The Blue Bird (1976)

Article 3751 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-9-2011
Posting Date: 11-21-2011
Directed by George Cukor
Featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Ava Gardner
Country: USA / Soviet Union
What it is: Allegorical fairy tale

Two children are sent out by Light to search for the Blue Bird of Happiness so that can give it to an ill child.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the 1940 version of this story with Shirley Temple, but I remember not caring much for that version. I’m afraid I don’t care a whole lot for this version either. Despite having had a fairly expensive (and reportedly trouble-filled) production, it looks a lot like a photographed stage play at times, and the story itself is too steeped in allegory and messages to ever be fun or energetic. Oddly enough, I found the most striking moments to be the depressing ones, and that’s hardly a good recommendation for a children’s movie. For a fantasy, it’s singularly lacking in magic, and the movie was both a commercial and critical flop. Still, the performances are mostly decent; my favorite performance came from Ava Gardner as Luxury, while the most disappointing came from Jane Fonda, who would have been a lot more fun if she had hammed up her role as Night rather than underplaying it.


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