The Glass Slipper
|The Glass Slipper|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Charles Walters|
|Produced by||Edwin H. Knopf|
|Written by||Helen Deutsch|
|Music by||Bronislau Kaper|
|Cinematography||Arthur E. Arling|
|Edited by||Ferris Webster|
The Glass Slipper (1955) is a musical film adaptation of Cinderella, made by MGM, directed by Charles Walters and produced by Edwin H. Knopf from a screenplay by Helen Deutsch. The music score is by Bronislau Kaper, the cinematography by Arthur E. Arling, the art direction by Daniel B. Cathcart and Cedric Gibbons and costume design by Walter Plunkett and Helen Rose.
The film stars Leslie Caron as Cinderella, and Michael Wilding as the Prince, with Keenan Wynn, Estelle Winwood, Elsa Lanchester, Barry Jones, Lurene Tuttle, Liliane Montevecchi and Walter Pidgeon as Narrator.
Ella, who is sometimes teased as "Cinderella", is a lonely and misunderstood young woman who lives in a European principality. An orphan who has become an almost-servant to her stepmother the Widow Sonder, and her stepsisters Birdina and Serafina, she is shunned by the townspeople because of her anti-social behavior and constant boasting that she will live in the palace one day (as a gypsy told her late mother, three years prior to Ella's birth).
Prince Charles is the son of the Duke who rules the principality. The Prince has been studying at the University of Paris for many years, and the Duke is delighted that he has returned, which will be celebrated by three days of festivities and a ball on the final day. Now that Charles is back, he starts to recall old memories he had of growing up there, including a small girl with unbearably sad eyes whom he saw crying when he was just a boy.
After getting into a spat with her stepfamily over the Prince's appearance, Ella runs away to her favorite place, which is a small secluded pool on the Palace grounds. There she meets an eccentric old woman named Mrs. Toquet who becomes her first friend.
The next day she returns to the spot, hoping to meet Mrs. Toquet, but instead finds Charles and his friend Kovin. Ella asks them where they are from and they tell her that they come from the Palace, with Kovin saying that Charles is the son of the Chief Cook in the Palace. Charles then recognises Ella's eyes as those belonging to the girl he saw years ago. Ella thinks that he is making fun of her and pushes him into the pool. Charles is intrigued by Ella and has Kovin talk to the people of the principality to find out everything he can about her.
That same day, Cousin Loulou visits the Sonder home. Ella is supposed to be all cleaned up to receive their guest, but her stepfamily is scandalized when they discover that she is barefoot. Ella remembers that she left her shoes at the pond, so she runs off to collect them, only to find Charles waiting for her with the shoes. Ella apologizes for pushing him into the water and he apologizes for hurting her feelings. They talk, and Charles gives her an invitation to the Ball, to which Ella replies that she cannot dance. Charles says that she should learn to dance since she's going to live in the Palace some day, and offers a dancing lesson. After a waltz Charles steals a kiss, and Ella runs away.
After the Widow Sonder, Birdina and Serafina leave for the ball, Mrs. Toquet arrives, bringing with her a ball gown and pair of glass slippers she has "borrowed" for Ella. She has also somehow arranged for a coach to take Ella to the palace, though Ella has to leave the Palace by midnight.
At the Palace Ball, Ella is besieged by young men wanting to dance with her, but she refuses to speak to anyone, focusing all her attention on trying to reach the Palace kitchens to find Charles. When Charles learns of her presence, he waltzes with her and persuades her to look up at him. Ella is stunned to find that her friend is the Prince.
The other guests, not knowing who the newcomer is, note her exotic colouring and surmise that she is a foreign lady of noble birth, perhaps Egyptian because of her short hair. When the clock strikes midnight, Ella runs away, leaving one of her glass slippers behind, which is then picked up by Charles. While fleeing the palace, Ella's coach overturns; in the confused aftermath, the dazed Ella sees not a wrecked coach but a pumpkin crawling with several mice. She loses consciousness and wakes the next morning in her stepmother's house.
Prince Charles informs his father that he has met the woman he wants to marry. Kovin, picking up on what he's overheard at the party, hurriedly "explains" that Ella is a princess of Egypt.
By the next morning, everyone has heard that the Prince has chosen an Egyptian Princess to be his bride. When Ella hears this news, she is devastated. Ella decides to run away, first stopping at her favorite place to see Mrs. Toquet, to whom she bids farewell. Ella throws herself down to the ground sobbing, until she hears a familiar voice. She looks up and sees the Prince. He holds her lost glass slipper, which he declares will fit the foot of the princess he intends to marry.
After glancing briefly at the crowd of people who have just arrived, including Ella's stepmother and stepsisters, the Prince and Ella, adjourn to the Palace, and all ends happily. A brief concluding scene shows that Mrs. Toquet has magical powers; she was Ella's fairy godmother all along.
- Ella — Leslie Caron
- Prince Charles — Michael Wilding
- Widow Sonder — Elsa Lanchester (Ella's stepmother)
- Birdina — Amanda Blake (Ella's stepsister)
- Serafina — Lisa Daniels (Ella's stepsister)
- The Duke — Barry Jones (Prince Charles' father)
- Mrs. Toquet — Estelle Winwood
- Kovin — Keenan Wynn
- Cousin Lulu — Lurene Tuttle
The score was composed by Bronislau Kaper and conducted by Miklós Rózsa, with orchestrations by Robert Franklyn. Additional recording sessions were conducted by Johnny Green. Helen Deutsch wrote lyrics for the song "Take My Love" to music by Kaper. Vocals for actor Michael Wilding were performed by Gilbert Russell.
The complete score, including alternate versions of the three ballets by Kaper, was released in 2005 on compact disc on the Film Score Monthly label.
According to MGM records the film earned $1,363,000 in the US and Canada and $1,589,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $387,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Domestic take see 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
- Kendall, Lukas (2005). Bronislau Kaper. "The Glass Slipper". Film Score Monthly (CD insert notes) (Culver City, California, U.S.A.) 8 (19).
- British Film Institute Archive: Roland Petit, accessed 3 April 2013.
- The Glass Slipper at the Internet Movie Database
- Various releases of music from the film, on LP and cd