Cinderella (Disney character)

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Cinderella
Cinderella disney.png
First appearance Cinderella (1950)
Last appearance Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (2007)
Created by Charles Perrault
Marc Davis
Eric Larson
Mark Henn
Voiced by Ilene Woods (original film)
Jennifer Hale (speaking, sequels/merchandise)
Tami Tappan (singing, sequels)
Susan Stevens Logan (singing, studio)
Karen Strassman (in Mickey Mouse short films)
Information
Aliases Cinderelly
Species Human
Gender Female
Occupation Servant (formerly)
Princess
Family Unnamed father (deceased)
Unnamed mother (deceased)
Lady Tremaine (stepmother)
Drizella Tremaine (older stepsister)
Anastasia Tremaine (younger stepsister)
The Baker (stepbrother-in-law)
Spouse(s) Prince Charming
Relatives The King (father-in-law)
The Queen (mother-in-law, deceased)

Cinderella is a fictional character who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 12th animated feature film Cinderella (1950) and its sequels Cinderella II: Dreams Come True (2002) and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (2007). In the original film, Cinderella is voiced by American singer and actress Ilene Woods. For the sequels and subsequent film and television appearances, Woods was replaced by American actresses Jennifer Hale and Tami Tappan, who provide the character's speaking and singing voices respectively.

In the wake of her father's untimely demise, Cinderella is left in the unfortunate care of her cruel stepmother and jealous stepsisters, who constantly mistreat her, forcing Cinderella to work as a domestic servant. When Prince Charming holds a ball, Cinderella, aided by her kind Fairy Godmother and equipped with a beautiful ballgown and a unique pair of glass slippers, attends, only to have to leave at 12 Midnight, when the Fairy Godmother's spell is broken (Including Cinderella's ball gown turning back into pink & white rags).

Reception towards Cinderella has been generally negative, with film critics describing the character as much too passive, boring and one-dimensional, additionally admitting to finding the film's supporting characters more intriguing. Woods' vocal performance, however, has been lauded. Unaffected by her unfavorable reception, Cinderella has nonetheless become one of the most famous and recognizable princesses of all-time. With her iconic glass footwear, ballgown, hairstyle and transformation, one of the first on-screen makeovers of its kind, the character has been established as a fashion icon, receiving accolades and recognition from InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour and Oprah.com, as well as footwear designer and fashion icon Christian Louboutin himself, who in 2012 designed and released a shoe based on Cinderella's.

Development[edit]

The Disney version of the Cinderella was based on the French version of the tale by Charles Perrault, Cinderella written in 1697 in Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé.[1]

The character was animated by Marc Davis and Eric Larson,[2] but the two animators did not have the same perception of the character, accentuating the elegance of Davis and Larson's opting for simplicity.[3] As done with other Disney films, Walt Disney hired actress Helene Stanley to perform the live-action reference for Cinderella, that she before artists began sketching, playing the role of Cinderella in a particular scene,[4] and artists to draw animated frames based on the movements of the actress.[5] She later did the same kind of work for the characters of Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Anita Radcliff in 101 Dalmatians.[5]

According to Christopher Finch, author of The Art of Walt Disney:

Disney insisted that all scenes involving human characters should be shot first in live-action to determine that they would work before the expensive business of animation was permitted to start. The animators did not like this way of working, feeling it detracted from their ability to create character. However, they understood the necessity for this approach in retrospect and acknowledged that Disney had handled things with considerable subtlety.[1]

Voice[edit]

In the original 1950 film, Cinderella is voiced by American singer and actress Ilene Woods.[6] In 1948, Woods was a young eighteen-year-old singer working as a radio personality at the time and hosting her own eponymous radio program The Ilene Woods Show.[7] While working at ABC Radio,[8] Woods would regularly be visited and approached by various songwriters who wanted the singer to perform their compositions, which is ultimately how she met and befriended Cinderella songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston.[9] Ultimately, David and Livingston "would play ... an important role in Woods's career."[7]

At the behest of David and Livingston, casually described as a "a favor,"[10] Woods agreed to record a series of demos of three songs that the songwriters had recently written for the studio's then-upcoming animated film Cinderella. Woods recorded the songs "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo", "So This Is Love", and "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes",[11] which the songwriters then submitted to Disney himself. Upon reviewing and listening to the tracks, Disney, impressed, decided to contact Woods personally. Two days afterward, Woods received a telephone call from Disney, with whom she immediately scheduled an interview. Woods recalled in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, "We met and talked for awhile, and he said, 'How would you like to be Cinderella?'," to which she agreed.[12]

About 400 contestants auditioned for the role of Cinderella.[13] But of them all, Walt Disney chose Ilene Woods, who at the time worked on the radio and did not know anything about the audition for the role of Cinderella. But one day, her colleagues Mack David and Jerry Livingston asked her to sing a song from the Cinderella, and she agreed.[14] Then, without saying a word to her, Ilene's friends transferred recordings of her songs to the film office of Disney. After listening to the material, Walt Disney decided immediately that he had found the voice with which to speak and sing its main character, and contacted Ilene.[14]

Characteristics[edit]

Cinderella is 19 years old with shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes and fair complexion. After her father dies, she is made a servant in her own home and is constantly tormented by her evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and two stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella. Despite this, she maintains hope through her dreams and remains a kind and gentle person. She has faith that someday her dreams of happiness will come true and her kindness will be repaid. Cinderella is shown to have a down-to-earth attitude, but she is also a daydreamer (as seen, for example, in "Sing Sweet Nightingale", when she becomes distracted with the bubbles, allowing Lucifer to smudge the floor she was cleaning). She is also shown to have a sarcastic side and a sharp wit. When her evil stepsisters and stepmother prevent her from going to a royal ball, brutally tearing her mother's dress apart, she is heartbroken and fears that her dreams will never come true. However, her Fairy Godmother appears, restoring Cinderella's hope, by transforming her torn homemade gown into her iconic powered blue ball gown with a glittering puffed overskirt and puffy sleeves. Her accessories are powered blue opera gloves with a matching headband, a black choker, diamond earrings and glass slippers. As a servant, she wears her hair down in a ponytail supported by a white scarf and dressed in a brown dress with a light blue blouse, a white apron, and black flats.

Appearances[edit]

Cinderella[edit]

Cinderella as she appears at Disney Parks.

At the start of the film Cinderella is working as a scullery maid, domestic servant and, for the most part, slave in her own home for her cruel stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and two stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella. Her only friends are the birds and the mice who also live in the manor, including Gus and Jaq.

She prepares breakfast for the animals, then for her family, and finally begins her regular chores. An invitation to the ball arrives at the door and Cinderella desperately wants to go. Her stepmother tells her she may under the condition that she finish her chores and find something suitable to wear. Cinderella discovers her deceased mother's old party dress and hopes to fix it so it looks more modern, but she is too busy to do so. Meanwhile, the mice see shadows of Cinderella's stepsisters throwing down their old sash and beads, so Jaq and Gus quietly retrieve them. The mice use the unwanted items to spice up the dress. Later, Cinderella fears she will not be done working in time and not be able to attend the ball, but her friends reveal the updated dress. Cinderella is overjoyed and thanks her friends. She races down the steps just in time, but her stepsisters recognize their discarded items and accuse her of stealing the sash and beads. They tear the dress to shreds and Cinderella runs out to the garden, crying.

Her Fairy Godmother appears to make her dreams come true and transforms her torn dress into a beautiful shimmering silver gown. Before Cinderella leaves, her godmother warns her that the spell will be broken at midnight. At the ball, Cinderella dances with Prince Charming and they immediately fall in love with each other. However, Cinderella didn't know she was dancing with the Prince. As twelve o'clock approaches, she hurries to leave, hoping to avoid the spell breaking at the ball, which would result in getting caught by her stepmother or stepsisters. In her haste, she losses one of her glass slippers on the staircase, but she knows there isn't time to retrieve it. Cinderella hurries into her coach as it prepares to leave. The spell breaks and Cinderella is in rags once more before reminiscing her dance with the prince and thanking her godmother for all she's done for her. The next day, the prince announces he will marry the woman whose foot fits into the glass slipper. Lady Tremaine hears Cinderella humming the same song that had played at the ball and figures out Cinderella was the girl Prince Charming fell in love with. Cinderella is locked in the tower by her stepmother, who doesn't want her to have the opportunity to try on the slipper, but her animal friends help her escape. She hurries downstairs to try on the glass slipper, but it breaks before she can try it on. Cinderella reveals that she has kept the other slipper. She tries it on, making a perfect fit. She and the Prince are married soon after.[15]

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True[edit]

Gus and Jaq, with help of the other mice, and, of course, the Fairy Godmother, set off to make a new book to narrate what happens after the ending of the previous story by stringing three segments of stories together, resulting in three individual stories: "Aim to Please", "Tall Tail", and "An Uncommon Romance". In the first story, Cinderella and Prince Charming return home and a party begins shortly afterward. In "Tall Tail", Cinderella works on planning to build up a festival. The mouse named Jaq in the previous film has become a human named Sir Hugh. In the third story, "An Uncommon Romance", Cinderella helps her younger stepsister Anastasia reconcile with the baker. Near the end of the film, she reads the book that the mice made for her.[16]

Cinderella III: A Twist in Time[edit]

Cinderella and Prince Charming are celebrating their anniversary. Unfortunately, Lady Tremaine gets a hold of the Fairy Godmother's wand and uses her ill-acquired powers to reverse time, sending Cinderella back into the events of the first film. This time, however, the story is changed when new situations arise: the slipper is modified to fit Anastasia's foot and she, rather than Cinderella, is promised to Prince Charming. Cinderella, with the aide of the mice, sets out to restore her place as the prince's bride and finally bring her stepmother to justice once and for all, although she is unaware of the time reversal: Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, and the Fairy Godmother are the only ones who are aware of it.[17]

Sofia the First[edit]

Main article: Sofia the First

Cinderella appears in the pilot movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess, where she helps Sofia make friends with Amber, her stepsister.

In other media[edit]

Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland.
Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.

Cinderella appears as one of the Disney Princesses of Heart in the Kingdom Hearts series, captured by Maleficent, who destroyed her world. The main character, Sora, rescues Cinderella, as well as the other Princesses, and she returns home. She is only mentioned in the sequel, Kingdom Hearts II. Her story prior to being captured takes place prominently with her home world, Castle of Dreams, in the prequel, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep; she mets Ventus, who she mistakes for a mouse despite the obvious fact he's not, Aqua and Terra. In the Final Mix version of the game, her world is seen in the Realm of Darkness at the climax, Maleficent having destroyed it and captured her.

Cinderella is one of the official members of the Disney Princess franchise, appearing in several related video games, albums and other merchandise. Cinderella appears as one of the Disney Princesses in the manga, Kilala Princess.

Cinderella appears in the Nintendo 3DS game "Disney Magical World." Cinderella's world is one of the four Disney movie worlds accessible to the player in this game, and many characters and items related to the movie appear. Additionally, the player has the option of attending balls at Cinderella's castle.

The Cinderella Castle is an attraction at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Both serve as globally recognized icons for their respective theme parks. Cinderella and the other Disney Princesses have a meet and greet attraction called Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom.[18][19]

A live-action version of the character appeared in the first season of the TV series Once Upon a Time. She was played by actress Jessy Schram. Her Storybrooke counterpart is Ashley Boyd.[20]

Cinderella will be played by Lily James in an upcoming live-action re-imagining of the animated film.[21][22]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Although the film was very positively received,[23] Cinderella herself has inspired a generally unfavorable response from most film critics due to her passive, "blandly generic" personality,[24] additionally having been deemed one of the "Worst Disney Princesses" because "she lacks the spunk and backbone to do something about her situation."[25] Variety gave Cinderella a negative review, describing the character as "colorless."[26] Calling her an "oppressed drudge," Empire panned Cinderella, describing both her and Prince Charming as "bland and colourless characters - particularly when compared to Beauty and her Beast."[27] The New York Times' Bosley Crowther similarly wrote, "The beautiful Cinderella has a voluptuous face and form—not to mention an eager disposition—to compare with Al Capp's Daisy Mae." However, criticizing her role and personality, Bosely opined, "As a consequence, the situation in which they are mutually involved have the constraint and immobility of panel-expressed episodes. When Mr. Disney tries to make them behave like human beings, they're banal."[28]

Film4 negatively described Cinderella as "one-dimensional."[29] Criticizing her design, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "If there is an obvious difference between Cinderella and such predecessors as Pinocchio and Snow White, it's in the general smoothing-out of the character's appearances," concluding, "Snow White herself looked fairly bland, but the other characters in the first decade of Disney animation had a lot of personality in their faces. They were allowed to look odd. Cinderella seems to come right out of its time, the bland postwar 1950s," likening the character's flawless design to that of a "Draw Me girl."[30] Concerned about the negative effects Cinderella's passivity could possibly induce upon children, Nell Minow of Common Sense Media expressed, "Cinderella is the quintessential passive heroine rescued by a male character ... so discussions about her meekness might be in order."[31] About.com's Laurie Boeder simply described Cinderella as "blah."[32] Desi Jedeikin of Smosh included the character in the website's "8 Fictional Characters That Are Horrible Role Models For Girls" list, explaining, "I'm like so happy that Cinderella found true love with a rich stranger who rescued her from her horrible life. But wouldn't it have been better if she did it for herself?"[33] Additionally, critics have also expressed favoritism towards Cinderella's supporting cast of animal characters, particularly the comic interaction and dynamic between her pet mice Jaq and Gus and her stepfamily's pet cat Lucifer, often preferring them to Cinderella herself while noting ways in which the heroine is constantly being "upstaged."[34] Film Threat's Rory L. Aronsky commented, "[Walt Disney] knew, logically, that too much attention can’t be focused on one character."[35]

Among Cinderella's few positive reviews, Michael Scheinfeld of TV Guide drew similarities between the character and Belle from Beauty and the Beast (1991), writing, "[Cinderella] holds up better because the heroine seems timeless in her courage and resourcefulness, a closer cousin to Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast than to other fairytale protagonists."[36] Hailing Cinderella as "the most famous and beloved princess of all time," HowStuffWorks' Vicki Arkoff defended the character, writing, "highly sympathetic Cinderella is endlessly kind, patient, hard-working, and unassuming -- no matter how cruelly she is treated by her exaggerated, cartoonish foes." Arkoff elaborated, "Unlike Disney's passive, naive Snow White, Disney's Cinderella is a princess who decides to take charge and change her life for the better, rather than just wait for things to happen that might solve her problem."[37] Interestingly, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes' general consensus reads that, in addition to "The rich colors, sweet songs, adorable mice," the "endearing (if suffering) heroine make[s] Cinderella a nostalgically lovely charmer."[23] Woods herself has collected widespread acclaim for her performance. Variety wrote, "Ilene Woods, as Cinderella’s voice, uses a sweet soprano."[26] Craig Butler of AllMovie opined, "Ilene Woods makes a marvelous Cinderella, her voice a combination of girlishness and sophistication; she also possesses a serenity and assurance which makes one feel she is more in control of her life than might be guessed by her surroundings."[38]

Accolades[edit]

In spite of her particularly negative critical reception, Cinderella has since become one of the most famous, recognizable and popular princesses, both fictional and non-fictional, of all-time.[39][40] According to the San Antonio Express-News, Cinderella is one of the ten most fictional princesses of all-time.[41] In 2013, Cosmopolitan ranked the character the ninth greatest Disney Princess.[42] According to TheRichest.com, Cinderella is the second most successful and wealthiest Disney Princess of all-time, behind only Snow White. Based on the success of Cinderella and the character's overall popularity, Cinderella successfully "affirmed the popularity of the aspirational, idealistic Disney Princess" and is worth approximately $824 million as of December 2013.[43]

In 2003 Woods received a Disney Legends award for her role as the voice of Cinderella. In 2010 she died at the age of 81, of Alzheimer's disease.[44] According to The Spokesman-Review, Woods once said in an interview with Starlog that "I love the idea that after I’m gone, children will still be hearing my voice [as Cinderella].”[45] In 2013, Film School Rejects recognized Woods as one of "7 No-Name Actors Who Had Iconic Roles", ranking the actress first and writing, "Woods ... really set the bar high, as she managed to audition for the part of Cinderella without even realize she had done it."[46]

Cultural impact[edit]

Culturally, Cinderella has had a profound influence on the fashion industry. To coincide with the release of the diamond edition of Cinderella in 2012, French footwear designer Christian Louboutin created and designed a contemporary rendition of the character's iconic glass slipper. In an interview with The Express Tribune, Louboutin said that Cinderella is "not only an iconic character when it comes to beauty, grace and fairytale love, but also shoes." The shoes are described as "made of delicate lace [instead of glass] to give them a look of transparency, and adorned with butterfly designs at the vamp and atop the Swarovski-crystal covered heel," completed by Louboutin’s signature red soles. Only twenty copies of the shoes were manufactured.[47] In 2014, Entertainment Weekly ranked Cinderella tenth in its article "Disney Princesses: Ranking Their Hairdos -- and Don'ts!", writing, "The lowly maid's typically rage-inducing bangs somehow develop an almost stately character once the rest of her follicular baggage has been swept into an updo closely resembling a perky butt."[48]

At the 86th Academy Awards in 2014, Kenyan actress and Best Supporting Actress recipient Lupita Nyong'o donned "a light blue Prada gown."[49] Subsequently, the media responded by drawing similarities between Nyong'o's dress and Cinderella's ballgown. Cosmopolitan wrote that Nyong'o "took a cue from Disney with a blue iridescent gown and matching headband a la Cinderella,"[50] while the Daily News similarly opined "channeled another Disney princess for her Oscars gown."[51] Acknowledging the comparisons, Nyong'o's stylist Micaela Erlanger described the actress' appearance as "Lupita + Cinderella = Lupitarella."[52] Additionally, several critics have deemed Nyong'o's success a "Cinderella story."[53][54] According to MTV, several other Academy Award attendants wore similar outfits that were reminiscent of Disney characters in addition to Nyong'o.[55]

Makeover sequence[edit]

The iconic "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" musical sequence in which Cinderella's Fairy Godmother magically transforms the character's tattered rags into a beautiful ballgown has garnered widespread critical acclaim, receiving positive reviews, accolades and recognition from several entertainment critics. AllMovie described the sequence as "splendidly done,"[38] while HitFix deemed it the film's best moment.[56] According to Disney.com, the transformation of Cinderella's dress into a ballgown remains a common favorite and "one of the most iconic pieces of Disney animation because of what it means for the titular character."[57] StyleCaster wrote that the scene is responsible for introducing the common "movie makeover," writing, "Ever since Cinderella ditched those rags and threw on a ball gown and a pair of glass slippers, movie audiences have fallen for the beloved transformation storyline."[58] Featuring Cinderella in its list of "13 movie makeovers that still totally rock our socks off", Glamour summarized the scene's role in the film as "The movie makeover that sees a merry band of rodents help Cindera[sic]lla to make the perfect dress, eventually go to the ball and ultimately win the heart of a prince."[59] Oprah.com also included Cinderella in its "Favorite Movie Makeovers" list, accrediting the film and Disney with "first introducing us to the head-to-toe makeover," concluding, " Unrealistic expectations are born."[60]

Likewise, both the sequence and Cinderella's magical transformation have been featured on several "best movie makeover" countdown lists. On Stylist's list of the "50 Best Movie Makeovers", Cinderella placed first, with the magazine labeling her the "Recipient of the original makeover." Additionally, Stylist coined the list's other candidates "Cinematic Cinderellas," alluding to the character's legacy.[61] InStyle ranked Cinderella second on its list of "The Best Movie Makeovers", writing, "Cinderella’s fairy tale transformation is the stuff that many a little girl's real-life makeover dreams are made of."[62] Hailing it as "[The] makeover of makeovers" and "the movie that started it all," The Independent Florida Alligator ranked Cinderella first in its list of "The best of movie makeovers".[63] Style Blazer also ranked Cinderella second on its list of the "Top 11 Favorite Makeover Movies of All Time", concluding, "Cinderella and her pauper to princess makeover have already gone down in movie history as one of the best transformations."[64] Calling Cinderella the "Original Fairy Godmother ... makeover," Total Beauty ranked the character fifth in its article "11 Best Movie Makeovers".[65]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Snow White
Disney Princess
Cinderella (1950)
Succeeded by
Aurora