Recently, on Facebook the subject of Cinderella came up. The context was a joke about the Prince meeting the love of his life but forgets what she looked like. (As someone who is somewhat “face blind” I can actually accept that.)
Many, many years ago (as in more than 40) I saw on television a live-action version of Cinderella. Despite the years that had passed, I distinctly remembered. The first was at the beginning. The prince, having returned from doing various prince-type activities, is thirsty and stops at a cottage for a drink of water. A young lady (spoilers: it’s Cinderella) gives him a dipper of water from the well.
The second scene that stuck with me vividly is near the end. After the stepsisters had failed to get their feet into the shoes (clearly Cinderella had the smallest feet of any marriageable girl in the kingdom), from which effort Cinderella had been ordered into hiding, Cinderella is impelled to run out and once more offer him a dipper of water.
That’s all I remembered from it, but they were very vivid memories. It inspired me to take a look and I managed to identify the version as the Rogers and Hammerstein version, made in 1965. Not 40, but 53 years ago. I didn’t see it then, of course (or maybe I had, but I was only four years old and don’t remember), but at some later broadcast.
Curious, I looked over on Amazon and saw that not only did Amazon have it on Instant Video, but on Prime video: free to watch for Amazon Prime members (which I am).
I settled in to watch it and, oh, my. Yes, the scenes were as I remembered them. And everything else.
Without doubt this is my absolute favorite screen adaptation of the Cinderella story. I’m not a big fan of “love at first sight”. I mean, I have enough trouble with the concept of love at all–that it really exists and isn’t just something made up so Elvis Presley would have something to sing about. But I’ll go with it for the story.
From the first meeting of Prince and Cinderella (where we find out that the Prince is actually a nice guy) to Cinderella’s heartbreak at not going to the ball, to the Prince dealing with the many women competing for the Prince’s attention (and the way he deals shows, again, that he’s a nice guy), to his finally recognizing Cinderella (and it’s not when he puts the slipper on her foot, that’s just to show everyone else what he’d already figured out–can it be a spoiler in a 53 year old movie?) it’s one heartfelt scene after another.
I spend a lot of time thinking dark thoughts and looking at a world that convinces me that darkness is generally the way to bet. I can even enjoy darkness in my arts–the interplay of light and dark is where interest and passion lie. Nevertheless, the occasional shining beacon of light, of the unequivocally happy ending. Hey, even the “by midnight” thing was probably part of the Fairy Godmother’s scheme to make Cinderella happy–whet the Prince’s appetite, then make him work for it. 😉
Like I said, it’s free on Amazon prime. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can buy it for $8, rent it for $4. Well worth it.