The Story that is Cinderella

Ah don’t we all know about the smashing servant girl who fits into the glass slipper and lives happily ever after.

Saw Disney’s 2015 “Cinderella” at the Alamo Drafthouse today. Their pre-show had a bunch of little animated shorts based off of Cinderella. It made me think of how cliche this story actually is. Its one of the most famous Grimm fairy tales of all time, wouldn’t you agree? Then I started thinking how many movies have been made about Cinderella. Then I went home and researched Cinderella. So let’s talk some Cinderella.


1899: The first movie to come out about this old folk tale was a 5 minute live-action flick made by George Méliès, a French filmmaker. Called (wait for it) “Cinderella”. It was considered a huge failure after it was released and didn’t go very far, as it had very little critique. Give it a watch and you’ll appreciate modern filmmaking. Turn on your iTunes too because it has no sound.

I’m sorry. But that’s funny.

1911: “Cinderella” starring Florence La Badie as the servant girl. A 15-minute U.S film by George Nichols. Its also a silent film. Its sort of difficult to watch–more like a play than a movie since there’s no sound. But La Badie makes a beautiful Cinderella…in a Wild West show maybe.


1922: Enter Walt Disney, who made a cute little Cinderella short as he just started out his career in movie-making. It’s a Laugh-O-Gram piece that is, what do you know, silent. Just watch a little bit; you don’t have to watch the whole thing. You’ll smile I promise–sounds like a Charlie Chaplin flick.

1950: Then in 1950, Disney’s company was in major debt. He poured all his money into one last animated feature in hopes that he’d get another chance at life. And he got it! The “Cinderella” we all know is one of his most famous pieces. Its still one of the most beloved Disney movies of all little girls. Perfect porcelain skin, tiny feet, enchanting voice…I mean who doesn’t love “Sing Sweet Nightingale” and “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”???

ella gif

1957: Seven years later, thanks to Rodgers and Hammerstein, we have the most successful Cinderella story to-date. Featuring Julie Andrews as Cinderella, this musical written for television captured the hearts of 60% of Americans during that time. It was truly a success, as it boasted the largest audience in history. Why was it so amazing? So many popular actors and actresses of that time we’re in this musical: Andrews, Howard Lindsay, Jon Cypher, Ilka Chase, Edie Adams…and the score was filled with so many songs that we don’t see in newer editions of Cinderella. “Stepsisters’ Lament”? Come on, I even want to hear that one.

Beautiful Julie Andrews <3
                 Beautiful Julie Andrews ❤

1997: Here’s an interesting one. A Cinderella movie with African-American actors, (the first of its kind). Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, and Whoopi Goldberg starred in this direct-to-television broadcast with over 60 million views on the original air date. (Whitney Houston was the fairy godmother by the way, in case you were wondering.)

brandy and whitney
Brandy Norwood and Whitney Houston

2008: “Ever After” of course is today’s most popular adaption of the Cinderella story. A mash-up, but a good watch and brilliant storytelling. Starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott, I’m sure most have you have at least heard of it.


2015: And now we’ve come to Disney’s newest creation: “Cinderella”. Live action, starring a Downtown Abbey slut and a Game of Thrones perv.


Oh you know I’m joking. It was the same old story, with the addition of a few things from the original tale, and the same old happy ending. I was actually really happy they developed an actual relationship between Cinderella and the Prince. That seemed more realistic.


Cinderella was called “Ella” for the majority of the movie, which was refreshing. The costumes and colors, especially on the stepmother and stepsisters–gasp. Very well done.

Casting and acting…it was decent. Lily James (star from Downtown Abbey) proved herself to actually be a good actor. Pleasant surprise. Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter were quite rightfully cast. (They never cease to please me. I can’t get over how much I love Carter in this movie).

There you have it! A [brief] history of Cinderella movies. Obviously there are many more, but these just give you an idea of how far this movie+filmmaking has come. Thank the Lord for digital.

Feeling accomplished [for looking up so many Cinderella movies],

J.L. Cordova


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