Disney’s animated film, Cinderella, ready for theaters
Walt Disney’s ready to spring his latest full-length cartoon, “Cinderella,” on the world. And the face-lifting Cinderella got in Hollywood may have the original author rattling in his grave.
Disney confessed Tuesday he’s modernized the fairy tale with everything from sex to slapstick to songs.
The sweet fairy godmother turns out to be a fluttery, middle-aged Burke type. There’s a cat who’s a villain, and a handsome prince who plants torrid kisses that the French author of Cinderella, Charles Perrault, never had in mind.
Working six years
“I’ve been working on the movie for six years,” says Disney. “There have been many versions of the Cinderella story. I thought the usual Grimm tale was too sweet, so I followed the Perrault original. “But the story is only an outline. I had to fill it in and bring it more up-to-date.”
“For example, there’s no reason in the fairytale why the prince suddenly gave the bail. We have his father, the king, lonely and wanting his son to marry. He gives a party to get all the prospective brides together.”
The fairy tale was penned 300 years ago. Disney placed his story in the mid-19th century because “that was a romantic period.” But Cinderella goes to the ball in a fancy gown that any modern movie queen would wear today.
“That’s to appeal to the modern teenagers,” says Disney.
Cinderella has some cinema pals she didn’t have in the fairytale, too — a nasty cat and playful mice. They’re the comics. And Disney made the fairy godmother a “likable, forgetful character.”
“She’s a little, pudgy, old lady who never can remember where she put her wand,” he smiles. “She even forgets temporarily to change Cinderella’s rags into that beautiful dress.”
“The conventional fairy godmother was kind of dull.”
Disney’s Prince Charming is handsome and dashing. But his role was trimmed because good-looking men are not easy cartoon characters to create, Disney adds.
There’s one change from the French story nobody will notice: Perrault’s Cinderella slipper was made of fur. Disney made it glass, as it is in later, more popular translations.
He doesn’t think anybody will notice the other switches, either.
“People don’t remember details of fairy tales,” he says. “I called in some ‘Alice in Wonderland’ experts, and they kept getting the two volumes mixed up. They could not remember details at all.”