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In a small pleasant European village, there is one unhappy person: Ella. She is despised by everyone, and mistreated by her step-mother and step-sisters. Out feeling miserable one day, Ella meets a handsome young man, who falls for her. He is really Prince Charles, the son of the Duke, but he tells her he is the son of the cook, and invites her to a great ball at the Duke's castle. A strange woman who lives in the mountains by herself befriends Ella, and dresses her up so she can attend the ball. She goes, and is a great success, but must run out at midnight. In her haste, she drops a single glass slipper. The Prince uses the slipper to find her. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Ella is leaving the ball/castle, it is obviously daylight outside though the clock said midnight. See more »
I should like to present my cousin Mrs. Sonder, and her two daughters Birdena and Serafina.
[interrupts, elbowing his way between Birdena and the Widow]
Charles. I beg your pardon.
It's a great privilege, Your Highness. I'm looking forward to hearing about your travels.
Oh yes! We're very fond of Paris.
Oh, you know Paris?
Oh, we don't precisely know Paris, but we're very devoted to it, aren't we, Cousin Loulou? It's so French!
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I remember seeing this years ago on a family anthology show (now you know how old I am; anthologies are a thing of the past now). One of the things I liked was the fact that they dispense with much of the conventional magic known from the original fairy tale: the fairy godmother is given a name and personality- and portrayed as something of a neighborhood kook who loves funny words and steals for a living. When she helps Ella (the 'Cinder' prefix comes later) go to the ball she 'borrows' a coach and steals a gown- and has something of a needle-in-a-haystack challenge in fixing her charge's unruly hair. Leslie Caron, a positively beautiful dancer in her early years, is made to look less pretty than she really is, and the film throws a symbolic moral at the viewer by making the stepsisters conventionally beautiful, but still harboring nasty personalities. With this scenario we are allowed to judge the central character by her spirit and intelligence (something that would be re-imagined 40 years later in the film EVER AFTER). It is not meant to be taken too seriously- how can it be with Walter Pigeon's extremely dry narration? I didn't care for the Petit fantasy ballets (they just seem to interrupt the action instead of advancing it), but loved the fact that the prince and Ella meet in the glen before seeing each other at the ball- creating something of a real love story. It is a shame that Leslie Caron did not continue to dance on film after this year, as all of her subsequent films were 'Gigi' and then straight dramas. Check this out; it is one of MGM's lesser known, but every bit as impressive.
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