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Date: 26.01.2018

The Good Fairy (1935)

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Premiered January 31, Directed by William Wyler. This is Preston Sturges coming into his own. His screenplay for The Good Fairy, said to be a complete rewrite of the Ferenc Molnar play, with fresh pages coming to director William Wyler and the cast with little notice, mixes romantic charm and sophisticated comedy better than any other film release he had worked on to date.

Despite critical acclaim for box office flop The Power and the Glory , a story with an entirely different tone, Sturges the writer had shown Hollywood bean counters little evidence of the brilliance he was accorded off the success of his hit play Strictly Dishonorable.

The Good Fairy (1935) - IMDb

Despite being directed by Wyler, still ripening himself but soon to bear fruit for Samuel Goldwyn, The Good Fairy is the first movie that really feels like a Preston Sturges movie. You could play it alongside later titles that Sturges both wrote and directed, and The Good Fairy would not feel out of place in the least. This was no coincidence. When we first see Sullavan in The Good Fairy she is dressed the same as all of the other girls in the Budapest orphanage, standing out by virtue of her size.

She delights the younger girls with her breathless tale of the Good Fairy, a story that she, like Sturges on this screenplay, makes up as she goes along. She acts it out with all of her energy from atop a ladder where she rides a broom so ferociously that that ladder eventually snaps, leaving Sullavan clinging to a lighting fixture that quickly gives out and sends her crashing to the floor.

The stranger is Mr. Schlapkohl, general director of the Dream Palace, a 3,seat movie theater in need of usherettes. Luisa, or Lu, is naive, unspoiled and, the matron assures Schlapkohl, innocent. Reginald Owen and Margaret Sullavan. At the end of the evening several men from town hang around the back door of the theater waiting to ask out whichever usherette will have them.

Frank Morgan and Margaret Sullavan. After Detlaff manages to warn Luisa to keep her distance from Konrad, she runs from the wizard and finally halts his pursuit with the same excuse that had worked earlier: Max Sporum and hopes that he is poor.

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Max Sporum Herbert Marshall , is poor and honest, but proud to the point of defiance. He smells a rat the moment Konrad knocks at his door. Sporum doubts him, pulling out a comb to give his carefully groomed goatee a couple of swift brushes, and boldly asks where Konrad had ever even heard his name. Konrad struggles to answer, then remembers Dr. Metz, the Minster of Arts and Decorations Blore , and names him as the source. Konrad departs and meets Luisa creeping up the stairs.

Herbert Marshall and Frank Morgan.

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At first Max is too distracted by his new prized possession to pay much attention to Luisa. Luisa had been dying to introduce herself to Max as his good fairy, but weakens as he glows over earning his new status through honesty and accomplishment.

He suggests Luisa go look at other pretty things while his masculinity is shed by a supportive barber, played by Luis Alberni, who sports his own goatee. Luisa busies herself by wrapping a cheap-looking artificial fur around her neck and dreaming of all of the luxury it implies when a cleanly shaved stranger remarks how lovely she looks.

Suspecting this is yet another man out to romance her, Luisa is standoffish for a moment, repulsed even, until realizing that it is only Max. Herbert Marshall and Margaret Sullavan. The gentleman is Konrad, the date a repayment for his kindness, but she can explain none of this to Max without his discovering she was his good fairy.

He storms off, though regrets his temper in short order. Herbert Marshall and Margaret Sullavan, wearing genuine Foxine. Beulah Bondi and Alan Hale are amusing quipping back and forth, she meeting his rudeness with wisecracks that fly over his head. They both disappear after the opening scene at the orphanage. Herbert Marshall makes a late entrance, but is wonderful in coloring his usually sober surface with pangs of trivial longing born of a more meaningful poverty, plus the affectations of someone who was trained for greater status.

She improves the lives of each of these three men and she does so cheerfully, just as the orphanage has taught.

Originally planned for a holiday release during the last week of , production was delayed and The Good Fairy did not open until January 31, Radio City Music Hall made the risky decision to book the film without having seen it or even yet possessing a print. Wyler only completed the final cutting and editing a few days before the premiere and then rushed two prints to New York, the first arriving by airmail on the 30th, but immediately submitted to the Censor Board for required approval.

Despite objections from the Production Code Administration during production, The Good Fairy had no troubles clearing the board in New York, and even earned a family classification from one of the Catholic organizations.

Universal next put Sturges to work writing Diamond Jim You can pick it up on Amazon here. A Biography of Preston Sturges.