Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cinderella (1950)

I don't think there are too many people around, over the age of 5 or 6 years old, who don't know the story of Cinderella. It's a classic fairytale and has that status nowadays almost as much due to this Disney movie as to the enduring source material.

I had known of this film for many years but, as is sometimes the way, I'd never seen it. When I was young I went out of my way to seek out more boy-friendly fare. I mean, what young boy wants to see a film about a girl wanting to meet a prince when there's a chance to watch The Goonies instead? Not me, that was for sure. Which is a shame because I've now, at long last, seen this movie and fallen in love with it.

The usual number of directors and writers are involved, adapting the tale by Charles Perrault, and the usual quality shines through in every frame as we watch Cinderella look after her horrible stepmother and step-sisters and get her hopes up when the announcement is made that there's going to be a fancy ball at the palace. Things don't really look good for poor old Cinders, who at least has the friendship of many of the animals around her (the mice and a dog, anyway), but it only takes a little Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo to turn things around.

I think the best word I can use to describe Cinderella is "lovely" but then most people will just think that I'm being polite. So I'll say that it's "really lovely". Once this movie begins you are transported into the onscreen world and invited to watch a wonderful collection of characters, both human and non-human. It's an absolute delight from start to finish. The voice cast is good, if unmemorable when not singing one of the wonderful musical moments, but the real asset that the movie has is the sheer quality and care of the animation and characterisations. I actually forgot I was watching a cartoon for most of this film, which doesn't happen all that often. It's a beautiful gem, a deserving jewel in Disney's crown, and feels like an extra special treat after the numerous "package films" that Disney was forced to release during  the 1940s.

If you think you know this film because you've seen so many clips of it and you can sing along with the most memorable song then I implore you to actually watch the whole thing and get to know it properly.



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