Review by Michael Jacobson
Ilene Woods, William Phipps, Verna Felton 2, 2012
Directors: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi
Audio: DTS HD 7.1
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Walt Disney
Features: See Review
Length: 76 Minutes
Release Date: October
matter how your heart is grieving,
you keep on believing,
dream that you wish will come true."
earliest movie going memory, and the experience that showed me at a tender age
just how magical and musical a motion picture can be. (For the record, no, I was NOT around for the original 1950
theatrical release, thank you.)
was on a double bill with One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, one of the
very WORST of Disney pictures. I
can remember deciding to sleep until Cinderella finally flickered on the
first memory of it was the incredible song "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart
Makes". Absolutely beautiful,
with a melody both lilting and haunting, it captivated my seven year old ears,
and remains one of my all time favorite songs to this date. It's also a tune I frequently consider when I think about
what got me into the field of music.
was the perfect opener to one of Walt Disney's grandest fairy tales...like so
many before, a classic story that instantly became his as soon as his vision of
colors, characters and compositions became life. We all know the scenario...a lovely girl forced into virtual
slavery by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters who, through the help of a grand
fairy godmother, attends the royal ball, wins the heart of the prince, and lives
happily ever after when he finally finds her thanks to a piece of carelessly
Walt's art often imitated life, and the story behind Cinderella was,
quite literally, a Cinderella story in its own right. At the end of the second World War, the Disney studios were
practically broke. So much so that
had Cinderella flopped, it might have taken Walt Disney Pictures down
with her. But the master had the
keenest of intuitions when it came to judging what the public would flock to,
and with this movie, he was right again. If
Snow White was the film that put Walt Disney on the map, Cinderella was
the one that assured he'd never be off it again.
was a story we all grew up with, but in Disney's hands, it became more magical
than ever. Cinderella was his
greatest heroine to date; beautifully rendered by his talented artists and given
an angelic voice by Ilene Woods. I
think it's fair to say that Cinderella was my first real crush.
Hey, at seven years, you don't have a lot of experience to go by.
the supporting cast was equally wonderful, particularly the plucky mice with
their chirpy voices and high spirits, and their drive to always be there for
their Cinderella. The two lead
mice, Jaq and Gus, are a pair of the best comic sidekicks ever.
Jaq's bravery and gusto mixed with Gus' good nature and simple mindedness
were instantly heartwarming and rib-tickling...and they also boasted two of the
most memorable voices in animation history.
stepmother was icily frightening, and remains probably my most hated of all the
great Disney villains. I wouldn't
have minded seeing Cinderella plant a glass slipper where her sun didn't shine,
but that's why Disney made the movies and I review them. The stepsisters Drizilla and Anastasia are nasty but
hopelessly inept buffoons. And of
course, there's the far-too-enthusiastic king, the stammering grand duke, and
the bland prince, par for the course in a Disney fairy tale.
What's with those cream cheese carved leading men, anyway?
MY Cinderella would have held out for much better.
At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
like a colorful, sensual dream, filled with incredible detail, wonderful
backdrops, and gorgeous music. It's
no wonder it remains a fan favorite after more than 50 years.
Whether you're a wide-eyed child or a seasoned adult, this is the kind of
film with a spell no heart can resist.
TRIVIA I: Former hit TV show host
Mike Douglas was the singing voice of the prince.
TRIVIA II: Verna Felton, the voice
of the fairy godmother, died on the same day as Walt Disney.
expectations were high, but even so, I was blown away by the quality of this
Diamond Edition release. Cinderella
hasn't aged a bit...or at least, that's how it appears thanks to this
incredible restoration job. There's
not a flaw to be found...no scratches, spots or marks to belie the age.
The colors are more vibrant and beautiful than I've ever seen them before
(and believe me, I've watched this movie MANY times), and detail level is
crisper and sharper than ever. One
of the all time best restoration jobs hands down...it simply defies description.
It's amazing how Disney can take a 60 year old film and make it an awe-inspiring 7.1 listening experience. The lush orchestral arrangements sound livelier and more full than you could imagine. Spoken words are clean and clear, the sound effects and songs lend for good dynamic range, and even the subwoofer stays busy throughout the running time.
This loaded set includes the bibbity, the bobbity, and the boo. For your iPad or laptop, you get Disney's Second Screen, a way to get interactive extras while watching the film. There is also a look at the real fairy godmother (Disney's wife), a behind-the-magic look at a new Disney Princess Fairyland, a never-before-seen opening sequence, and the hilarious new short "Tangled Ever After". It's not in 3D, but it sure looks like it was made for it.
There are also the original DVD extras, which feature a pair of new music videos including the classic
"A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and the brand new "Every
Girl Can Be a Princess". There are a slew of previews, a sneak peek at the second
disc's treasures, and a very cool feature from ESPN Classic, "Cinderella
Stories". Hosted by Joe
"I Want To Kiss You" Namath, it's a collection of some of the great
underdog-makes-good stories in sports history.
My favorite was Kirk Gibson's legendary home run for the Dodgers in the
1988 World Series...doesn’t get much better than that if you're a fan.
There is the documentary "From Rags to Riches" that explores
the making of the film, the voices, the animators and more.
The vintage footage of Disney's classic nine artists is a real treat, as
are the new interviews with Ilene Woods and others.
There are a pair of deleted scenes, a tribute to Disney's "nine old
men" as well as a look at animator Mary Blair, storyboard comparisons, and
an interesting look at the "Cinderella That Almost Was", which
considers how different the film could have been based on early sketches and
is a very cool silent era animated "Cinderella" short, an episode of
the Mickey Mouse Club with actress Helene Stanley (who modeled for Cinderella),
and six trailers ranging from 1950 to 1987.
You can hear vintage radio programs,
sample demos of seven unused songs, and check out a pre-release
appearance of Ilene Woods with the late great Perry Como.
out is some fun stuff for the kids, including
"House of Royalty" where a little girl can learn to be a
princess, learn to dance with the princesses of Disney, and even a DVD of the
film. The animated menus for
both discs are quite nice, too!
Cinderella became my all time favorite Disney film when I was just seven years old. Nearly thirty years later, it's never been dethroned. I'm happy beyond words to have this lovely, magical, musical piece of animated enchantment on Blu-ray, and with this Diamond Edition, it looks and sounds better than ever, with a terrific plethora of extras to boot. An absolute must-own for any movie fan.