Movies Galore takes a look at the Cinderella Film Legacy:1899 – present

Written by David Strege

 images-93

CINDERELLA

The (Not Quite) Full List of All Cinderella Movies Ever Made

With the release of the new Cinderella live-action retelling, it’s important to take a step back and understand some of the history behind this age-old story.

Now I Have Traced the story even further back to possible a variable of the tale to king Nebuchanezzar 2nd of Babylon, yes the same mentioned in the bible or to King Psammetichus in Aelian a Pharaoh of Egypt. It is possible that the origins of Cinderella are related to Aesop a Samian Slave and poet of fables. A Story is told of a Greek Courtesan of thracian decent named Rhodopis was enslaved by the same slave owner Ladmon of the island of Samos. It’s been said aesop and Rhodopis were freinds, also could have had an affair this being said Rhodopis was the then sold to Xanthes also a Samian and moved her to Naucratis, Egypt it is after this the tale was spun: while Rhodopis was bathing a maid who was carrying her shoes/sandals not sure which I’ve seen both referenced; an eagle flew out of the sky took these Shoes/sandals and carried them to Memphis while the king was in war counsel dropped them in his lap.  He then exclaimed these are the most beautiful pair of shoes/slippers I’ve ever seen I must find owner, then he found Rhodopis in Naucratis and married her.

Another tale tells of a merchant named Charaxus brother to the Lyric poet Sappho, fell in love with Rhodopis and ransomed her from slavery for quite a large sum. Later brother/poet Sappho denounced in poem referring to Rhodopis real name as Doricha claiming she’d robbed Charaxus of his property.  Rhodopis/Doricha was also rumored to have built the 3rd pyramid in Giza but so was legendary Egyptian queen Nitocris. I has also been rumored that Nitocris and Rhodopis are one and the same.  Another tale is of a Babylon Ian queen of the same name similarities are there…

440px-Aspasie_Pio-Clementino_Inv272

So in my findings it’s possible Doricha was the name of the origin of the story of cinderella.  The name Cinderella derives from the Greek word Cenerentola, Cenere in italian, tchenere, meaning ash or cinder.  Servants or Scullion maids were usually soiled or dirty due to cleaning and or living in basements close to the fireplace. As to the first written tale of the story of Cinderella was put together in a book called Pentamarone by Giambattista Basile under the pseudonym Gian Alessio Abbetutis between 1634 – 1636 bc later to be adapted by Charles Perrault, and the Brothers Grimm.  Other faerie tales adapted by Basile Were Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel & Gretel, and Puss in Boots.

page1-400px-Lo_cunto_de_li_cunte_-_Tomo_II.djvu

The Biblical connection is that which the Egyptian queen Nitocris might have been the wife or daughter of Nedachunezzar 2nd of Babylon.  Though it’s a wonder why no Pharoah of Egypt ever recorded the name Nitocris in anything related to the 6th dynasty of egypt. Hmmmm…

History has shown a fond interest in the generational retelling of great stories, fables and fairy tales, and Cinderella is just the next in a long-line of successful refreshes of classic tales. A quick search of previous Cinderella movies leads to the conclusion that this refresh might be slightly different from most, as theIMDb page alone credits over 100 previous attempts at retelling the story, or tailoring it to fit new audiences, or generations.

Going all the way back to 1899, this series has certainly made its mark on society, and while all “Cinderella” movies on the IMDb page certainly aren’t fairy tales, or even all that true to the original story, it’s amazing at just how many times this classic has been reworked to fit a (at the time) modern audience. In addition, several others have drawn inspiration from the classic tale in an attempt to spin the story in a slightly different direction, such as 1998’s Ever After: A Cinderella Story.

2015-09-21-11-29-00-287043628

Being that the titles to choose from are far too numerous for a single piece, we’ll instead focus on some of the most popular or historically significant adaptations.

images-199

Cinderella (1899)

The first credited (short) film in the history of the story was a French piece produced by Georges Melies. The film met with little critical review and was deemed a complete failure at the time.

Cinderella (1911)

Also by Melies in 1911, the story met with slightly more praise and featured Florence La Badie as the leading lady. The silent film was a hit with audiences although critical reviews varied greatly.

Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1922 & 1950)

cinderellamovies2

The first animated feature in the series was a Laugh-O-Gram piece produced by Walt Disney in 1922. The film was released on December 6, and ran a total of 7 minutes.

In 1950, Disney re-imagined the original animated feature, and released their own version without the assistance from Laugh-O-Gram. This release is the version that most of us grew up with, and is widely considered to be a Disney classic, and one of their most well known film adaptations. Later Sequels animated after this were Cinderella 2, and 3.

The Glass Slipper (1955)

2015-09-21-11-33-04--817451996

The Glass Slipper was released at the height of the musical craze in the 1950s. This adaptation, made by MGM, was directed by Charles Waters and produced by Edwin H. Kopf, featuring music from Bronislau Kaper, who also received acclaim for his scoring of the MGM retelling of the classic Mutiny on the Bounty.

Cinderella (1957, 1965 & 1997)

2015-09-21-11-35-21-1435699627

After its musical adaptation, Rodgers and Hammerstein had their go at a remake (their first of three) in 1957. This made-for-television film featured Julie Andrews as Cinderella and was the most successful adaptation to date. The 1957 version boasted the largest audience in history (at the time of its premiere) with a total of 107,000,000 people having seen the film. To put that into perspective, that was a full 60 percent of the population in the United States at the time.

2015-09-21-11-35-38-1580121892

In 1965, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was again produced and released as a direct-to-television film, this time starring an 18-year-old Lesley Ann Warren in the leading role. This film was re-broadcast (in color) annually for the next 10 years.

2015-09-21-11-36-01--1404395926

The 1997 remake of the 1955 and 1965 films featured Brandy Norwood (the first Cinderella of color), Whitney Houston, Jason Alexander and Whoopi Goldberg. The musical was well received by viewers with this direct-to-television release boasting over 60 million viewers during its initial broadcast. Critics, however, were rather lukewarm.

MV5BMTM0ODA3Nzg4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDk0MzY5._V1_UX180_CR0,0,180,180_AL_

CINDERFELLA – 1960

“Cinderfella” was Jerry Lewis’ answer to the classic Cinderella story. And he intended it to be a masterpiece. To say that it fell somewhat short of it’s goal is putting it mildly, but it’s not bad.

The plot is, of course the familiar story, with a few (expected) variations. When his father dies, poor Fella (Lewis) is left at the mercy of his snobbish stepmother (Judith Anderson) and her two no-good sons, Maximilian (Henry Silva) and Rupert (Robert Hutton). As he slaves away for his nasty step-family, Maximilian and Rupert attempt to find a treasure Fella’s father has supposedly hidden on the estate. Meanwhile, hoping to restore her dwindling fortunes, the stepmother plans a fancy ball in honor of the visiting Princess Charmein (Anna Maria Alberghetti) whom she hopes will marry Rupert. Eventually, Fella’s Fairy Godfather (Ed Wynn) shows up to convince him that he has a shot at winning the Princess himself. Lewis had big plans for the film’s release. Although it was completed in January of 1960, he insisted it make it’s debut that Christmas, complete with a holiday campaign and record album tie-in. In the meantime, he produced and starred in a low budget item called “The Bellboy” in order for Paramount to have a Jerry Lewis movie for summer release. “Cinderfella” was given a lavish production and a formidable supporting cast was recruited to co star with Lewis. He was indeed fortunate to obtain the services of Judith Anderson, who, while not a performer one would expect in a Jerry Lewis film, was nevertheless excellent as the stepmother, bringing just the right touch of arrogance to the part. Ed Wynn is reliably daffy as the Fairy Godfather,though, due to severe editing, he disappears before the climax, and is not seen again. Silva and Hutton do what they can as the stepbrothers, but the beautiful Alberghetti has nothing to do but fall hopelessly in love with the hapless Fella. The pace of the film is somewhat choppy, and several critics pointed out that the editing had left voids in the plot. The film originally ran 99 minutes, it ended up at 88. Sure enough, it was released at Christmastime, when it inspired some of the most scathing critical comment ever bestowed on a Lewis picture. Most of this was devoted to Lewis’ own performance, and his frequent mugging, mixed with his pathetic attempts to play for sympathy. “Cinderfella” did just O.K. at the box office, and it ended up well behind the modest “Bellboy” which was a box-office smash. Thanks to handsome sets (with exteriors filmed at the “Beverly Hillbillies” estate in Bel Air, CA), costumes and a pleasant (if unmemorable) score, “Cinderfella” is entertaining enough to get by. But you’d better be prepared for a lot of “singing/mugging” from the Producer/Star, who fancied himself a brilliant vocalist. After all, though, this is SUPPOSED to be a fairy tale!

2015-09-21-11-41-19--651972876

In 1976 Richard Chamberlain Reprised the Role of Prince Charming in The Slipper and the Rose alongside Gemma Craven. Filmed in England the Sherman brothers who’ve worked for Disney before in lyrics department are behind this cult favorite and possibly one of the best versions of the Cinderella tale.

2015-09-21-12-59-57-914144142

unlike films such as “Lady Chatterly’s Lover,” a group of films turned toward even older and even more sacred texts: fairy tales. Several different production houses released erotic fairytale films during this period, including this 1977 version of Cinderella. While not the first (or the last), this film stands head and shoulders above the others.

Using the well-known rags-to-riches story of Cinderella as its base, this film creates a surprisingly effective result in both erotica and satire. The momentum of the film is suitably id-based; that is, every time a situation arises in which ribaldry might occur, it most certainly does. Cinderella’s stepsisters prance around half-naked and demand Cinderella to run a cleverly devised spinning wheel for their pleasure. The Lord Chamberlain delivers invitations for the great ball to the lovely women of the village, acquitting himself at every opportunity. And of course, the prince finally must go to every hovel and reveal which fair maiden had been the best “fit” the night of his blindfolded orgy. The material basically writes itself.

But what sets this film apart is its wry take on the whole situation. It never forgets that this is a revisionist telling of the tale, and other earmarks besides the sex appear in the form of vaudevillian dialogue and references to the swinging disco lifestyle that was popular at the time. The music of the film is wonderfully dated and, had the subject matter been toned down a bit, could have easily overtaken “Le Freak” on the pop charts. And certainly we cannot forget Sy Richardson’s hilarious performance (later retread for “Fairytales”) as the Fairy Godmother with an attitude strictly from black exploitation films of the 70’s.

images-112

The producers of this film made a wise decision to keep its sexual level strictly softcore, a decision with which the makers of the earlier “Alice in Wonderland” seemed to have great difficulty. Full pornography would have caused the film to lose its fun-loving heart, which ultimately is its most redeeming feature.

The other erotic fairy tale films, including the aforementioned “Alice,” as well as the later “Fairytales,” and the horrid “Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio,” attempt the same feat, with less success. “Alice” is too choppy and just plain dopey, “Fairytales” has its moments but fails to capture the spirit of “Cinderella.”

Ever After (1998)

2015-09-21-11-29-00-287043628

Ever After was the most successful re-telling of the original story with significant adaptations to the original storyline. This storyline, deemed a post-feminist take on the original, was met with warm reception by both critics and theater goers.

Another Cinderella Story (2008)

2015-09-21-12-24-41-1851500413images-108cinderellamovies4

Another Cinderella Story was a modern re-telling of the original featuring the likes of Selena Gomez and Drew Seely. This version was retold as a modern story that was deemed as more of a romantic comedy and a thematic sequel to the 2004 film, A Cinderella Story, which was widely hated by both fans and critics. The follow-up was met with praise, which led to a third release in the (unconnected) series titled, “A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song,” which was also deemed a flop by critics and moviegoers.

 images-260

Often when thinking of Cinderella they seem to not remember the Broadway Stage adaptation of Stephen Sondheims Stage musical production from 1999 Into The Woods.

2015-09-21-12-30-49-1512558685

Directed by Robert Marshall,

This musical was all about mixing many of our brothers Grimm modern fairy tales up in a wicked twist of how they began their journeys and ended them all on trips through the woods.

Bernadette Peters with her high screachy annoying voice with her comedy pull of the wicked witch in the story but also Cinderella played by Joanna Gleeson I believe is a main character through out the tale as well meaning remains current.

2015-09-21-12-28-49-1616915039

 In 2014 Robert Marshall also Directed Walt Disney’s version of Into The Woods With Johnny Depp as the wolf and Maryl Streep as the witch but Cinderella is still a character the film uses through the story as a main character.

cinderella0013

Disney’s Cinderella Panoramic in retrospect this is the most recent adaptation of the story.  Directed by Kenneth Branagh, staring Cate Blanchett, Lilly James, and Richard Madden the scenery is magnificent and what a coach!

Lily James is Cinderella in Disney's live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, CINDERELLA, which brings to life the timeless images in Disney's 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually-dazzlling spectacle for a whole new generation.
Lily James is Cinderella in Disney’s live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, CINDERELLA, which brings to life the timeless images in Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually-dazzlling spectacle for a whole new generation. I enjoyed the film’s and the legacies of Cinderella what about you…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s