Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary Cinderella!

Cinderella, released to theaters on February 15, 1950 by RKO Radio Pictures, celebrates its anniversary today! Made on the cusp between the classic golden age Disney animations of the 1930's and 1940's and the more critically acclaimed productions of the late 1900's, Cinderella is representative of both eras.

Cinderella was the first full-bodied feature produced by the studio since Bambi in 1942; World War II and low box office returns had forced Walt Disney to produce a series of inexpensive package films such as Make Mine Music and Fun and Fancy Free for the 1940's.

Rotoscoping was used extensively to keep animation costs down. According to Laryn Dowel, one of the directing animators of the film, roughly 90% of the movie was done in live action model before animation, using basic sets as references for actors and animators alike. Both Helene Stanley (Cinderella's live action model) and Ilene Woods heavily influenced Cinderellas' styling and mannerisms. Mike Douglas was the Prince's singing voice while William Phipps acted the part. Actress Helene Stanley was the live-action model for the title role and would be so again for Sleeping Beauty and Anita Radcliff in One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

For the first time, Walt turned to Tin Pan Alley song writers to write the songs. The music of Tin Pan Alley would later become a recurring theme in Disney animation. Cinderella was the first Disney film to have its songs published and copyrighted by the newly created Walt Disney Music Company. Before movie soundtracks became marketable, movie songs had little residual value to the film studio that owned them and were often sold off to established music companies for sheet music publication.

Walt Disney had not had a huge hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The production of this film was regarded as a major gamble on his part. At a cost of nearly $3,000,000, Disney insiders claimed that if this movie had failed at the box office, then Disney studio would have closed (given that the studio was already heavily in debt). The film was successful and allowed Disney to carry on producing films throughout the 1950's.

Trivia:
  • Ilene Woods beat exactly 309 girls for the part of Cinderella, after some demo recordings of her singing a few of the film's songs were presented to Walt Disney. However, she had no idea she was auditioning for the part until Disney contacted her; she initially made the recordings for a few friends who sent them to Disney without telling her.
  • The transformation of Cinderella's torn dress to that of the white ball gown was considered to be Walt Disney's favorite piece of animation.
  • Not only is the name of the prince never revealed, he is nowhere in the film mentioned as "Prince Charming".
  • Lucifer was modeled after animator Ward Kimball's cat. Animators were having trouble coming up with a good design for that cat, but once Walt Disney saw Kimball's furry calco he declared, "There's your Lucifer."
  • 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!"
Featured in this blog entry is Cinderella ("Oh, Thank You So Much!") sculpted by Rafaello Vecchione, an Open Edition Release. Other WDCC releases from this film can be seen in the Cinderella Image Gallery section of the website.

4 comments:

disneyprincess27 said...

This is my favorite movie of all time, I'm a huge Cinderella fan!!Last year my fiance proposed to me in Cinderella's castle and the ring was presented in a personalized glass slipper in which my fiance asked me to be his princess.

Thanks Duckman for providing the clips courtesy of youtube, its great. Are these the same clips that the dvd shows you? I can't seem to remember.

I have the figurine posted in the picture but I was a little disappointed at first with the piece, I would have liked it better if her eyes were open, although you can tell how happy she is but if they would have captured her face when she said those famous lines you would have seen a better appreciation for what the mice have done for her. I wonder if they will come out with any other Cinderella pieces?

Duckman said...

Congratulations Disneyprincess! Cinderella is my wife's favorite film as well. Will you have a Cinderella-themed wedding?

Not sure if the clips I included from YouTube.com are on the DVD or not. Hate to admit, haven't watched any of the extras as of yet. Hopefully they are. Thought it was great documentary on the making of the film.

I don't have that particular sculpture in my collection. Like you, would have preferred her eyes open. I'm sure given the popularity of the film, we'll be seeing more from Cinderella. Anything in particular you would like to see done?

disneyprincess27 said...

Good morning, Duckman:
I had a Cinderella themed engagement party so I'm not going to do it for the wedding, but I will incorporate some Cinderella stuff in, for ex: I have the caketopper (the latest wdcc cake topper) and the champagne flutes that I got in Disney World.

There are alot of pieces that I would like to be made: Gosh, where do I begin:

-Cinderella in pink dress with pearls on right before the step sisters tore it apart. It would be cool if Lady Tremaine was also made for this piece when she has the beads in her hands- and say "these beads are just the right fit"
- Prince Charming's father- the king
- Cinderella's horse
- Cinderella dressed in rags holding laundry on her head and breakfast in both hands
- The King and Grand Duke, when the grand duke was kneeling right before the king and the king puts the sword on his shuolder and asked what would you like to me called and the duke replies, sir she got away.

What pieces would you like to see from Cinderella?

Duckman said...

Hi Disneyprincess,

I think a great job has been done with Cinderella thus far but wouldn't mind seeing the following added:

King-always liked the moment after he picks up her shoe on the steps, where she leans down and kisses him on the forehead.

Opening Sequence-a young Cinderella with her Father at the fountain with Lady Tremaine and a young Drizella and Anastasia at her side.