Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Classic Fairy Tale Love Story

The 12th Walt Disney animated feature, Cinderella became a smashing success that triumphed over even Snow White. It was released in 1950, which was just after World War II. The war was not nice to the Disney studio moneywise and because of it everything was riding on Cinderella. If it would have flopped then there would be no more Disney films so thankfully it didn’t!

I have to admit that Cinderella never was my favorite heroine and re-watching it recently I’ve noticed that she’s pretty to look at but not that interesting or complex. I still love the mice though. Plus the songs and the animation leave me in awe. I actually forgot just how beautiful the film was until I sat down to watch it.

I have the 2-disc DVD special edition that came out in 2005 and I love all of the bonus features but I never did care for some of the "restoration". It’s just too bright in some places but in
others it’s so gorgeous (like a lot of the backgrounds) that it makes me want to just pause it and stare. Fortunately, artwork is included in this DVD so I can do just that! I’m glad that now every generation can now love and admire this classic as much as the last.

There are several wonderful things to see in the bonus features on both discs and some that I could really have cared less for:

DVD Bonus Features Disc 1:
Cinderella Stories Presented by ESPN Classic- I’ve never been much a sport’s fan... to put it bluntly, I hate them. Football, baseball, basketball, tennis, whatever. It’s all snooze-worthy to me. I think this was an unnecessary to put on the DVD but I’m sure some people will enjoy these sport legend’s stories.
Music and More- The last set of bonus features on this disc include two music videos. The first is a remake of A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes by the Disney Channel "Circle of Stars" (with a making of the music video included) which is fun and upbeat but I don’t really care for the Disney Channel’s "stars" that sing. The second music video is called Every Girl Can be a Princess and it is performed by the current "Cinderella" (not the original, and fabulous Ilene Woods). The song itself is nice and so are the images of the Disney princesses but I didn’t
care for the voice nor for what’s supposed to be the mice (which sounded more like chipmunks!).

DVD Bonus Features Disc 2:
Deleted Scenes- There are two deleted scenes here: The Cinderella Work Song and Dancing on a Cloud (there is also an introduction). I love all of the interesting sketches and art that was put together for both of these sequences but I don’t think either of these would have worked very well had they been in the final film. The Work Song is actually kind of annoying to be honest but I really liked Dancing on a Cloud.
Music and More-There are four features on this section of the disc in all:
In Cinderella and Perry Como, an abridged version of the Cinderella story is told by Perry Como with help from the Fonatine Sisters (dressed as mice). This is one of my favorites and not only because they sing such a great song (Bibbid-Bobbidi-Boo) but also because the entire thing is recorded live (which becomes obvious when Ilene Woods stumbles over some of the words)!
"Cinderella" Title Song is the original demo recording of the opening song.
Unused Songs is as the title suggests, seven songs that weren’t used in the final film. They are Sing a Little, Dream a Little, I’m in the Middle of a Muddle, The Mouse Song, The Dress My Mother Wore, Dancing on a Cloud, I Lost My Heart at the Ball, & The Face I See in the Night. Some of these are quite good but there are a few that I didn’t really like. These are the orginal demo recordings so there are some skips on the records.
There are three Radio Programs. The first one is an excerpt of The Village Store which aired March 25, 1948 during which Ilene Woods sings Pinocchio’s When You Wish Upon a Star after a brief interview. The second one is an excerpt from Gulf Oil Presents ca. 1950 during which Ilene Woods tells her story about wanting to sing and how the "Hollywood prince’ Walt Disney became her fairy godmother by giving her the part of Cinderella. The final radio program is called Scouting the Stars and it aired in February 23, 1950. It’s also an interview with Ilene but there is more information about her background as well.
Games and Activities- Two things for little girls featuring Sally from the Disney Channel. In House of Royalty she learns to look, live, and act like a princess with help from fashion man Isaac Mizrachi, ABC’s Extreme Make-over Home Edition, & princess Catherine Oxenberg. Then during Princess Pajama Jam the little ones can dance with the Disney princesses. There is also an introduction to the DVD-ROM Design Studio.
Backstage Disney- What I call the grown-up part of the DVD and the reason why I always buy the 2-disc DVD.
From Rags to Riches: The Making of Cinderella features so many noted Disney historians, animators, and other great Disney employees talking about the classic film.
The Cinderella That Almost Was explains why some parts were dropped etc. with voice over re-enactments of Walt Disney himself from story meetings.
From Walt’s Table: A Tribute to Disney’s Nine Old Men is a dinner today’s Disney animators where they talk about the Nine Old Men and animating.
The Art of Mary Blair is a bunch of people talking about the artwork by one of the greatest unrecognized (until recently) animators.
Storyboard to Film Comparison features the opening sequence artwork compared to the final film.
Cinderella Galleries are the artwork from the film
1922 Laugh-O-Grams: Cinderella is the black and white animated cartoon of Disney’s first depiction of the Cinderella story.
Excerpt from the Mickey Mouse Club during which Helene Stanley (the stand-in model for the animators of Cinderella) acts out and sings the dress scene from the movie.
Theatrical Trailers are pretty self-explanatory but there are tons of them from every year Cinderella was re-issued (also original trailer included)

DVD-ROM Design Studio:
There are quite a few activity games for little girls on the DVD if you stick it in your computer! You can design a palace, a gown, and even a bedroom.

~ There have recently been two sequels to this classic fairy tale made but I haven’t seen either of them yet. They are Cinderella II: Dreams Come True and
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. Both were direct-to-DVD movies.

Reminder: As always the pictures above are also links that lead to various information etc.


A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes:

Cinderella Laugh-O-Gram:


  1. Great review! The 2-disc DVD set is excellent, but I agree that the ESPN feature seems pointless and out of place. I just got done watching it for the umpteenth time for my Disney Films blog. It's actually one of my favorite films, but I agree that Cinderella as a character is mostly an empty pretty box. She knows what she wants, but everyone around her makes it happen for her.

  2. My thoughts exactly. I think the mice and the step-mother are the reason this movie was such a success. She's still gorgeous in that dress at the end though!



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