If you love nothing more than whiling away an afternoon with a good musical or burying your nose in a book of fairytales, then The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella would make the ideal addition to your movie collection.
If you love nothing
more than whiling away an afternoon with a good musical or burying your nose in
a book of fairytales, then The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella would make the ideal addition to
your movie collection.
The King of Euphrania has arranged for his only son, Prince
Edward, to marry – but Edward is less than happy with his father’s choice and longs
to marry a woman he loves. Elsewhere
in the kingdom, following the death of her father, Cinderella suffers at the
hands of her cruel stepmother and vain, selfish stepsisters as she is forced to
work as their servant. But then things
begin to change for Cinderella as a strange, sweet lady offers her assistance –
with the help of a little magic.
This fairy godmother helps Cinderella with the impossible chores set by
her stepmother, as well as to attend the Royal Ball where she falls in love
with Prince Edward. But this is
not the end of Cinderella’s toils, as the probability of war between Euphrania
and its neighbouring country without a political marriage hinders the happily
ever after she and her Prince long for.
This telling of the story of Cinderella is almost true to
the original fairytale in the same way as Ever
After: A Cinderella Story with
Dougray Scott and Drew Barrymore. Richard
Chamberlain’s Prince Edward is stubborn and wilful, refusing to conform to
his royal role, while Gemma Craven’s
Cinderella is sweet and vulnerable, but could do with the bit of tenacity shown
in Barrymore’s Cinderella. Margaret Lockwood plays the wicked stepmother
well, but never quite reaches the sinister, manipulative streak that Angelica Houston brought to the
role. Annette Crosbie is wonderful as the fairy godmother – this time
with a few interesting character differences. The Prince finds his love in a more conventional, realistic
way with the glass slipper and they don’t live happily ever after right away,
but Cinderella does of course get the sparkling, pink dress and glittering, glass
slippers of every little girl’s dreams.
The Slipper and the Rose was filmed in Austria and so is
immersed in a Sound of Music picturesque
setting of snow, sumptuous greens and clear, blue skies. There is a particularly beautiful scene
with Cinderella on a garden swing that appears as if it has been taken straight
from a picture postcard. In fact
it was based upon the painting ‘The
Swing’ by Jean-Honoré Fragonard and
this is apparent, with Cinderella in lavish costume and the setting rich with
colour. Everything in this film is
extravagant and exaggerated, with not an ounce of subtlety. But then, this is everything a musical
fairytale should be – romantic, idealistic and set in a world of opulence in
which you can lose yourself.
The musical score in this film was written by the fantastic Sherman Brothers, the composers
responsible for the music in classics such as ‘Mary Poppins’ ‘Bedknobs and
Broomsticks’ and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang
Bang’ and their particular style is very noticeable. The musical numbers are never quite as
catchy as ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ or ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,’ but they have
the same sense of fun and romance.
In fact the music was nominated for two Oscars, a Golden Globe and a
Bafta award. There are a lot of
laughs in this film, particularly with Michael
Hordern as the blundering King and Edith
Edwins as the senile and selectively deaf queen mother. Julian
Orchard is hilarious as Edward’s cousin, Montague, prancing about in
pretentious grandeur. He cannot
contain his excitement about the prospect of finding his own future wife at the
ball as he declares ‘I mean, I realise I won’t have first pick but that doesn’t
matter to me because I’m not proud – I’m just desperate.’
The Slipper and the Rose does not quite match up to the
magic of Disney, but it is still a
delight with its rich, fairytale loveliness. It is like going to the theatre at home and the ideal Sunday
afternoon movie – watch it with tea and cake.