Disney Marathon: Cinderella


Amid all the horror and noir we focus on this time of year you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d forgotten about ranking all the Disney movies. Well…we haven’t. And we’re coming back with a big one.

For those just joining us, this is a movie marathon with a twist. Myself (cranky 30s blogger), my son Josh (stoic 10 year old Nintendo obsessive) and my daughter Amelia (drama llama 8 year old princess) are watching Disney movies in a random order and ranking them. We hope to see interesting differences in how we organise our lists.

Film: Cinderella

Released: 1950

Director: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson

Cast: Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, William Phipps, Mike Douglas, Lucille Bliss, Rhoda Williams, Jimmy MacDonald, Luis van Rooten

Plot: Orphaned Cinderella lives a live of forced servitude for her cruel step-mother and step-sisters. When the king hosts a lavish ball for the Prince to find a bride, Cinderella has a chance to see her dreams come true.

Review: This movie is a pain in the ass.

Everything has been said about it, both for good and for bad. It has been praised and criticised for laying out the template for the Disney Princess trope, the merchandise being especially lucrative. It has been deemed a classic and had fun poked at it. It’s been broken down so many ways there’s nothing unique left to say. We’ll start by checking off the plot and sharing our thoughts as we go.

The prologue spells things out for us in a plain and direct manner, with a voice-over explaining to us how Cinderella (Woods) wound up running around after her demanding step-mother (Audley) and -sisters (Bliss and Williams). The first act gives us a day-in-the-life of our oppressed heroine, preparing breakfast, feeding animals and doing the cleaning. In spite of Cinderella being such an iconic character, it’s her supporting cast who prove more interesting. We have the mice Jaq and Gus (both Macdonald), who have exciting adventures with their feared nemesis, the cat Lucifer. We also have the comically animated step-sisters and the fearsome Lady Tremaine. Whilst they’re all having a fun time, Cinderella is cheerfully getting on with her work in the hope that her dreams will find her eventually.

Cinderella sometimes gets painted as being a weak character through this sequence, but that’s missing the fact that she doesn’t have much wiggle room in her situation. She’s a young woman at a time when she couldn’t go out and get herself an apartment and a job. Maintaining a positive demeanour is a show of strength onto itself, and it’s her good will that gives her the karmic reward later in the film. What they should do is a #woke live action remake that depicts Cinderella in a much more active role.

The other side of the story involves the King and his Grand Duke (van Rooten), the former being concerned that his son has not yet chosen himself a bride in other to carry on the royal line. His harried Grand Duke is tasked with hosting a lavish ball with every maiden in the kingdom invited. The one character who is weirdly left out of this discussion is Prince Charming himself, who barely registers as a person. He joins the movie very late in the story, is mostly shown from a distance and says no more than a sentence or two. He could literally be replaced with a standee and it wouldn’t have changed much of anything.

This is one criticism of the film that I can get behind. Not only does it make it hard to invest in these two characters getting together, but there was amble opportunity to include the Prince in the scenes already featuring the King talking about him.

When movie hits its stride, it really is a wonderful experience. The scene where Lady Tremaine subtly encourages her daughters to destroy Cinderella’s dress is so cold and cruel that it breaks your heart. The sudden appearance of the Fairy Godmother and her jolly magical routine is equally uplifting. It’s a nice story.

For all the holes in the story and the few aspects that aged poorly, it is a delight these 70 years on. The animation looks fantastic, in part to the film being filmed live action being the animators went to work with the footage. It’s a solid technical achievement that made animation feel more cinematic than Disney’s previous offerings.

Best Song: ‘Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boo’ is the most fun, but ‘A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes’ is so heavily ingrained in our modern culture you may not be aware of its origin.

Weirdest Trivia: The clip of Cinderella’s dress transforming was Walt Disney’s favourite piece of animation.

disney gif cinderella frozen ianonthedaily •

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN

THE RANKING

ME

I’ll always have a strong appreciation of the history represented by this film, but it’s not one I’d often feel compelled to pop on to watch.

Click those titles if you want to see what we said about the other movies.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Aladdin
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  5. Wreck-It Ralph
  6. Alice in Wonderland
  7. Beauty and the Beast
  8. Moana
  9. Big Hero 6
  10. The Great Mouse Detective
  11. Frozen
  12. Tangled
  13. The Sword in the Stone
  14. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  15. Mulan
  16. Cinderella
  17. Emperor’s New Groove
  18. Fantasia
  19. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  20. The Three Caballeros
  21. The Princess and the Frog
  22. Hercules
  23. Oliver & Company
  24. The Aristocats
  25. Saludos Amigos
  26. Home on the Range
  27. Bolt
  28. Dinosaur
  29. The Fox and the Hound
  30. Pocahontas
  31. A Goofy Movie
  32. Treasure Planet
  33. Chicken Little

AMELIA

Amelia has a strong attachment to this film because she was turned into Cinderella at a Disneyland park. Still, she did some more reorganisation of her list, putting some of the funnier stuff further up the list.

  1. Frozen
  2. Moana
  3. Tangled
  4. Emperor’s New Groove
  5. Zootopia
  6. The Great Mouse Detective
  7. Home on the Range
  8. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  9. Mulan
  10. Hercules
  11. Alice in Wonderland
  12. Cinderella
  13. Wreck-It Ralph
  14. Bolt
  15. Pocahontas
  16. Dinosaur
  17. The Aristocats
  18. The Princess and the Frog
  19. Robin Hood
  20. Beauty and the Beast
  21. The Three Caballeros
  22. The Fox and the Hound
  23. The Sword in the Stone
  24. Saludos Amigos
  25. Oliver & Company
  26. Aladdin
  27. Treasure Planet
  28. Big Hero 6
  29. A Goofy Movie
  30. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  31. Chicken Little
  32. Fantasia

JOSHUA

Joshua didn’t feel strongly one way or the other here, and placed it around halfway.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. Aladdin
  4. Emperor’s New Groove
  5. Treasure Planet
  6. Moana
  7. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  8. The Three Caballeros
  9. Saludos Amigos
  10. Wreck-It Ralph
  11. Frozen
  12. Mulan
  13. The Princess and the Frog
  14. Robin Hood
  15. Bolt
  16. The Sword in the Stone
  17. Beauty and the Beast
  18. Oliver & Company
  19. Tangled
  20. The Great Mouse Detective
  21. Cinderella
  22. Home on the Range
  23. Pocahontas
  24. A Goofy Movie
  25. The Aristocats
  26. Fantasia
  27. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  28. The Fox and the Hound
  29. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  30. Dinosaur
  31. Hercules
  32. Alice in Wonderland
  33. Chicken Little