The Good Fairy

( 1 )

Overview

It's significant that the first two non-horror and non-war movies to come out of the 1930's Universal vaults and onto DVD, come to us by way of Kino International -- The Good Fairy and Counsellor At Law have both been released (along with the 1929 hybrid silent/talkie The Love Trap), are part of Kino's William Wyler Collection. The Good Fairy (1935) is Wyler's spirited, excruciatingly funny yet lyrical and saucy film of Preston Sturges's screenplay (adapted from Ferenc Molnar's play), about the romantic ...
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Overview

It's significant that the first two non-horror and non-war movies to come out of the 1930's Universal vaults and onto DVD, come to us by way of Kino International -- The Good Fairy and Counsellor At Law have both been released (along with the 1929 hybrid silent/talkie The Love Trap), are part of Kino's William Wyler Collection. The Good Fairy (1935) is Wyler's spirited, excruciatingly funny yet lyrical and saucy film of Preston Sturges's screenplay (adapted from Ferenc Molnar's play), about the romantic adventures of an innocent young woman (Margaret Sullavan), recruited out of an orphanage in Bupadest to work as an usherette at a movie theater. it's a doubly funny movie to watch today, incidentally, because two of its cast members, at least, Frank Morgan and Reginald Owen, tend to be associated more with MGM titles of the period, and, in fact, Morgan plays a kind of genially lecherous antecedent to his Professor Marvel character from The Wizard Of Oz. Between the two of them and Eric Blore and Alan Hale, there would be a lot of amusing stuff going on in this picture regardless of one's appreciation of the story; on the other hand, Sullivan is so beguilingly charming in the title-role, that she's a romantic/comedic delight all on her own terms. Coupled with Sturges's wry twists in the dialogue, the movie is an enchanting amalgam of knowing, clever romance and sly comedy all in one. This is one of the best looking DVD releases to come out of the Universal vaults, utilizing a wonderfully sharp, clean print -- not only does it look sensational, but even the movie-within-the-movie in one sequence looks as good as anything ever issued on video. This release is a special treat, as The Good Fairy never made it onto laserdisc, though it has been out on videocassette at various points and, at one time, was a staple of public television presentations. The film has been given a dozen chapter markers, which is adequate, given its structure. The disc opens on a simple menu that incorporated inset clips from the film. One unexpectedly choice bonus is the original trailer, which is built around Margaret Sullavan's screen persona and some surprisingly daring and suggestive clips (in so delightfully innocent a comedy of errors), all assembled very cleverly around some delightfully witty wipes and edits that are fun to watch; the other bonus is an array of photos of Wyler from his family's collection (which includes a shot of the director and his bride, Margaret Sullavan, riding on his Harley Davidson) from across his life and career.
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; Gallery of rare personal photographs from the William Wler Estate
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Good Fairy is a charming and delightful comedy that finds director William Wyler operating in Ernst Lubitsch-land -- and seeming a bit uncomfortable doing so. Although his direction is good, it feels a bit forced; on a project in which a light and effortless hand is needed at the helm, this has the effect of muting some of the comedy. Fortunately, Preston Sturges' screenplay is so full of amusing situations, witty and flavorful dialogue, and finely observed characters that the slightly off-key direction doesn't really matter. The film is also helped immeasurably by the enchanting Margaret Sullavan, whose charm is always laced with just enough acid to keep her characters from becoming vapid or one-dimensional. Sullavan is at her best here, more naïve than in some of her later roles, and a total delight. She is aided by a marvelous supporting cast, with Frank Morgan displaying his usual excellent comic timing and Beulah Bondi and Eric Blore adding their distinctive personalities into the mix. While The Good Fairy is not as frothy and light as it wants to be, it still manages to float along very nicely.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/5/2002
  • UPC: 738329026028
  • Original Release: 1935
  • Rating:

  • Source: Kino Video
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Time: 1:37:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 53,962

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Margaret Sullavan Luisa "Lu" Ginglebusher
Herbert Marshall Dr. Max Sporum
Frank Morgan Konrad
Reginald Owen Detlaff
Alan Hale Schlapkohl
Beulah Bondi Dr. Schultz
Luis Alberni Barber
Eric Blore Dr. Metz
Al Bridge Doorman
June Clayworth Actress
George Davis Chauffeur
Torben Meyer
Hugh O'Connell Gas Collector
Cesar Romero Joe
Technical Credits
William Wyler Director
Norbert Bodine Cinematographer
Henry Henigson Producer
Dan Mandell Editor
Preston Sturges Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Titles [4:39]
2. Once Upon a Time [5:03]
3. Go! [4:06]
4. Stage Door Romance [5:27]
5. A Taste of Elegance [8:16]
6. Dinner for Two [14:48]
7. The Chosen One [10:39]
8. Meeting the Husband [11:06]
9. The Transformation [9:46]
10. The Fairy's Sacrifice [8:18]
11. Rescuing the Maiden [2:29]
12. Clarification [12:39]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Start Film
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      Photo Gallery
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Customer Reviews

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    Posted March 31, 2009

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