Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical retelling of the classic fairy tale. Cinderella is a teenage girl forced to do all of the menial tasks in the home she shares with her coldhearted stepmother and homely stepsisters. One day when home alone, Cinderella shares a cup of water with a thirsty and handsome traveler, not realizing until he continues on his journey that he is the crown prince of the kingdom. Shortly thereafter, the king and queen invite every young maiden in the kingdom to a royal ball so that the crown prince can find a girl to marry. Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters go to the ball, leaving Cinderella behind to wish about how her life could be. While she is daydreaming, she is visited by her fairy godmother, who makes it possible for her wishes to come true. Written by
We are in sight of the towers of home and your father's palace.
It hardly seems like we've been gone for an entire year.
I sent messengers ahead to tell of your arrival.
I am dying of thirst. Let us stop at that cottage.
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I was six years old when CBS premiered this updated version of the musical written for television. Rodgers and Hammerstein penned "Cinderella" in the Fifties, and Julie Andrews was cast in the lead role. I have been lucky enough to see a clip of her performing one of the songs on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and consider her unsuited for the role; even back then, her voice had a maturity that was unnatural for the character of a young girl.
But Lesley Ann Warren.... Let's say I fell in love that night, and have had a crush on Lesley Ann ever since, even after I've been married for eight years. (Grin) However, having seen this version any number of times now, I think I can give a more objective opinion.
Music: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II supplied the score; need we say more? This show turned me on to R&S. In particular, "Ten Minutes Ago," "Impossible," and the instrumental waltz at the ball (where Warren and Stuart Damon have their first dance) are incredible.
Cast: Excellent all the way. More objectively than above, Lesley Ann Warren as the young innocent who wins true love was inspired; while her voice is a little undeveloped at this age, it lends a certain charm to the performance. Her dancing was excellent across the board; not surprising, since she was trained as a ballet dancer before taking this part.
Stuart Damon was also excellent as the Prince (unnamed in the production). Far more handsome in 1965 (logically!), he was wonderful as the romantic young here, returned from adventures, but without a wife to carry on the dynasty. An excellent singing voice, and he used it on some wonderful songs.
The others of the cast were, in short, generally great. Walter Pidgeon and Ginger Rogers were wonderfully witty with each other; Jo Van Fleet, Pat Carroll and Barbara Ruick as the stepmother and stepsisters were characters you love to hate; and Celeste Holm was an excellent, sympathetic fairy godmother.
Costumes: Cinderella in her ball gown was the main reason I fell in love with Lesley Ann! In that floaty gown, with her hair pulled up and a long Hepburn swan's neck, she was the picture of beauty to a six-year-old boy. Still is....
Production: This may let people down today if they rent or buy the videotape (Hallmark Entertainment). Logically enough, the state of the art had advanced in 35 years, and the jaded viewer of today may not accept the simple camera cuts and video dissolves of 1965. Ride with the boat; you'll still enjoy if you give it a chance.
Highly recommended, both to the student/historian of television and to the simple viewer. My 5-year-old daughter enjoys this tape immensely, and she's a child of the modern effects world!
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