In a far away, long ago kingdom, Cinderella is living happily with her mother and father until her mother dies. Cinderella's father remarries a cold, cruel woman who has two daughters, Drizella and Anastasia. When the father dies, Cinderella's wicked stepmother turns her into a virtual servant in her own house. Meanwhile, across town in the castle, the King determines that his son the Prince should find a suitable bride and provide him with a required number of grandchildren. So the King invites every eligible maiden in the kingdom to a fancy dress ball, where his son will be able to choose his bride. Cinderella has no suitable party dress for a ball, but her friends the mice, led by Jaques and Gus, and the birds lend a hand in making her one, a dress the evil stepsisters immediately tear apart on the evening of the ball. At this point, enter the Fairy Godmother, the pumpkin carriage, the royal ball, the stroke of midnight, the glass slipper, and the rest, as they say, is fairy tale ... Written by
The live-action model of Cinderella was actress Helene Stanley, though some of the character's styling and mannerism were influenced by voice actress Ilene Woods. Stanley was also the live-action model for Cinderella's stepsister Anastasia Tremaine. See more »
During the ball, the Duke's monocle gets broken during an argument with the King and he looks through the broken monocle at the King as the King leaves. When the Duke goes down to keep and eye on the Prince and Cinderella and as he closes the curtain on the snooping stepmother, his monocle is intact again. See more »
Once upon a time in a faraway land, there was a tiny kingdom; peaceful, prosperous, and rich in romance and tradition. Here in a stately chateau, there lived a widowed gentleman, and his little daughter, Cinderella. Although he was a kind and devoted father, and gave his beloved child every luxury and comfort, still he felt she needed a mother's care. And so he married again, choosing for his second wife, a woman of good family, with two daughters just Cinderella's age, by name, ...
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People criticise Disney's animated features of the 1950s for being overly glossy, set in landscapes that are much too pristine. That criticism is just. And yet it can't be the whole story, because the two least glossy - "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan" - are also the weakest. "Cinderella", on the other hand, set in a world in which the very dirt sparkles, is clearly the best.
It DOES look good. The backgrounds are subtle and consistent; the colours are pure without being too bright. The animation varies a bit. I'll swear that some of the humans are rotoscoped - but then, the rotoscoped humans (including Cinderella herself) aren't full-blooded characters in the script, so this approach works well enough. It's really the animals that make the movie. I think the studio had never quite used animals in this way before, as totems rather than sidekicks. The mice, for instance, are the creatures who draw us into the story; but they are really representatives or allies of the more colourless Cinderella. The cat, Lucifer, is a kind of witch's familiar to the Wicked Stepmother. (The cat is brilliantly conceived and animated - one of the best feline creations of all time. The supervising animator was Ward Kimball and he modelled it on his own cat. I wonder how he put up with the animal.) This approach allows the animals to steal the show without drawing our attention from the main story. Their actions are of maximum interest only in the light of the main story.
Among the supporting cast the notable humans are the King and the Grand Duke. The King is a one note character - he wants grandchildren and appears to have no other desires at all - but the note is struck in a pleasing fashion. The Grand Duke is a put-upon character who deserves to be lifted out of his sphere as much as Cinderella does. (Although he, of course, is richer.)
"Cinderella" is Disney's return to features after an eight-year hiatus, and neither with it nor with any subsequent movie would he recapture the raw brilliance of his early years. Moreover he made things hard for himself by picking "Cinderella". She's a passive heroine and there's not much anyone can do about that. (Maybe I'm wrong on this score - I haven't seen the recent "Ever After".) Nonetheless it is remarkable how successful Disney was in bringing this unpromising story to life, without cutting across the grain of its spirit.
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