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Cinderella or The Glass Slipper (1912)

Cendrillon ou La pantoufle merveilleuse (original title)
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Louise Lagrange ...
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Marthe Vinot ...
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November 1912 (France)  »

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Cinderella or The Glass Slipper  »

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Version of The Glass Slipper (1955) See more »

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Forefront to Backward
9 September 2009 | by See all my reviews

Georges Méliès's first attempt at this fairytale was in 1899. That film was extraordinary then for having multiple scenes and a semblance of a narrative; additionally, the use of dissolves as transitions in it influenced other filmmakers for years to do the same. Méliès was the cinema world's preeminent leader then. By 1912, however, that was no longer the case; frankly, as evidenced by this feature, his style had become dated. Moreover, Méliès had begun to adopt techniques from other filmmakers, such as direct cuts instead of dissolves, and there's even a match on action shot during the slipper trying-on scene.

Yet, mostly, despite its short length, this film really drags in pacing. The opening camera placement doesn't change for four minutes. In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Méliès's was advancing the medium largely by imitating theatre, in addition to his cinematic trick effects, but by 1912, other filmmakers had begun and adopted cinematic forms of narrative--best remembered today through the Biograph shorts of D.W. Griffith, but others were doing similar things, too. Méliès's film-making was now backwards.

Another complaint: perhaps, impolite to say, but the Cinderella here isn't even very attractive. Finally, there's a wacky clock nightmare here that can be worth seeing for comparison to that in the 1899 film as well as the one in the 1914 Mary Pickford "Cinderella".


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