Review: ‘The Good Fairy’

Preston Sturges has translated Ferenc Molnar's dainty stage comedy for the screen, and has turned out a somewhat vociferous paraphrase. Slightly idealistic atmosphere of the original is missing, and in its place is substituted a style of comedy closely akin to slapstick.

Preston Sturges has translated Ferenc Molnar’s dainty stage comedy for the screen, and has turned out a somewhat vociferous paraphrase. Slightly idealistic atmosphere of the original is missing, and in its place is substituted a style of comedy closely akin to slapstick.

A little too much time is given to the initial sequence in the asylum, which is not funny nor particularly convincing, serving only to give Alan Hale and Beulah Bondi their one opportunity. From the asylum action moves to the theatre where Lu (Margaret Sullavan) becomes an usher and her encounter, first with Reginald Owen and almost immediately with Frank Morgan, quickly puts the play into its stride. From there on it works to a farcical finish in which the burly waiter (Owen) removes her from the imagined lascivious attentions of her benefactor (Morgan).

Picture is fairly peppered with closeups which, delaying production, brought U and the director, William Wyler, to the mat. These closeups are so beautiful that they seem worthwhile even if a bit profuse.

Frank Morgan, as the benefactor, plays like an eccentric John Barrymore, but makes his points rapidly and surely. Reginald Owen, as a waiter, is an excellent foil and contributes some telling pantomime. Sullavan is uneasy in the asylum opening as she does not suggest the child. Later she performs more surely.

The Good Fairy

Production

Universal. Director William Wyler; Producer Henry Henigson; Screenplay Preston Sturges; Camera Norbert Brodine; Editor Daniel Mandell; Art Director Charles D. Hall

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1935. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Margaret Sullavan Herbert Marshall Frank Morgan Reginald Owen Alan Hale Beulah Bondi
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