 40
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
20 Jan 40
p. 1, 9
Motion Picture Herald
25 Nov 39
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald
27 Jan 40
p. 50.
New York Times
20 Jan 40
p. 11.
Variety
24 Jan 40
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Darryl F. Zanuck Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Technicolor assoc
Spec eff
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
DANCE
Dance dir
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play L'Oiseau bleu by Maurice Maeterlinck (Moscow, 1908).
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 March 1940
Premiere Information:
Roadshows in San Francisco, New York, Boston and Detroit beginning on 15 January 1940
Production Date:
September--October 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
19 January 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9755
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
83
Length(in feet):
7,426
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
5708
SYNOPSIS

After Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl trap a rare bird in the royal forest, Mytyl selfishly refuses to give the bird to her sick friend, Angela Berlingot. That night, Mytyl is complaining to her parents when word comes that war has been declared and her father has been summoned to protect the frontiers. The children then go to bed, where Mytyl dreams of the Fairy Berylume, who sends her and Tyltyl off to find the blue bird of happiness. Tylette, the treacherous family cat, and Tylo, the loyal family dog, go along to keep them company and Light shines in to to show them the way. They begin their search in the past, where the children come to the graveyard in which their Grandpa and Grandma slumber. Their grandparents awake to greet them, but no blue birds are to be found in the past, and so, prompted by Tylette, the children continue their search in the land of Mrs. and Mr. Luxury. Soon discovering that happiness lies not in riches, the children begin to long for their parents, and with the help of Tylo, escape from the land of Luxury. Tylette then ventures into the forest where, hoping to thwart the children's quest, she admonishes the trees to terrify them into returning home. The trees conspire with wind and fire to kill the children, and in the ensuing storm, Tylette perishes while the children escape to visit the Kingdom of the Future to search for the blue bird. In the future, they meet the unborn children of the world waiting for Father Time to take them to Earth in his ship of ... +


After Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl trap a rare bird in the royal forest, Mytyl selfishly refuses to give the bird to her sick friend, Angela Berlingot. That night, Mytyl is complaining to her parents when word comes that war has been declared and her father has been summoned to protect the frontiers. The children then go to bed, where Mytyl dreams of the Fairy Berylume, who sends her and Tyltyl off to find the blue bird of happiness. Tylette, the treacherous family cat, and Tylo, the loyal family dog, go along to keep them company and Light shines in to to show them the way. They begin their search in the past, where the children come to the graveyard in which their Grandpa and Grandma slumber. Their grandparents awake to greet them, but no blue birds are to be found in the past, and so, prompted by Tylette, the children continue their search in the land of Mrs. and Mr. Luxury. Soon discovering that happiness lies not in riches, the children begin to long for their parents, and with the help of Tylo, escape from the land of Luxury. Tylette then ventures into the forest where, hoping to thwart the children's quest, she admonishes the trees to terrify them into returning home. The trees conspire with wind and fire to kill the children, and in the ensuing storm, Tylette perishes while the children escape to visit the Kingdom of the Future to search for the blue bird. In the future, they meet the unborn children of the world waiting for Father Time to take them to Earth in his ship of silver sails. Finally returning home, Mytyl awakens to learn that a truce has been declared and finds the blue bird in her very own home. Filled with joy, Mytyl presents the bird to Angela, who experiences a miraculous recovery. As Angela fondles the bird, it flies away to freedom, but Mytyl assures her they will always be able to find it again. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.