Shirley Temple plays Mytyl, a young girl who is not happy because her family is poor. She believes that if she were rich and had the luxuries that she has been denied in her life she will be happy. Her parents love her and try to teach her to realize how blessed she is with her loving family, but Mytyl doesn't believe it's enough. Without giving the movie completely away she "dreams" that she goes to a magical land in search for the bluebird of happiness. If she can find the bluebird, then she will finally be happy.
There is a true dream like quality to the film, and the set decorations are lavish and beautiful. Shirley is supported by a wonderful supporting cast such as Spring Byington, who plays her mother, Gale Sondergaard, (as Tylette, the cat) has fun with a typical Sondergaard role, mistress of evil, and Nigel Bruce (usually remembered as Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes movies opposite Basil Rathbone) as Mr. Luxury.
Other cast members that do an excellent job with their material: wonderful old Jessie Ralph as the fairy; Eddie Collins, often very funny as the Dog; Laura Hope Crews, giving a ripe performances as Mrs. Luxury; and Cecilia Loftus & Al Shean as Shirley's lonely, dead grandparents. Some of the minor casting is also very effective, witness Thurston Hall as Father Time, Edwin Maxwell as Old Man Oak & Sterling Holloway, on screen only a few seconds as Wild Plum. That's Scotty Beckett, from the old Our Gang Comedies, as one of the Unborn Boys.
This movie tries to teach that true happiness is not found through riches and things, but found right at home, with the people we love. Both movies are beautiful and teach their lessons in their own magical way. If you have never seen this movie, and especially if you are a Shirley Temple fan, then you must see this movie.
The use of Technicolor is very eye-appealing, although its initial entry into the film lacks the dramatic punch produced in OZ. The forest firestorm sequence is very well done & the Unborn Children scenes have genuine pathos.
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Special Effects and Color Cinematography), nominations which were well deserved. The spectacular forest fire is very effective, as are the special effects in general. Summing up, while the whole is not as great as its parts, this is a lavishly photographed film definitely worth viewing.
Not a masterpiece, by any means, but there is much to appreciate and it should not be neglected. As this is a relatively short film we will also be showing a couple of old style Cartoons , a longer Supper break for some catch- up chat, and a Shirley Temple Trivia Competition.
Get a taste of the movie at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pfoXNyHNAw