Firstly, why is the rhyme ‘Cinderella, dressed in yella?’ Why not something like ‘with hair of yella.’ It makes more sense – she was dressed in BLUE! – and it rhymes – my rhyming skills have improved with copious viewings of Charmed. I’m digressing but it seriously bothered me from the opening titles.
So, now to backtrack – when I watched it over the summer, it was my first time. I was only ever familiar with the Rogers and Hammerstien production that starred Brandi, Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg, Victor Garber and Jason Alexander (among others). Now it is winter and I am FINALLY getting a chance to put these thoughts down on… screen.
So, yes, I watched the 1950’s original Cinderella. And all I could really think about it was that it was some seriously dark. One scene in particular really grabbed my attention. Cindy’s evil stepmother tells her that if she can finish ALL the housework before the ball, she can go. And Cinderella does it, despite the ever growing list of things to get done, she gets it done with the help of her mice friends. Meanwhile, some of the mice decide to help Cinderella out in a different way: they find her mother’s dress and alter it so that Cinderella can wear it to the ball. They take bits and pieces from the evil stepsisters and create a beautiful gown.
So Cinderella is dressed and ready for the ball and goes downstairs. Her sisters launch at her, literally ripping the clothes from her back. The scene goes black save for the image of Cinderella and her sisters arms. Not just visually dark but atmospherically dark.
Also, can you say sexist? There is one moment in the dressmaking scene where one of the female mice tells a male one that dressmaking is no place for him… Well, you should tell that to Karl Lagerfeld…
Overall, a really great movie that I’m glad I watched when I was grown up as opposed to watching it when I was little.