A shapeshifting Cinderella – facts about Disney’s most iconic princess
Although the original Disney’s “Cinderella” animated movie dates back to 1950, the character remains one of the most recognized Disney character ever made. Don’t let the age fool you; Cinderella still makes the front page! On another note, delve into a few hard facts about Cinderella that will make go “Wow, I didn’t know that!”
There are approximately a thousand versions of Cinderella across the globe, and all of them tell the story of a young, oppressed girl who escapes her condition by marrying a prince. Disney version is adapted after Charles Perrault’s tale published in the 17th century. Walt Disney chose this version of the folktale due to it being the most child-friendly. Other versions contain details which younger audience will most likely find disturbing. Thus, in Brothers’ Grimm (German writers) version of the tale, Cinderella does not have a Fairy Godmother but instead goes to a tree that grows on her deceased mother’s grave to cry.
Speaking of Brothers Grimm, they are responsible for the gory bits of the folktale. According to their version of the story, one of Cinderella’s stepsister cuts her toes off to fit the slipper and marry the prince. The Prince finds out about this when a seagull notices blood on the stepsister’s foot.
One of the first films in history is Cinderella, of course! The first movie adaptation of the tale belongs to George Melies – a French illusionist and director – and dates back to 1899. It is black and white and has no sound, yet the piano sounds splendid.
Disney added more characters to the story; one of the characters added by Disney animators is Lucifer. He is part of the characters that were introduced to appeal to the younger audience. Few people know, however, that Lucifer was animated after one of movie creator’s cat. Upon a visit to his house, Walt Disney noticed the cat – Feetsy – and decided that his grumpy look will fit the movie perfectly.
Animating before drawing
Walt Disney was very keen on the details of his animated movies. He considered that motion of the subjects in the frame is as important as the story. This is why “Cinderella” was shot in live motion before the illustrators started drawing. This gave the illustrator a better understanding of their subjects. As with other animated movies, Cinderella was drawn with a real actress as a reference. Thus, Helene Stanley was the reference actress for Cinderella and Princess Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty”. Oh, not to mention that the digital had not yet started in the 20th century, and each frame of the movie was drawn by hand!
The music was nominated for Academy Awards. Whenever one thinks of a Disney movie, it is always the music that comes to mind first. “Cinderella” has plenty of music, which plays as the story develops. The music was so good and fit the tone of the tale so well that it got nominated for Academy Awards in three categories – best scoring of a musical picture, best sound recording, and the best song. The best song nomination was “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”, sang by Ilene Woods. Curiously enough, when the song was first recorded the actress didn’t even know she was auditioning for a movie!
Cinderella saved Disney! Actually, she did! If it wasn’t for the success of this animated movie, “Cinderella” could be the last film Disney ever released. At the time of the production of “Cinderella”, the studio was over 4$ million in debt and very close to bankruptcy. Due to effort and belief in their dream, after more than two years of production, “Cinderella” was released on February 15, 1950. Luckily for Disney studio, the movie became the greatest critical and commercial hit in studio’s lifetime thus far. As selected by the American Film Institute, “Cinderella” is one of the greatest animated films in the history.