Cinderella


1h 16m 1950

Brief Synopsis

Retelling of the fairy tale of the same name. Cinderella, adopted daughter of an upper-class lady, is mistreated in her own home. While her mother and ugly stepsisters are out at the royal ball she gets a surprise visit from a friend.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Mar 4, 1950
Premiere Information
Boston opening: 15 Feb 1950; New York and Chicago openings: 22 Feb 1950
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the fairy tale "Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre" by Charles Perrault in Histoires et contes du temps passé, avec moralities (Paris, 1697).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 16m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,672ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

In a mythical kingdom, Lord Tremaine remarries so that his beloved young daughter Cinderella can have a mother. Tremaine's new wife is a seemingly kind widow with two daughters, Anastasia and Drizella, but after his death, Lady Tremaine's true, greedy nature emerges. Banishing Cinderella to the attic and forcing her to become their servant, Lady Tremaine squanders the family fortune on Anastasia and Drizella. Growing up to be a lovely young woman, Cinderella patiently bears the cruelties of her family while continuing to believe in her dreams and comforting herself with the friendship of her dog Bruno, horse Major and the chateau's mice and birds. One morning, mouse Jaq informs Cinderella that a new mouse has been caught in a trap, and after rescuing the chubby newcomer, Cinderella names him Octavius, or Gus for short. Cinderella then begins her chores while Gus, who calls himself Gus-Gus, listens to Jaq's warnings about Lady Tremaine's evil cat Lucifer. Meanwhile, at the palace, the King is infuriated that his son, Prince Charming, has not yet married. Longing for grandchildren, the King orders the Grand Duke to arrange a ball to celebrate the return of Prince Charming, who is arriving that day after an extended absence. The King hopes that the prince will find a bride if all the maidens in the kingdom are present, and so the Grand Duke begins the preparations. Cinderella is thrilled when an invitation arrives at the chateau, but, knowing that her stepdaughter will outshine Anastasia and Drizella, Lady Tremaine cannily promises that she can attend only if she finishes her work and finds something suitable to wear. Cinderella begins re-fashioning a gown that belonged to her mother, but is interrupted by her stepsisters' excessive demands. Determined to help their friend, the mice and birds labor on the dress, while Jaq and Gus-Gus retrieve a sash and string of beads discarded by Anastasia and Drizella. Lady Tremaine and her daughters keep Cinderella so busy that she cannot work on her dress, and when the coach arrives to take them to the ball, she stoically tells them that she will not be attending. When she retreats to her attic, however, Cinderella is astonished to see that the old dress is ready. Cinderella changes and joins her family as they are leaving, but the jealous Drizella and Anastasia recognize their beads and sash and tear Cinderella's gown to shreds. After the women leave, the broken-hearted Cinderella cries in the garden, but her tears are quieted by the arrival of her Fairy Godmother. Telling the unhappy girl that she is going to the ball, the fairy uses her wand and the magic phrase "bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" to transform a pumpkin into a glorious coach. The mice are then transformed into horses, and Major and Bruno become the coachman and footman. The Fairy Godmother then transforms Cinderella's rags into an exquisite gown, complete with glass slippers. The fairy instructs Cinderella to leave the ball before midnight, at which time the spell will be broken. At the castle, meanwhile, the King watches in frustration as a bored Prince Charming greets his guests, including Drizella and Anastasia. The prince's attention is captured by Cinderella, however, and the King arranges for the couple to be alone. Prince Charming and Cinderella fall in love as they waltz, although they do not know each other's names. Just as the prince is about to kiss his new love, the clock begins to strike twelve and Cinderella flees. Prince Charming and the Grand Duke chase her as she races away but succeed only in finding one of her glass slippers, which fell off during her flight down the grand staircase. Cinderella is in rags again when the final chime is heard, but still has one glass slipper as a souvenir of her magical evening. The next morning, Cinderella overhears Lady Tremaine inform her daughters that no one knows the identity of the girl loved by the prince, and that the King has ordered him to marry whomever the slipper fits. Realizing her sweetheart's identity, and that he is searching for her, Cinderella goes to get her shoe. Seeing the dreamy look on Cinderella's face, Lady Tremaine deduces that she is the mystery woman and locks her in the attic. Just then, the Grand Duke arrives and offers the slipper to Drizella and Anastasia. While the two big-footed women attempt to don the dainty shoe, Jaq and Gus-Gus steal the key to Cinderella's door from Lady Tremaine's pocket. After dragging the heavy key up the stairs to the attic, Jaq and Gus-Gus succeed in freeing their friend despite interference from Lucifer. Before Cinderella can try on the slipper, however, the vindictive Lady Tremaine trips the lackey carrying the slipper and it shatters. The Grand Duke is devastated until Cinderella happily shows him the slipper's mate and dons it. Soon after, Cinderella and the prince are married.

Crew

Edwin Aardal

Animation

Hal Ambro

Character anim

Kenneth Anderson

Story

Dick Anthony

Backgrounds

Mary Blair

Col and styling

Jack Boyd

Effects anim

Homer Brightman

Story

Les Clark

Director anim

Claude Coats

Col and styling

Tom Codrick

Layout

Robert O. Cook

Sound Recording

Merle Cox

Backgrounds

Don Da Gradi

Col and styling

Marie Dasnoit

Secretary

Mack David

Composer

Marc Davis

Director anim

Walt Disney

Presented By

Joseph Dubin

Orchestration

Phil Duncan

Character anim

Norm Ferguson

Director anim

Hugh Fraser

Character anim

Blaine Gibson

Animation

Don Griffith

Layout

Donald Halliday

Film Editor

Jerry Hathcock

Animation

John Hench

Col and styling

Hugh Hennesy

Layout

Winston Hibler

Story

Al Hoffman

Composer

Mike Holoboff

Assistant Director

Ray Huffine

Backgrounds

Ralph Hulett

Backgrounds

Ub Iwerks

Special processes

Ollie Johnston

Director anim

Milt Kahl

Director anim

Ward Kimball

Director anim

Hal King

Character anim

Larry Lansburgh

Assistant Director

Eric Larson

Director anim

Jerry Livingston

Composer

John Lounsbery

Director anim

Don Lusk

Character anim

Brice Mack

Backgrounds

Dan Macmanus

Animation

John Mcmanus

Animation

Josh Meador

Effects anim

Fred Moore

Character anim

George Nicholas

Character anim

Lance Nolley

Layout

Cliff Nordberg

Character anim

Ken O'brien

Character anim

A. Kendall O'connor

Layout

William Peed

Story

Erdman Penner

Story

Charles Philippi

Layout

Thor Putnam

Layout

Harry Reeves

Story

Wolfgang Reitherman

Director anim

Art Riley

Backgrounds

Joe Rinaldi

Story

George Rowley

Effects anim

Ted Sears

Story

Ted Sebern

Assistant Director

Ben Sharpsteen

Prod Supervisor

C. O. Slyfield

Sound Director

Paul Smith

Music Director

Harold J. Steck

Sound Recording

Mac Stewart

Layout

Al Teeter

Music Editor

Frank Thomas

Director anim

Eloise Tobelmann

Secretary

Harvey Toombs

Character anim

Oliver Wallace

Music Director

Judge Whitaker

Character anim

Thelma Witmer

Backgrounds

Marvin Woodward

Character anim

Ruth Wright

Secretary

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Mar 4, 1950
Premiere Information
Boston opening: 15 Feb 1950; New York and Chicago openings: 22 Feb 1950
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the fairy tale "Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre" by Charles Perrault in Histoires et contes du temps passé, avec moralities (Paris, 1697).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 16m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,672ft (8 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Music Original Dramatic Score

1951

Best Score

1950

Best Sound Editing

1951

Articles

Frank Thomas (1912-2004)


Legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas, whose work ranged from such '30s classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to equally acclaimed modern hits like The Rescuers, died on September 8 in his home in Flintridge, California. He had been in declining health since suffering a brain hemorrhage several months ago. He was 92.

He was born on September 5, 1912 in Santa Monica, California. He showed an interest in art and drawing at a very young age, so it came as no surprise when he graduated from Stanford University in 1934 with a degree in art. Soon after, he began work for Walt Disney Studios and did his first animation for the short Mickey's Elephant in 1936, and was one of the key animators for the studios' first, feature-length animated picture, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). His memorable creations of the seven dwarfs offered an emotional sweep and humorous detail to animated characters that audiences had never experienced before, and his career was set.

Thomas' work from this point on would be nothing short of the high watermarks in Disney animation that is justly cherished the world over: the title character in Pinocchio, (1940); Thumper teaching Bambi to skate in Bambi (1941); the wicked stepmother in Cinderella (1950), the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (1951), the terrific fight sequence between Captain Hook and Peter Pan in Peter Pan (1953); the Lady and Rover falling in love over a dish of spaghetti and meatballs in Lady and the Tramp (1955); the three good fairies in Sleeping Beauty (1959); Baloo, Mowgli and Kaa in The Jungle Book (1967); and his final work of Bernard and Bianca in the underrated The Rescuers (1977).

Thomas retired from Disney in early 1978, ending a near 44-year relationship with the studio. With longtime friend, and fellow Disney collaborator Ollie Johnston, they went on to author many fine books about the art of animation, most notably Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life (Hyperian Press, 1978) and The Disney Villain (Hyperion Press, 1993). He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jeanette; sons Thomas, Doug and Gregg; daughter Ann Ayers; and three grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Frank Thomas (1912-2004)

Frank Thomas (1912-2004)

Legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas, whose work ranged from such '30s classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to equally acclaimed modern hits like The Rescuers, died on September 8 in his home in Flintridge, California. He had been in declining health since suffering a brain hemorrhage several months ago. He was 92. He was born on September 5, 1912 in Santa Monica, California. He showed an interest in art and drawing at a very young age, so it came as no surprise when he graduated from Stanford University in 1934 with a degree in art. Soon after, he began work for Walt Disney Studios and did his first animation for the short Mickey's Elephant in 1936, and was one of the key animators for the studios' first, feature-length animated picture, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). His memorable creations of the seven dwarfs offered an emotional sweep and humorous detail to animated characters that audiences had never experienced before, and his career was set. Thomas' work from this point on would be nothing short of the high watermarks in Disney animation that is justly cherished the world over: the title character in Pinocchio, (1940); Thumper teaching Bambi to skate in Bambi (1941); the wicked stepmother in Cinderella (1950), the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (1951), the terrific fight sequence between Captain Hook and Peter Pan in Peter Pan (1953); the Lady and Rover falling in love over a dish of spaghetti and meatballs in Lady and the Tramp (1955); the three good fairies in Sleeping Beauty (1959); Baloo, Mowgli and Kaa in The Jungle Book (1967); and his final work of Bernard and Bianca in the underrated The Rescuers (1977). Thomas retired from Disney in early 1978, ending a near 44-year relationship with the studio. With longtime friend, and fellow Disney collaborator Ollie Johnston, they went on to author many fine books about the art of animation, most notably Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life (Hyperian Press, 1978) and The Disney Villain (Hyperion Press, 1993). He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jeanette; sons Thomas, Doug and Gregg; daughter Ann Ayers; and three grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Surprise. Surprise.
- Mice and Birds
Duh, duh, duh Happy Birthday.
- Gus
You clumsy
- Drizella
You did it on purpose.
- Drizella
It wasn't my fault.
- Anastasia
Girls. Girls. Above all, self-control.
- Stepmother
Lucifee sneaky, jump at you.
- Jaq
Drizella? Drizella.
- Stepmother
Mmm? What?
- Drizella
Get up. Quick, this instant. We haven't a moment to lose. Anastasia? Anastasia. Wake up, Anastasia.
- Stepmother
Huh? Huh, what's the matter?
- Anastasia
Oh, everyone's talking about it. The whole kingdom. He'll be here any minute.
- Stepmother
A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep. In dreams you will lose your heartaches. Whatever you wish for, you keep. Have faith in your dreams, and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.
- Cinderella

Trivia

In both Cinderella (1950) and Sleeping Beauty (1959), the main character's friends surprise her with a new dress, calling out "Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Happy birthday!"

The name of the prince is never revealed.

When Cinderella is singing "Sing, sweet nightengale", three bubbles form the head and ears of Mickey Mouse.

The first fully-developed, feature-length film the studio released after wartime cutbacks forced them to release several "package films" (Melody Time (1948), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), et al). The success of the animation department depended greatly on its success.

Walt turned for the first time to "Tin Pan Alley" song writers, to write the songs. This would later become a recurring theme in Disney animation.

The royal proclamation on the castle gate wall reads: " All loyal subjects of his Imperial Majesty are hereby notified by royal proclamation that in regard to a certain glass slipper, it is upon this day decreed that a quest be instituted throughout the length and breadth of our domain. The sole and express purpose of said quest is as follows to wit: That every single maiden in our beloved Kingdom shall try upon her foot this aforementioned slipper of glass, and should one be found whose foot shall properly fit said slipper, such maiden will be acclaimed the subject of this search and the one and only true love of his Royal Highness, our noble Prince. And said Royal Highness will humbly request the hand of said maiden in marriage to rule with him over all the Land as Royal Princess and future Queen."

Notes

Information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that producer Walt Disney had registered the title Cinderella with the MPPA by 1930, and a modern "making of" documentary about the film, which accompanied its 1995 video release, notes that Disney, who had previously made a 1922 silent short of the story, intended to produce a Silly Symphony based on the fairy tale. The PCA file also contains a letter revealing that the organization had granted a tentative certificate number to the studio for a feature-length Cinderella cartoon in March 1940, and that the studio had to request a more current number when the picture was finished in 1949. According to a December 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item, Sergei Prokofiev's symphonic ballet of Cinderella had been submitted to Disney for consideration by agent Lou Levy. In February 1947, Disney notified Monogram producers the King Brothers that his version of the story had been "in work" for seven years, and that they should "take proper heed" in proceeding with their announced version of the fairy tale, which they were developing from an idea suggested to them by Leo McCarey. Ultimately, Monogram's planned film of Cinderella was not produced.
       Although an earlier Hollywood Reporter news item had announced that Ilene Woods was recording the voice of "Cinderella," a March 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that singer Jeannie McKeon had been "signed to be the voice" of the character. McKeon did not contribute to the completed picture, however. According to a December 24, 1962 Newsweek article, 392 actresses were "turned down" before Woods was selected for the role.
       As noted by contemporary sources, Helene Stanley was the live model used by the artists drawing "Cinderella." She acted out many of the sequences for the animators, who studied her movements and translated them into drawings. According to the studio's video documentary, recording of the characters' voices and songs was completed by the time Stanley and others had acted out the complete story, which was the first time that the studio had filmed an entire story in live action before animating it. The live-action film and photostat frame blowups, with layout designs drawn directly onto them, were then used as guides for the animators responsible for the human figures. Stanley also acted as the model for "Anastasia," according to a July 1950 Chicago Herald American article, while the modern documentary notes that Rhoda Williams was the model for "Drizella" and Eleanor Audley provided the live-action guide for "Lady Tremaine." An October 1949 New York News item reported that one of gangster Mickey Cohen's bodyguards provided the model for "Prince Charming." Modern sources credit the following actors with supplying character voices: June Foray (Lucifer); and Helen Seibert, Lucille Williams, June Sullivan and Clint McCauley (Mice). Cinderella marked the first motion picture work of singer Mike Douglas, who later became a popular television talk show host.
       In late August 1949, Hollywood Reporter stated that Disney had his production staff "on a six-day night-and-day schedule rushing" the film toward completion for "the holiday trade." By late September 1949, Hollywood Reporter noted that background work on the picture had been completed, and that the producer had "laid off forty animation workers who had been brought in to augment the regular crew." According to pressbooks for the picture's re-releases, approximately a million drawings were made during its production.
       According to a program contained in the Walt Disney Archives, the film received its "world preview" on February 13, 1950 during The Cinderella Ball (at which Woods was "Queen"). The ball was held to raise money for The New York Heart Association. The Disney organization experienced some conflict with RKO, its distributor, in Chicago, where RKO wanted to limit Cinderella's run at a prominent theater to two weeks in order to exhibit their Italian-American co-production Stromboli, starring Ingrid Bergman and directed by Roberto Rossellini, for a longer period of time. When the matter was taken to court, a Chicago federal district court judge decreed that Cinderella be allowed the longer exhibition time. Numerous contemporary news items noted that the Disney picture either replaced the controversial Stromboli in particular theaters or exceeded it at the box office. According to a August 28, 1950 Daily Variety article, the picture was dubbed into French, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian for an unusually extensive, sixteen-country foreign premiere to be held on December 25, 1950. In January 1950, Daily Variety reported that Disney was also considering dubbing prints in Japanese and Hindustani.
       Cinderella was the first Disney animated feature film to use a single storyline since the studio's 1942 picture Bambi. In a June 5, 1949 Los Angeles Times article, Disney commented that the production was the "first really postwar picture reflecting our present organization." As reported in a February 13, 1950 Newsweek cover story, the Disney Studio desperately needed Cinderella to be a box office success. Despite attempts to gain capital through "package features" such as Make Mine Music and live action pictures such as Song of the South (see entries below), the studio was still seriously in debt. Cinderella was enormously successful at the box office, and the modern documentary estimates its initial earnings as $7,000,000, making it the sixth highest grossing film of 1950. The studio then recovered financially and was able to return to producing single-story, feature-length animation on a more regular basis as well as expanding its production of live-action subjects. According to modern sources, the sequence in which "Cinderella's" rags are magically transformed into a ball gown by the "Fairy Godmother" was Disney's personal favorite of all the animation done by his studio.
       Cinderella received Academy Award nominations for Best Song for "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Sound. The picture won prizes at the 1950 Venice International Film Festival and the 1951 Berlin Film Festival, and was also named one of the ten best of 1950 by Time. On April 7, 1950, Woods, Audley and Verna Felton recreated their roles for a radio broadcast of the story on the Screen Directors' Playhouse, which was repeated on June 30, 1950. As with many of the Disney animated features, Cinderella has been theatrically re-issued multiple times, and has been a best seller during its releases on home video. In late December 1990, Woods filed a lawsuit against the Disney Studio, claiming that it had violated her original contract by selling Cinderella on home video. Woods, who was paid $2,500 for her services, according to a January 1991 Daily Variety article, sought $20,000,000 in damages and based her suit on a similar action previously filed by Peggy Lee, who contended that her contract for the studio's 1955 animated film The Lady and the Tramp had been violated by video sales. The outcome of Woods's suit is not known.
       Among the many other filmed versions of the fairy tale are Georges Melies' 1899 short Cendrillon (see AFI Catalog. Film Beginnings, 1893-10; A.02670); the 1914 Famous Players' release directed by James Kirkwood and starring Mary Pickford (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.0690); the 1955 M-G-M musical The Glass Slipper, starring Leslie Caron and directed by Charles Walters; and the 1960 Paramount production Cinderfella, starring Jerry Lewis and directed by Frank Tashlin. Televised versions of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical version of the story are the 1957 CBS broadcast, which starred Julie Andrews, Howard Lindsay and Dorothy Stickney; the 1965 CBS broadcast, which starred Lesley Ann Warren, Stuart Damon and Ginger Rogers; and the 1997 ABC broadcast, part of the Wonderful World of Disney series, which starred Brandy, Whitney Houston and Whoopi Goldberg. In 2002, Disney released Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, which was a sequel to the 1949 version. The sequel, directed by John Kafka, was released directly to video and DVD.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter February 1, 1950

Released in United States March 4, 1950

Re-released in United States 1957

Re-released in United States 1973

Re-released in United States 1981

Re-released in United States November 20, 1987

Released in United States on Video October 4, 1988

Re-released in United States on Video October 4, 1995

Released in United States February 15, 1950

"Cendrillon" is the French title.

Re-released in Amsterdam June 28, 1991.

Re-released in Madrid June 21, 1991.

Re-released in Paris April 17, 1991.

Re-released in Athens March 29, 1991.

Re-released in Copenhagen September 27, 1991.

Re-released in Stockholm August 9, 1991.

Re-released in Helsinki August 9, 1991.

Released in United States Winter February 1, 1950

Released in United States March 4, 1950

Re-released in United States 1957

Re-released in United States 1973

Re-released in United States 1981

Re-released in United States November 20, 1987

Released in United States on Video October 4, 1988

Re-released in United States on Video October 4, 1995

Released in United States February 15, 1950 (Premiered in USA February 15, 1950.)