The Slipper and the Rose
|The Slipper and the Rose|
US theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bryan Forbes|
|Produced by||Stuart Lyons|
|Screenplay by||Robert B. Sherman
Richard M. Sherman
David Frost (uncredited)
|Based on||"Cinderella" (folk tale)|
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
|Edited by||Timothy Gee|
|Distributed by||Cinema International Corporation (UK)
Universal Pictures (US)
|24 April 1976 (UK prem.)
9 April 1976 (UK)
November 4, 1976 (US)
Directed by Bryan Forbes, the film stars Gemma Craven as the heroine, Richard Chamberlain as the prince, and features a supporting cast led by Michael Hordern, Kenneth More, Edith Evans and Annette Crosbie. The film's Academy Award-nominated songs were written by the Sherman Brothers – Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman – who also shared scripting duties with Forbes and, reportedly, the film's executive producer, broadcaster David Frost.
Prince Edward of Euphrania returns home after being sent to meet the princess Selena, whom his parents have arranged for him to marry. However, The Prince reveals he did not propose to the princess he was visiting, and angrily denounces arranged marriages ("Why Can't I Be Two People?"). Edward decides to tell his parents that he wants to marry for love. They, however, are more interested in the political side ("What Has Love Got to Do with Being Married?"). They fail to sway the prince, however.
Meanwhile, Cinderella, on the same day that her father was buried, is banished to the cellar and made to work as a servant to her cold-hearted stepmother and her two vindictive daughters, Isobella and Palatine, who treat her harshly and cruelly. Cinderella finds some comfort in remembering happier times ("Once I Was Loved"). Whilst putting flowers by her parents' grave, she inadvertently stumbles upon the prince, and his friend and bodyguard John, who are visiting the Royal crypt. The Prince sardonically talks about his dead ancestors, with whom he will one day be buried ("What a Comforting Thing to Know").
Back at the castle, the King of Euphrania is advised that a marriage between Edward and a Princess from one of Euphrania's neighboring countries (and thus potential enemies) would help prevent war. A ball is seen as the perfect way to help Edward choose his bride ("Protocolligorically Correct"). The Prince hates the idea, though his cousin Montague is delighted ("Bride-finding Ball"). When news arrives that the home country of the princess Edward refused to marry intends to make war on Euphrania, Edward has no choice but to accept. However, fewer than half the princesses accept the invitation, so the local nobility, including Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters, are invited.
The stepmother and stepsisters demand that Cinderella sew all three of them elegant gowns for the ball from the fabric of their old dresses. Cinderella has no idea what to do. As luck would have it a fairy godmother, who has a talent for sensing the wishes of those who are pure in heart, arrives and creates three beautiful gowns while Cinderella rests. That night, the stepmother and stepsisters depart for the ball leaving Cinderella alone. Cinderella's fairy godmother returns and informs Cinderella that she too can go to the ball. She transforms Cinderella's shabby dress into a lovely gown, arranges her hair in the period fashion, and a coach and horses are magically prepared. Cinderella is sent off to the ball with a warning that the magic can only last until midnight ("Suddenly It Happens"). It is love at first sight when Cinderella and Edward meet at the ball ("Secret Kingdom"). As the clock strikes midnight, Cinderella races away, leaving only behind her glass slipper ("He / She Danced With Me").
Edward sends his servants out far and wide in search of the woman who fits the glass slipper. The search turns out empty-handed. Edward builds a monument for the slipper and hopes that one day his lost love will turn up. John is also suffering as a result of love: he is in love with a noblewoman, but his position forbids them to be together ("Position and Positioning"). He Knights John, so John can pursue his romance with Lady Caroline. Finally, frustrated by his fruitless search, Edward breaks the monument, tossing the slipper into the woods where Cinderella finds and starts to dance with it, which catches John's attention and he rushes off to inform the Prince.
Cinderella and Edward are reunited and greeted by her stepmother and stepsisters. Edward asks the permission of the stepmother to marry Cinderella and she gives full permission, if only to get Cinderella off her hands. Cinderella tells her stepmother and stepsisters that she forgives them for their abuse. In the throne room, Edward and Cinderella go before the King and Queen. Whilst the King and Queen find Cinderella to be charming, something seems to be troubling the King. He takes the Lord Chamberlain aside and tells him that there is no way his son and Cinderella, a non-royal, can be married. The Lord Chamberlain conveys this to Cinderella, explaining also that a military alliance through marriage must be established with one of the neighboring kingdoms to protect them against war and to secure the safety and future existence of Euphrania. Along with this disheartening news, it is also explained that she will have to be exiled that very night. Brokenhearted, Cinderella asks the Lord Chamberlain to tell Edward that she never loved him, because she knows that Edward will try to find her because of his love for her ("Tell Him").
Edward, knowing he's fighting a losing battle, agrees to marry whomever the King and Queen choose, but says that his marital duties will go no further than the altar. Cinderella, living peacefully in exile, still thinks of Edward ("I Can't Forget the Melody"). Her fairy godmother arrives and asks Cinderella why she isn't at the castle as Edward is getting married that day. Cinderella, surprised, asks who Edward is marrying. The fairy godmother doesn't know but plans to set things right.
Back at the castle, as the wedding is taking place, everyone is surprised when Cinderella shows up in a wedding gown. The King interrupts the wedding and he and his council meet in private. The fairy godmother joins the discussion and convinces the king to change the law, so that Edward can marry the girl of his choice. In a surprising twist, brought about by the fairy godmother's magic, Edward's cousin and the chosen bride fall in love at first sight, and marry, thus fulfilling the alliance after all. Cinderella and Edward live happily ever after.
- Gemma Craven as Cinderella
- Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward
- Margaret Lockwood as the Wicked Stepmother
- Michael Hordern as the King
- Lally Bowers as the Queen
- Edith Evans as the Dowager Queen
- Annette Crosbie as the Fairy Godmother
- Kenneth More as the Lord High Chamberlain
- Christopher Gable as John, the Prince Edward's bodyguard and friend
- Julian Orchard as the Duke of Montague, cousin to the Prince
- Rosalind Ayres as Isobella, Cinderella's Stepsister
- Sherrie Hewson as Palatine, Cinderella's Stepsister
- Polly Williams as Lady Caroline, lady-in-waiting to the Dowager Queen
- John Turner as the Major-Domo
- Keith Skinner as Willoughby, the Major-Domo's assistant
- Fred as the Dog, the Fairy Godmother's pet
- "Why Can't I Be Two People?" – Richard Chamberlain
- "What Has Love Got to Do with Getting Married?" – Michael Hordern, Lally Bowers, Edith Evans, Julian Orchard
- "Once I Was Loved" – Gemma Craven
- "What a Comforting Thing to Know" – Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Gable
- "Protocoligorically Correct" – Michael Hordern, Chorus
- "Bride-finding Ball" – Richard Chamberlain, Julian Orchard
- "Suddenly It Happens" – Annette Crosbie, Gemma Craven
- "Transformation Ballet" - Dancers
- "The Slipper and the Rose Waltz Theme" (an instrumental version of "He Danced With Me")
- "Secret Kingdom" – Richard Chamberlain, Gemma Craven
- "He/She Danced With Me" – Richard Chamberlain, Gemma Craven
- "Position and Positioning" – Christopher Gable, Chorus
- "Tell Him Anything (But Not That I Love Him)" – Gemma Craven
- "I Can't Forget the Melody" – Gemma Craven
- "Secret Kingdom (Reprise)" – Richard Chamberlain, Gemma Craven
In its initial US release by Universal Pictures, the songs "What Has Love Got to Do with Being Married" and "I Can't Forget the Melody" were cut. They were also cut from the soundtrack LP, released in the US (MCA 2097).
The scene where Cinderella sings "I Can't Forget the Melody", where she sits on a swing, is a reference to The Swing (painting) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Every detail of Cinderella's costume and setting are identical to Fragonard's painting, including the color of her dress, the style of her hat, and the climbing flowers on her swing.
Cinderella and the Prince dance the Ländler, a traditional Austrian dance, to their first waltz. (The same dance is also seen in Sound of Music.)
At the 24 March 1976 Royal Command Performance of the The Slipper and the Rose the Queen Mother commented to the songwriters, "The waltz you wrote for the ballroom scene is the most beautiful song I've ever heard."
Writing in The New York Times, critic Vincent Canby called the film "harmless", adding that the writers "stretched the fable without mercy, largely to accommodate a whole bunch of forgettable songs by the Shermans", and that, as the Prince and Cinderella, "Mr. Chamberlain and Miss Craven have impossible roles that are less like characters in a fairy tale than pictures on a jar of peanut butter."
Awards and nominations
The Sherman Brothers were nominated for the following awards for The Slipper and the Rose:
- Academy Award – Best Music, Song "The Slipper and the Rose Waltz (He/She Danced With Me)"
- Academy Award (with Angela Morley) – Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score
- Golden Globe Award – Best Original Song Score, 1977
- BAFTA – Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music, 1977
Other nominations for the film included:
In popular culture
- In the 2006 London play, Frost/Nixon, playwright Peter Morgan makes reference to Executive Producer, David Frost's involvement in The Slipper and the Rose suggesting that Frost is more "entertainer" than serious journalist.
- Jim Reston: "Where's David?"
- Bob Zelnick: "At a movie premiere."
- Jim Reston: "What, the night before we start taping? What premiere?"
- Bob Zelnick: "The Slipper and the Rose"
- Jim Reston: "The Cinderella movie?"
- Bob Zelnick: "He's the executive producer."
- Jim Reston: "What the one with Richard Chamberlain singing, 'ding diddy ding ding'?"
The 1984 musical production has been run often on the British stage.
The stage musical made its US premiere in February 2004 at the Hale Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. A production was also put on in November -December 2008 at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse in Tacoma, Washington.
In 2000, this film was released in the USA on DVD by Image Entertainment, in its original full-length British version, with audio commentary by director Bryan Forbes. Its extras included a video interview with the Sherman Brothers and a promotional featurette. This DVD went out of print. On November 19, 2013, the film was released on Blu-ray.
- Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond by Robert B. Sherman, Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pg. 190
- Canby, Vincent, "Screen: Glass Slipper Into Sow's Ear", The New York Times, 5 November 1976. Requires registration. Retrieved 1 December 2006
- Morgan, Peter, Frost/Nixon. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 2006 p.41
- Les Productions Coracole. Retrieved 28 May 2011
- The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella Blu-ray Retrieved December 1, 2013