Movie Review: CINDERELLA (1950)
So I realize that this is a random movie review from me today… but just go with it. I recently caught this, and felt I could say one or two words about it. I’m also foregoing a rating, because this pseudo review isn’t in depth enough to be attached to a rating. An animated movie from over 50 years ago, which has had such a long lasting impact on popular culture, children of all ages and storytelling in general… I give you… CINDERELLA!
This is the quintessential and probably the first ever ‘princess story’ with the happy ending and all. I’m not an expert, but this movie can probably be attributed to the notion of happy endings in general, not to mention the entire phenomenon of every little girl wanting to be a princess. Not CINDERELLA directly, but everything that’s been inspired from this movie.
I doubt a recounting of the synopsis is necessary for this, of all movies, however I’ll oblige. The movie itself has the title character of Cinderella, a kind and gentle girl with a horrible Step Mother paired with two even worse Step Sisters, and her story of ever lasting happiness. Cinderella is treated horribly by her family, more of a servant than a relative, her only friends being the animals around her… a Disney staple.
The animals actually provide a lot of the sweet and funnier moments of the film. The rivalry between the evil cat and the group of mice… it’s pretty good and engaging, despite spending a lot of time with something irrelevant to the story, but this was the 50’s, so it’s fine!
What surprised me was how little of the actual story we know is featured in this. We all know Cinderella is basically everyone’s bitch. There’s a Ball (see extravagantly unnecessary party) and she can’t go, so a Fairy Godmother (whose origins are never explained) appears out of nowhere and gives Cinderella the ultimate Makeover of TLC proportions!
Cinderella gets her groove back with the Prince, of all dudes, then runs out before the magic wears off, leaves her glass slipper behind (which, conveniently, doesn’t disappear with everything else) and the Prince finds her using said slipper, as it’s glass so will fit a specific foot only. Or so I suppose.
It’s a well known story. But I was surprised how long it took to get to the Prince, Ball, Godmother moments. The movie spent almost 35-40 mins just with comic relief of the mice, songs with the birds and animals, etc. Considering the movie is only 74 minutes long, that’s a huge chunk. And once everything gets going, it wraps up pretty quickly too.
Maybe my perception as a kid watching this is different than as an adult, as I’m now de-sensitized to 3+ hour long Bollywood extravaganzas! But CINDERELLA definitely seems a lot shorter and full of unnecessary story elements than I remember.
However, it is a classic, completely for the happy ending elements. Storytelling at this time was simpler, especially considering this was an animated movie. In those days, the Animated films were solely for children and weren’t as layered or intricately told as, let’s say the more recent BRAVE.
I’m not a fan of CINDERELLA, because of the message it impresses upon young girls, needing the magical forces of a man to help them overcome hardships in their lives. However, I understand that since the time of CINDERELLA, my thoughts are more of a reflection of the times we live in now, than any shortcoming of the movie itself.
It IS a classic and will probably remain so. CINDERELLA is well told classic of an era long forgotten.