Parents' Guide to

The Blue Bird

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Shirley Temple fantasy has some scares, outdated ideas.

Movie G 1940 88 minutes
The Blue Bird Poster Image

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While it has some good comic moments, special effects that really were special for the time, and Miss Temple is in fine form (especially in her one musical number), it's a second-rate effort. It's too much the copycat, with not enough original charm and wit. For kids who understand the difference between real danger and movie danger, it's fine, but it doesn't hold up to comparison with the earlier black-and-white charmers.

The Blue Bird was supposed to be 20th Century Fox's creative response to the amazing success of MGM's Wizard of Oz. Using some of the same elements: fantasy, an heroic girl and her humanized companions, a transition from black-and-white to color, it was, instead, a complete flop. In fact, The Blue Bird marked the end of Shirley Temple's reign as Hollywood's box office princess. The failure was blamed on the audience's refusal to accept their beloved star as an initially unlikeable child, but the reality is more complex.

Movie Details

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