"Cinderella" (1950)

Rating: G
Genre: Animation, Classics, Kids & Family
Directed By: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Written By: Ken Anderson, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Ted Sears, Harry Reeves, Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Homer Brightman
In Theatres: April 27, 1951
Runtime: 60 minutes
Studio: RKO Radio Pictures

With a wicked stepmother (Eleanor Audley) and two jealous stepsisters (Rhoda Williams, Lucille Bliss) who keep her enslaved and in rags, Cinderella (Ilene Woods) stands no chance of attending the royal ball. When her fairy godmother (Verna Felton) appears and magically transforms her reality into a dream come true, Cinderella enchants the handsome Prince Charming at the ball, but must face the wrath of her enraged stepmother and sisters when the spell wears off at midnight.

Who out here doesn’t know the story of Cinderella! Of all the Disney movies made, this has to be the most notorious. Cinderella is THE princess – the one that nearly always seems to come on top. It was certainly a favourite of mine when I was small. And I’m still fond of it now.

I don’t know about everyone else, but my favourite part of the film is Cinderella’s friends, Gus and Jac, two attired mice. However, they weren’t intended to have as big a role as they did. Their part was increased to helping her with the making of her ball gown (providing one of the more memorable scenes of the film), providing her with moral support and generally taking care of her as her step-mother and step-sisters barked orders. 


There are many versions of the Cinderella tale in European folklore, but Disney chose the one made familiar by French author Charles Perrault in 1697. He's the author who introduced to the tale the key elements of the fairy godmother, the pumpkin-turned-coach, and the glass slippers. There is also the nastier and original version of Cinderella, written by the Grimm brothers. First of all, in their version, Cinderella is not named Cinderella, but instead Aschenputtel. There is no such thing as innocent as ‘the shoe simply doesn’t fit’ – the stepsisters cut off their heel and big toe respectively to make damn sure the shoe fits. As you would. Cinderella herself is also more of a badass I’m lead to believe than the helpless housemaid we know her as! She’s more of a witch who tends to sort things out for herself. She also owns a magic tree that gives her whatever she wants, as opposed to having a fairy godmother enabling her to go to the ball. As well as the tree, she also has a flock of badass birds on her side (not mice) and said birds ultimately end up pecking the eyes out of her stepsisters. Yep...I told you this one was nastier.  

Cinderella was the first full length feature since ‘Bambi. Disney had not had a huge success since ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was released in 1937. With the the Disney studio heavily in debt, it was a big gamble effort for some success. In fact, Walt Disney wanted to be so sure that the film be successful, he insisted upon the scenes featuring human characters be shot first in live-action. It’s actually pretty cool to see behind scenes of this film, I think. This technique must have worked because the same idea was used for the making of both ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Peter Pan’. As we all know today, ‘Cinderella’ was a flying success and enabled Disney to carry on the production of films throughout the 1950s. 

The film contains many memorable songs, including ‘Sing Sweet Nightingale’, ‘Bibbidi- Bobbidi-Boo, ’ ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes’ and ‘So This is Love. ’ It was the first Disney film to have its songs copyrighted and published. If you look carefully when Cinderella sings ‘Sing Sweet Nightingale’, three bubbles form the head and ears of Mickey Mouse. 

This is a classic that will continue to mesmerise people for many more years to come.