The Blue Bird Reviews
Once you get past some of the outre elements of "The Blue Bird" like its occasionally imaginative production design and a once in a lifetime cast that also includes Cicely Tyson and an out-of-sorts Jane Fonda(at least Ava Gardner knows how to make an entrance), what is left is a sweet childhood fable that has the neat moral of treasuring what is truly important in life. At the same time, it confirms what everybody has always suspected about cats. That holds true even with the movie's half-hearted attempt at being a musical.
A brother and sister live a modest lifestyle in the outskirts of town away from the more fortunate. One night they observe fireworks and follow the lights to a home with a plethora of food and resources. They quickly become envious of the family and return home before being noticed. Upon returning home the objects and resources of their house turn into people and lead them on an adventure.
"They eat whatever they want."
"So I'm told."
George Cukor, director of My Fair Lady, Let's Make Love, Rich and Famous, The Marrying Kind, A Double Life, and Keeper of the Flame, delivers The Blue Bird. This film contains a standard family plot and overall good premise for children. The acting is solid and the settings and costumes are stunning. The cast includes Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Ava Gardner, Cicely Tyson, Harry Andrews, and Robert Morley.
"That's just like the slaps you gave me when you were alive."
The Blue Bird was a film my wife DVR'd when she noticed it contained such an impressive cast. Well, this film is only average and does not introduce anything new to the genre; however, it was entertaining to watch the film progress and to see what ultimately happens. I recommend seeing this as a family but I don't recommend going too out of your way to see it.
"I am the light that makes men see."
This movie has long vanished from VHS and US television. Tied up in legal tape, the only DVD copies available are in Russian (at the time it was a US/Russian co-financed production). Young Patsy Kensit stars as Mytyl, she and her older brother Tyltyl are visited by the Queen of Light (Elizabeth Taylor) who sends them on a magical quest to find the blue bird of happiness.
If you've seen the Shirley Temple classic, this movie doesn't come anywhere near the magic of that gem. However if you are seeking out obscure hard-to-find and long-forgotten titles like this, this movie is perfect. Any late 70's production that showcase the talents of Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Ava Gardner, Cicely Tyson and Robert Morley in ONE bad movie, holds a special place within the cold cockles of my heart!
Most of the big stars don't share any scenes with the others. Jane Fonda plays the evil "Night", spending her 8 minutes or so in what appears to be a Darth Vader costume meets drag (LOL), Ava Gardner plays "Luxury of Lust", hosting a gathering of debauchery and sin in what appears to be a circus tent... and then there's Elizabeth Taylor. Here she plays four roles including the mother of Mytyl and Tyltyl, an old hag and Maternal Love. The scenes where she sings are timeless, almost as bad as her lip syncing in the following year's musical travesty, "A Little Night Music".
Most embarrassing include Cicely Tyson as the devious soul of the cat, a ballet dancer who appears out of a pitcher of milk, bizarre scenes of Russian ballet dancers interlaced with sorcery, hilarious high school props as stand ins for a forest that comes to life, and last but not least, Edith Head's last stand as a legendary Oscar-winning costume designer who had become incredibly redundant and out of touch with the current time.
Nearly everything and everyone involved with the production is tarnished - most people don't know that at one time, both Katharine Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine had their names attached to this project but pulled out at the last minute. James Coco was replaced by George Cole. Production was also hampered by Elizabeth Taylor suffering several illnesses during the filming. Ava Gardner only signed on for free as a favor to George Cukor and Jane Fonda doesn't even mention this movie in her biography!!! (LOL)
This is a MUST see for everyone! If you saw this as a child like I did, don't let it slip away from the recesses of what's left of your brain cells! The few musical numbers are actually quite catchy (when sung properly) and Patsy Kensit is so cute, you wouldn't even know that she grew up to be a modern day slag who married one of the douchebag brothers from Oasis. But most of all, watch it for Elizabeth and Ava, before they entered the 1980's completely overweight, middle-aged, battling dependencies and the twilight of their once glamorous careers.
They don't have a LOW enough rating for her.
She can rot in the Hanoi Hilton, for what she did to Our troops during Vietnam.
BURN BITCH, BURN
[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman] Yes, this was a movie with flaws, but it had some strange nice moments. Through some scenes, you could feel some philosophical and spiritual windows that pointed to reconciliation with the sufferings of everyday life and the yearnings for happiness and ideals. Those traits came most probably from the original play and not from the screenwriter or the director, but they were still there, and not weakly portrayed at all. This might sound silly, but I saw this movie when I was eight years old, and although I never saw it again, I can still perceive those traits from memory. I'm surprised to find out that the film seems to be considered by many a disaster (bad, cheesy or stupid, among other depletive adjectives). Of course, if I could see it again as an adult, maybe all those details that made it supposedly so bad would jump at me. But all I remember is that as a child I was fascinated by many aspects of it, and that I don't ever remember feeling bored at any moment. On the contrary, many of the images have stayed warmly in my soul after all these years (I am 40 now). Maybe the acting was flawed, even for actresses of Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda and Ava Gardner?s stature. Maybe the customs were tacky, and maybe the metaphors seemed somehow forced for an adult audience. But was it really all that bad? [/font][/color][/size]
[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman] Let me describe what seemed special to me, as it stands in my memory. First of all, when Elizabeth Taylor appeared as the Queen of Light, I remember she announced to the boy and his little sister (as I read it in Spanish) something like ?I am the Light that makes you see what others can not see?, and it sounded beautiful and meaningful to me. I don?t remember caring about Mrs. Taylor becoming overweight as an actress in those years, as others have pointed out with a curious zeal. I thought instead that her expression was regal, and that I loved the intensity and the depth of her eyes in her roll as a fairy queen. The boy had a hat with a magical stone like a diamond, and when he turned the stone, it would shine with a mighty light, affecting its surroundings, empowering the Queen of Light to forestall troublesome enemies or obstacles. The scene were the siblings come to the halls were the children who have not been born yet wait was also interesting and had a wondrous bittersweet nostalgia to it, specially when they find out that one of their future brothers will die soon after being born. The little brother who is not born yet tells them personally. It was a strange moment, leaving me with a feeling I have rarely felt in films with analogous subjects. There were other scenes that had an eerie touch that was hard to brush aside, like the moment the Queen of Night expresses that her other daughter, the one that has her face hidden by a dark veil is no other than Death itself (the first daughter was Dream, or Slumber). In the search for the Blue Bird of Happiness, doors are opened within the world of night that show the worst nightmares of men?s imagination: Monsters, vampires, specters, and the horrors of war. But the third door that is supposed to show the worst comes with a totally unexpected surprise. At the end, after many encounters in different scenarios, the Blue Bird is found at home (it was always there), after the siblings thought that their search had been in vain. The last scene where it is finally set free and you see it flying away as an animated effect was unforgettable to me.[/font][/color][/size]
[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman] Maybe as a boy I was too easily impressed with such imagery, but something tells me that this film did have some flair to it, as other ?children? films that impressed me from that decade surely had it, like ?Melody? with Tracy Hide and Mark Lester, or Walt Disney?s 1975 ?Escape to Witch Mountain?. I wish I could see that Blue Bird film again, just to see if the magic that I felt was just an illusion, as one of the blue birds that the children found in the middle of the story surely was.[/font][/color][/size]