Cinderella

Cinderella

The film was a massive critical and commercial success upon release and reinvigorated the Disney company when they were nearing bankruptcy after a loss of over $4 million from the then-recent failures Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi. The film's "classic" status and success continue to this day.

It is considered one of the best American animated films ever made, as selected by the American Film Institute and was inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2018. [1] A live-action adaptation of the film was released in 2015.

Contents

Title Card for Cinderella.

Cinderella is the much-loved daughter of a widowed aristocrat, who decides to remarry, believing his beloved daughter needs a mother's care. Ultimately, Cinderella's father marries Lady Tremaine, a proud and confident woman with two daughters just Cinderella's age from a previous marriage named Drizella and Anastasia. The plain and socially awkward stepsisters are bitterly envious of Cinderella's beauty. After Cinderella's father dies, Lady Tremaine reveals herself to be a cold and cruel tyrant who shares her daughters' jealousy of Cinderella's charm and beauty. Lady Tremaine and her daughters take over the estate and begin to abuse and mistreat Cinderella, ultimately forcing her to become a scullery maid in her own home, while also squandering off the fortune until there is nearly nothing left. Despite this, Cinderella remains a kind and gentle girl, befriending the animals in the barn and the mice and birds who live around the château. For with each dawn, she finds new hope that someday her dreams of happiness will soon come true.

One morning, Cinderella and the mice found a new mouse in the house who was caught in a mouse trap. She gives him the name Octavius (or Gus for short) and some new clothes and informs Jaq to warn Gus about Lucifer, Lady Tremaine's wicked cat. The two mice spy on Lucifer as Cinderella starts her chores. When Cinderella is giving breakfast to the animals, Lucifer chases Gus, and he hides under Anastasia's teacup. Cinderella delivers breakfast to her stepfamily. When Anastasia opens her teacup and finds Gus, she screams to her mother about it right after accusing Cinderella. Lady Tremaine punishes Cinderella with extra chores.

At the royal palace, the King and the Grand Duke organize a ball in an effort to find a suitable wife for Prince Charming, considering the fact that the King wants to see grandchildren before his death. Every eligible maiden in the kingdom is requested to attend. Cinderella asks her stepmother if she can attend since she is still part of the family. Lady Tremaine agrees, provided if Cinderella finishes her chores and finds a nice dress to wear. With Cinderella too distracted with extra chores, her animal friends, led by Mary, Jaq, and Gus, fix up a gown that belonged to Cinderella's late mother. They go downstairs and scoop up Drizella's old beads and Anastasia's old sash after they throw them on the floor, escaping with them before Lucifer catches them. The animals finish Cinderella's dress just as the carriage arrives. When Cinderella comes down wearing her new dress, Lady Tremaine compliments the gown, pointing out the beads and sash. Angered by the apparent theft of their discarded items by their stepsister, the stepsisters viciously rip the gown into rags before snootily leaving for the ball with Lady Tremaine. Heartbroken, Cinderella runs outside to the garden and begins to cry.

At the point of giving up her dreams, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother appears and bestows upon Cinderella a new ball gown with a pair of glass slippers. She also transforms a pumpkin into a carriage, the mice into horses, Major the horse into a coachman, and Bruno the dog into a footman. Cinderella departs for the ball after her godmother warns her that the spell will break at the stroke of midnight. At the ball, the Prince rejects every girl until he sees Cinderella. The two fall strongly in love and dance alone throughout the castle grounds. Her stepfamily doesn't recognize her, but Lady Tremaine thinks there's something familiar about her. She is unable to make the connection before the Grand Duke closes the curtain to give the couple some privacy.

As the clock starts to chime midnight, Cinderella flees to her coach and away from the castle, dropping one of her glass slippers by accident. The Duke sends the guards to stop them, but Cinderella and the animals hide from them. After her gown turns back into rags, the mice point out that the other slipper is still on her foot, and she thanked the Fairy Godmother for everything. Back at the castle, the Duke tells the King of the disaster. However, he also reveals that the Prince will not marry anyone except the owner of the slipper and sets out to find her.

The next morning, the King proclaims that the Grand Duke will visit every house in the kingdom to find the girl whose foot fits the glass slipper so that she can be married to the Prince. When news reaches Cinderella's household, her stepmother and stepsisters prepare for the Duke's arrival. Overhearing this, Cinderella dreamily hums the song played at the ball. Realizing that Cinderella was the girl who danced with the Prince, Lady Tremaine follows Cinderella to her room and locks her stepdaughter in the attic in one final ditch attempt to shatter her dreams.

When the Duke arrives, the mice retrieve the key to Cinderella's room from the stepmother's pocket and bring it upstairs, but before they can deliver it, they are ambushed by Lucifer, who traps Gus under a cup. With the help of the other mice, birds, and Bruno, they chase him out the window and Cinderella is freed. As the Duke prepares to leave after the stepsisters unsuccessfully try on the slipper, Cinderella appears and requests to try it on. Knowing the slipper will fit, Lady Tremaine trips the footman, causing him to drop and shatter the slipper. Cinderella then produces the other glass slipper, much to her stepmother's horror. Delighted at this complete irrefutable proof of the maiden's identity, the Duke slides the slipper onto her foot and it fits perfectly.

Cinderella and Prince Charming celebrate their wedding and live happily ever after.

Talents

    as the voice of Cinderella as the model and voice of Lady Tremaine as the voice of Fairy Godmother
      as the model for Fairy Godmother

    Additional talents [2]

      as the voice of Anastasia
    • John Fontaine as the model for Prince Charming and additional voices
      • Mike Douglas as Prince Charming's singing voice
      • William Phipps as Prince Charming's speaking voice

      Development

      Made on the Cusp between the classic "golden age" Disney animations of the 1930s and 1940s and the less critically acclaimed productions of the 1950s, Cinderella is a representative of both eras.

      Cinderella was the first full-bodied feature produced by the studio since Bambi in 1942; World War II and low box office returns had forced Walt Disney to produce a series of inexpensive package films such as Make Mine Music and Fun and Fancy Free for the 1940s. Live-action reference was used extensively to keep animation costs down. According to Laryn Dowel, one of the directing animators of the film, roughly 90% of the film was done in live-action model before animation, using basic sets as references for actors and animators alike.

      Both Helene Stanley (Cinderella's live-action model) and Ilene Woods (Cinderella's voice actor, selected from 400 other candidates) heavily influenced Cinderella's styling and mannerisms. Stanley was the live-action model for Anastasia Tremaine as well. She would be so again for Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Anita Radcliffe in One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Animators modeled Prince Charming on actor Jeffery Stone, who also provided some additional voices for the film. Mike Douglas was the Prince's singing voice while William Phepps acted the part.

      In earlier drafts of the screenplay, the Prince originally played a larger role and had more character development than what he ultimately received in the final version of the film. In one abandoned opening, the Prince was shown hunting a deer, but at the end of the sequence, it was to be revealed that the Prince and the deer were actually friends and playing games. In an alternate ending, after the Duke discovered Cinderella's identity, she was shown being brought to the castle to be reintroduced to the Prince, who is surprised to learn that Cinderella was actually a modest servant girl instead of the princess he thought she was, but the Prince's feelings for her were too strong to be bothered by this, and he embraced her; the Fairy Godmother was to reappear and restore Cinderella's ball gown for the closing shot. Walt Disney himself reportedly cut the alternate ending because he felt it was overlong and did not give the audience its "pay off", but the scene would later be incorporated in the video game, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.

      Other deleted material included an abandoned song tentatively titled the "Cinderella Work Song", which was part of a fantasy sequence that was set to take place after Lady Tremaine told Cinderella that she could only attend the ball if she finished her chores and found a suitable dress. In this abandoned sequence, Cinderella imagined herself multiplying into an army of maids in order to deal with her massive workload, all the while pondering what the ball itself would be like; the sequence was cut, but the title was applied to the song the mice sing when they work on Cinderella's dress. Additionally, there was a scene that took place after the ball in which Cinderella was seen returning to her home and eavesdropped on her stepfamily, who were ranting about the mystery girl at the ball, and Cinderella was shown to be amused by this because they were talking about her without realizing it. Walt Disney reportedly cut the scene because he thought it made Cinderella look "spiteful" and felt the audience would lose sympathy.

      Interestingly, almost 30 years before he made "Cinderella" into a feature-length animated film, Walt Disney already made a short film of it as the last of the Laugh-O-Gram series, as a Roaring 20s version. This short is included as an extra on the Cinderella Platinum Edition DVD.

      During production, Walt Disney pioneered the use of double tracked vocals for the song "Sing Sweet Nightingale", before it had been used by artists in studio recordings such as The Beatles. When Ilene Woods had completed the days recording of "Sing Sweet Nightingale", Walt listened and asked her if she could sing harmony with herself. She was apprehensive about the idea as it was unheard of; though she ended up singing the double recording, including second and third part harmonies. Ilene Woods reveals the innovation in an interview.

      Music

      For the first time, Walt turned to Tin Pan Alley songwriters to write the songs. The music of Tin Pan Alley would later become a recurring theme in Disney animation. Cinderella was the first Disney film to have its songs published and copyrighted by the newly created Walt Disney Music Company. Before movie soundtracks became marketable, movie songs had little residual value to the film studio that owned them and were often sold off to established music companies for sheet music publication.

      "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" became a hit single four times, with notable versions by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters. Woods beat exactly 309 girls for the part of Cinderella after some demo recordings of her singing a few of the film's songs were presented to Walt Disney. However, she had no idea she was auditioning for the part until Disney contacted her; she initially made the recordings for a few friends who sent them to Disney without her knowledge. Reportedly, Disney thought Woods had the right "fairy tale" tone to her voice.

      Soundtrack

      Reception

      Disney had not had as huge a hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (though Dumbo was also a huge success), so the production of this film was regarded as a major gamble on his part. At a cost of nearly $3 million, Disney insiders claimed that if Cinderella failed at the box office, then the Disney studio would have closed (given that the studio was already heavily in debt). The film was a huge box-office success and allowed Disney to carry on producing films throughout the 1950s. It was the 5th most popular movie at the British box office in 1951.

      Cinderella currently has a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The overview of the film is, "The rich colors, sweet songs, adorable mice, and endearing (if suffering) heroine make Cinderella a nostalgically lovely charmer." The profits from the film's release, with the additional profits from record sales, music publishing, publications, and other merchandise, gave Disney the cash flow to finance a slate of productions (animated and live-action), establish his own distribution company, enter television production and begin building Disneyland during the decade.

      The film received three Academy Award nominations for Best Sound (C.O. Slyfield) lost to All About Eve, Best Original Score (Oliver Wallace and Paul Smith) lost to Annie Get Your Gun and Best Original Song for "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (Mack David, Jerry Livingston, and Al Hoffman) lost to Captain Carey, U.S.A.. At the 1st Berlin International Film Festival it won the Golden Bear (Music Film) award and the Big Bronze Plate award.

      In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "AFI's 10 Top 10"— the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Cinderella was acknowledged as the 9th greatest film in the animation genre.

      Release

      The film was originally released in theaters on February 15, 1950, followed by theatrical re-releases in 1957, 1965, 1973, 1981, 1987, and 1995. Cinderella also played a limited engagement in select Cinemark Theaters from February 16-18, 2013.

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