Monday, April 11, 2011

Cinderella: A Never Ending Story

by Ashley Coates

The Cinderella story is perhaps the quintessential fairy tale. Her story is the most succinct and direct road from a life of poverty and neglect to a life of privilege and royalty. And maybe that’s one of the reasons that there are so many versions of her story—because at its core, it has a very simple plotline.
And now that I’m playing this iconic character, it got me thinking about all the different Cinderella stories I’ve seen and read, so I decided to make a list of my top 5 favorite movie versions of the story. And here they are:

Ever After (Twentieth Century Fox )
I’ll start with my favorite: The 1998 film Ever After staring Drew Barrymore. I love this female-empowered telling of the classic tale. Drew Barrymore is a very grounded and honest Cinderella, and Anjelica Huston is my favorite wicked stepmother of all-time. She’s cold and malicious, and then she has this beautiful moment of vulnerability. The scenery and costumes are gorgeous, and I love that in this magic-less version, Cinderella’s fairy godmother is replaced by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Glass Slipper (MGM)
My sister and I used to watch this version at our grandma’s house. This film was made in 1955 and stared the French ballet dancer Leslie Caron. She plays a very rough Cinderella (one with a very thick French accent I might add), and at times the look in her eyes is almost menacing. But that’s before she transforms into the cleaned-up ball gown Cinderella, of course. There are some beautiful dance sequences in this film, and her hoop skirts are awesomely enormous.
Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella – 1965 (CBS)

How could you talk about well-known Cinderella stories without talking about Rogers & Hammerstein? They wrote this musical specifically for Julie Andrews, who stared in the live televised broadcast in 1957. However, I grew up watching the 1965 remake with Leslie Ann Warren. I think I tried sporting a folded bandana in my hair for a while after seeing this movie. I couldn’t quite pull it off the way she did.

Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella – 1997 (Walt Disney Television)
What do Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander and Brandy have in common? The answer would be the 1997 remake of the remake of R&H’s Cinderella. And what’s not to love? Cinderella and her fairy godmother are pop stars, Victor Garber and Whoopi Goldberg are husband and wife, and Bernadette Peters is Bernadette Peters. The design is so colorful and fun, and Brandy’s blue eye shadow matches her ball gown perfectly. So there you go.
Disney’s Cinderella (Walt Disney Productions)

And then you have the classic Disney full-length animated feature. I still remember when my mom bought this movie on VHS and brought it home as a surprise. I was so excited. I had only seen it in the movie theater before that, and now I had my very own copy to watch whenever I wanted. Plus, you can sing along to a movie much louder in your house than you can in a movie theater.

And to see yet another version of the Cinderella story as well as variations on many classic fairy tales, you should come see Into the Woods at Seattle Musical Theatre, opening Friday April 29. Your favorite characters will cross paths, and their classic stories will extend beyond Happily Ever After.

1 comment:

  1. I would have loved to see the Jerry Lewis classic Cinderfella (1960) on the list. Well worth it for fabulous character actor Ed Wynn as the fairy godfather, and Joe Williams singing with the Count Basie Orchestra, if nothing else.