CINDERELLA (1950) – Film Review

With a wicked stepmother (Eleanor Audley) and two jealous stepsisters (Rhoda Williams, Lucille Bliss) who keep her enslaved and in rags, Cinderella (Ilene Woods) stands no chance of attending the royal ball. When her fairy godmother (Verna Felton) appears and magically transforms her reality into a dream come true, Cinderella enchants the handsome Prince Charming at the ball but must face the wrath of her enraged stepmother and sisters when the spell wears off at midnight.

As soon as the picture begins with its joyful scene right down to its beautifully sweet final moments, 1950’s Cinderella is an absolute delight of an animated movie and without a doubt one of the all-time greats in the field. There is a reason why so many filmmakers have done countless remakes and retellings of this classic story – it’s simply amazing and it’s one of the prime examples of a film that’s for everybody.

It doesn’t just pander to children like a lot of animated movies these days do. Sure, if you are a child and you watch this movie, you will probably find a little more enjoyment in it than somebody who is in their twenties or thirties, but even still, Cinderella has a magic quality to it that is hard to resist.

Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

It’s songs are highly influential and extremely easy to sing along to and will certainly be stuck in your head for a long time after hearing them. Disney songs in the modern era are absolutely wonderful like “Let It Go” from Frozen or “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, but I’ll always hold a very special place in my heart for the old-school Disney songs like “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” from this film, and one of my all-time favorites, “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” from the 1998 animated Mulan.

But one of the most surprising elements to Cinderella is just how miraculous the animation is. Obviously technology today is far more advanced than it was in the fifties, but that doesn’t change the fact that the animation on display in Cinderella is absolutely marvelous. Every character has emotion and depth in the way they speak and move. None of it feels choppy or half-done. For a movie that was released sixty years ago, it looks absolutely incredible.

Cinderella is a very light watch. It’s not even a full hour and thirty minutes long, but surprisingly, that doesn’t really strike me as a flaw, because the film as a whole is so well structured and so well told. Simply put, all seventy-four minutes of Disney’s Cinderella are pure magic.

Overall Grade: A+

MPAA Rating: G

Cast: Ken Anderson, Perce Pearce, Homer Brightman, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Harry Reeves, Joe Rinaldi, Ted Sears, Maurice Rapf

Directed by: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson

Distributed by: RKO Radio Pictures

Release Date: March 4, 1950

Running Time: 74 minutes

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