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“The Blue Bird”: National Film Registry #16

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As we move closer to the announcement of the latest titles being added to the National Film Registry–that announcement will be made on December 11, 2018–we are taking a detailed look back at one film that was named to the Registry every year that the Registry has been in existence.  This is from the list that emerged in 2004.

“The Blue Bird” is an (often) unsung silent film, produced by Adolph Zukor. Writer Kavzeh Askarvi says:

“Aesthetically and philosophically ambitious, ‘The Blue Bird’ stands out as an achievement in American art cinema of the 1910s. After gaining some experience directing films in the United States, French expat director Maurice Tourneur pursued his interest in the fantastic by adapting this popular play by Belgian Symbolist Maurice Maeterlinck. It was an adaptation for which Tourneur was well suited, given his training in the fine arts and his experience as an assistant to the Symbolist painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Tourneur’s adaptation answered the play’s imperative—that we should nurture a spiritual commitment to the hidden life in everyday things—with stylized sequences that linked his film to the other arts and to the previous generation of movie magic.”

Read the rest of ”The Blue Bird” (PDF) essay.


Title:  “The Blue Bird”

Year of Release:  1918

Year Added to the National Film Registry:  2004  (See all films added to the Registry in 2004.)

Trivia:  Far from Hollywood, “The Blue Bird” was shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

This blog post is the 16th in our “30 Years of the National Film Registry” series which was launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Registry.  The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.  The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced on December 12, 2018.


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