Monday, January 3, 2011

The Slipper and the Rose

I have been hearing about this version of Cinderella for some time now--no surprise, given that it's from 1976. Starring Richard Chamberlain and and Gemma Craven, it's got the 70s not-quite-historical take on what costumes and hair should look like.

I went back and forth between really liking this, and being appalled by it.

For some reason, *every*single*song* took me by surprise. Now, I am a fan of a lot of musicals, and one of my favorite moments is that building tension, you know how it goes--I feel a song coming on! Never once in this movie. It was more like. We're talking--oh, now we're singing. I am not saying that is a good or bad thing, in fact if anything it kept me surprised throughout the movie.

There are some fabulous details. My favorite character was the fairy godmother. In fact her line about how she became a fairy godmother, and then, "But that's another story," made me go, "Where can I find THAT movie?" Her segments are littered with other fairy tale references, everything from Robin Hood to the 1001 Arabian Nights.

And there's a bit of political interest, instead of just a love story. I was pretty worried that they'd blow that off, but they even managed to make it a problem for Cinderella and her prince, and found a somewhat satisfactory solution in the end.

On the downside: this is probably the most passive Cinderella of all time. If you thought Disney's Cinderella was useless, hey, at least she tried to go to the ball with a dress she made. At least she admitted she wanted to go to the ball! This poor Cinderella wouldn't even admit that she wished she could go. I'm amazed that the fairy godmother even noticed she was upset, as all she would say was "I was thinking what it might be like at the ball."

She is rescued a number of times in a number of ways, and doesn't really do anything for herself, which bothered me quite a lot, even taking into account when it was made. (Come on, it was the mid-70s, not the mid-50s.)

I'd recommend this for the sake of completion, if you are an especial Cinderella fan. And honestly there are a few bits that I really liked--I will say that the king's councilors all dancing around the palace library and singing about protocol reminded me of nothing so much as Terry Pratchett's Discworld Wizards. However, if you are easily annoyed by passive princesses, I'd give this one a pass.

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