Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Night Magical Movie: FairyTale: A True Story

Happy Monday everyone! Here's what's playing in my studio this week to provide inspiration while I'm working at the old wooden art table.

My son Tristan and I of course are both believers in the fae, so we enjoyed this version of the story of the Cottingley Fairies. While we were watching it he looked up more information about them online.

"FairyTale: A True Story: directed by Charles Sturridge (Brideshead Revisited, series) is in fact based on a true story, but don't, please don't get your history lessons from movies. There are many inaccuracies between this movie and the actual accounts of how this situation actually played out, but watch it with an open mind, and open heart, and enjoy it for what it is, a great piece of escapism about a great piece of turn of the century escapism!

Our story takes place in 1917, two little girls, cousins Francis and Elsie (played by Florence Hoath and Polly Wright) have claimed to have discovered fairies in Cottingley Dell, and this is the juicy part, they have captured them on film! Well, it's WW I, people are in the midst of turmoil, and what's better that something you can put your finger on to give you hope, photographs, actual photographs of fairies! It kindles everyones imagination, even catching the attention of famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (I love Peter O'Toole!) The photographs were even examined by experts at Kodak that couldn't figure out how they had done it. The girls and their family were visited by Doyle and entourage including the famous magician and fake psychic medium buster Harry Houdini, played believably and delighfully by Harvey Keitel. During the visit, the girls are presented with cameras and run into the woods, coming back with more photos, furthering their credibility. Eventually, their photos are published by Doyle who kindly changes the girls names for their privacy, but when their real identities get out, their land is over run by intruders with cameras and butterfly nets!

Although it wasn't in the film, the two famed girls as old women later claimed that they had made the photos using cutouts of fairies, which is also alluded to in the film, but no one will ever know for sure. I personally agree with the stance that Harry Houdini takes in the film (even though he was never involved in real life with this incident) When asked by reporters how he can support the children's claims when he's busted so many frauds, he explains that while the false psychic mediums he had exposed were trying to make money off of other's sorrows and loss, the children were bringing only joy. He never really says if he believes or not, but expresses that it doesn't really matter.

There is another film based on this facinating story, the slightly darker "Photographing Fairies" which I can't comment on since i haven's seen it, but I would love to compare the two films sometime.

The true events make an interesting story to research, (just google Cottingley fairies) and a delightful movie as well!

Fare Thee Well!
Enjoy a couple of the real Cottingley Fairy pictures below...charming!


  1. I already knew about that story, but never heard about a movie. I´d love to see it, must be great. Blessings and thanks for the tip. :)

  2. The stills from the movies look beautiful! I always enjoyed this story; the way it captivated people's imaginations at the time, and the wonderful images the girls came up with. I was watching The Antiques Roadshow last year and one of their granchildren was on. She had the most lovely scrapbook belonging to her grandmother with some images I hadn't seen before. Oh, what I wouldn't do to get a wee nosy through it! Anyway, great post. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Roisin x

  3. I believe its true. I also believe that fairies do exists. U don't have to understand, u have to believe. *melj*


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