The Blue Bird (1940) Movie Review

The Blue Bird (1940)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Shirley Temple in The Blue Bird (1940)

The Temple of Yet to be Born Children

Young Mytyl (Shirley Temple) is the daughter of a woodcutter and she is sadly a little bit selfish, unwilling to share with those less fortunate than her, bossing her little brother around and wanting things her way, screwing up her face when ever she doesn't get her way. But one night Mytyl and her brother are visited by a fairy by the name of Berylune (Jessie Ralph) who sends them on a quest to find the Blue Bird of Happiness with her pets, in human form, accompanying them. As Mytyl finds herself in various situations and meets yet to be born children she begins to appreciate the life she has and realises that she isn't very nice to others.

Welcome to what today would be branded a rip-off of "The Wizard of Oz" with Shirley Temple leading the way in one of her cute childhood roles. In fact "The Blue Bird" is so similar to "The Wizard of Oz" that it starts in black & white but when Mytyl and her brother have the encounter with the fairy we get colour. Sadly this is not the glorious cinematic experience it wants to be and is noted as being a failure flop with audiences unhappy with Shirley Temple playing a mean spirited even if she did learn to be nice and appreciative come the end of the movie.

But that is essentially what you get in "The Blue Bird" because as Mytyl and her brother have this adventure, accompanied by their dog and cat in human form, we have the transformation of Mytyl from being nasty to nice, from pouting and looking annoyed to beaming with rosy cheeks. In fairness there are some creative elements to this and the series of scenes as Mytyl meets the yet to be born children who have to wait to be called to enter the boat, well strangely engaging and kind of celestial are the words which spring to mind.

What this all boils down to is that "The Blue Bird" is curious, cute and unavoidably so similar to "The Wizard of Oz" that you can't but think of it as being a bit of a rip off.