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!"