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Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton
Writing Credits:
Ken Anderson, Homer Brightman, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Harry Reeves, Joe Rinaldi, Ted Sears

When Cinderella's cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother. MPAA:
Rated G

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English DTS-HD MA 1.0
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 76 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/25/2019

• “In Walt’s Words” Commentary
• DisneyView
• “Try This Trivia On For Size” Featurette
• Introduction
• “From Rags to Riches” Documentary
• “The Cinderella That Almost Was” Featurette
• “The Magic of the Glass Slipper” Featurette
• “The Real Fairy Godmother” Featurette
• Alternate Opening Sequence
• Storyboard to Film Comparison
• “Cinderella” Title Song Demo
• “A Tribute to Disney’s Nine Old Men” Featurette
• “The Art of Mary Blair” Featurette
• “A New Disney Princess Fantasyland” Featurette
• 1922 Cinderella Short
• Excerpt from 1/24/56 Mickey Mouse Club
• Radio Programs
• Trailers
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Cinderella: Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray] (1950)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 16, 2019)

From 1937 to 1942, Walt Disney’s animation studios cranked out one classic after another. In that span, they made Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. Some are better than others, of course, but each maintains a place among the roster of the all-time great animated flicks.

So what did Disney do for an encore? Not much.

Hamstrung by World War II and other factors, Disney needed to cut back their operations, so eight years passed before they made a true feature film. Oh sure – they put out feature-length offerings in that time, but none of them maintained a single storyline ala four of the five classics I mentioned.

Instead, Disney relied on compilations, musical sketches and extended shorts to make up hodge-podge films like Saludos Amigos, Make Mine Music and Fun and Fancy Free. These pieces were often entertaining in their own right, but they didn’t compare with the artistry and splendor of their predecessors.

Disney finally returned to form in 1950 with Cinderella. A film that echoed the fairy tale structure of Snow White, it reminded audiences of what Disney could do with the needed time and money. It also launched a second “Golden Age” of Disney animation, as the studio would crank out many a great film over the following decade or so.

We meet young adult Cinderella (voiced by Ilene Woods), a lovely and cheerful babe who lives with her unpleasant stepmother Lady Tremaine (Eleanor Audley) and selfish, ugly stepsisters Anastasia (Lucille Bliss) and Drizella (Rhoda Williams). They make her submit to their every whim, though the ever-cheerful Cindy maintains a good attitude and makes friends with the local animals.

She mainly parties with the mice, and the flick introduces a new rodent to the gang: a portly specimen she dubs Gus (James McDonald). He pals around with established critter Jaq (McDonald) and the pair become Cindy’s right-hand vermin.

She’ll need them when her stepmom turns even nastier than usual. The King (Luis Van Rooten) decides to throw a homecoming party for his son the Prince (William Phipps).

However, the King has an ulterior motive: he craves grandkids, so he orders every eligible female in the realm to attend in the hopes that one will entice the Prince to settle down and set his sperm a-flowing.

Of course, Lady Tremaine and her brats don’t want sexy Cindy at the party, so they make it almost impossible for her to attend. When she bucks the odds and jumps through all the requisite hoops, the stepsisters ruin her dress and leave her with no more options.

At her lowest point, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother (Verna Felton) appears and spiffs her up so her can go to the ball. The rest of the flick follows those events and their repercussions.

Without question, Cinderella owes a lot to Snow White, as the movies have many similarities. Both include fairly bland heroines as well as lackluster leading men, evil women who work against them, and a cast of quirky helpers. Magic becomes a substantial part of the two flicks, as neither could work without the supernatural.

That said, Cinderella stands on its own and doesn’t come across as a remake of the earlier classic. (The same can’t be said for 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, a less enchanting flick that often feels like a combination of Cinderella and Snow White.) Indeed, while it lacks its predecessor’s lavishness and groundbreaking quality, it may well surpass the 1937 movie for sheer charm and entertainment.

Sure, Cinderella presents a thin plot as well as another lackluster heroine. But who cares? The rest of the movie more than makes up for those minor flaws with a mix of spunk, cleverness and old-fashioned heart.

Disney often gets criticized for their comedic sidekicks, and they’ve earned some of those knocks. 82 years after Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs – the original comic relief sidekicks – the studio continues to use nutty partners to balance out their films’ more serious lead characters.

Actually, virtually all the animation studios do this as well, so you’ll find wacky sidekicks in non-Disney movies like Shrek and almost any other animated effort you can conjure. These long ago became an expected commodity, so they often feel more rote than inspired.

In discussions of classic animated sidekicks, I don’t think we often hear the names Gus and Jaq, though we should. For me, they’re easily the highlight of the film.

They’re consistently funny, sweet and lovable, but they never become a distraction or threaten to overshadow the story. They truly add to the tale and make it much more winning.

We get a feel for their presence in the movie’s first act, as that portion of the flick doesn’t do a whole lot to advance the plot. We see Cindy and the animals in day-to-day activities, but it takes a while before we formally meet “modern-day” Lady Tremaine and the sisters. A prologue introduces them in storybook fashion, but they don’t formally appear on screen until about 20 minutes into the flick.

Given their importance to the story, that’s a long wait, especially since the prior bits don’t move along the plot. They’re moderately important to set up characters, but one could easily argue that we don’t need quite so much of that material. These aren’t deep personalities with rich relationships - it’s a happy maid and some barnyard animals, for God’s sake.

While the extended introductory sequence probably should become tiresome, it never does. That’s due to the great charm of what we see on screen. The interactions between Cindy and the animals are just so much fun, I can’t begrudge the movie its languid pacing in the first act.

Once we formally meet Tremaine and her girls, the tale kicks into higher gear and continues to be very satisfying. It helps that the combination of Audley’s voice and Frank Thomas’s animation makes Tremaine a particularly compelling villain. She lacks the magical powers of Snow White’s Queen or Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent – also performed by Audley – but she’s clearly their equal in evil.

Heck, Tremaine might be their superior in that regard because we can more easily relate to her. The others are more fantasy creatures, while Tremaine exists in the real world. Yeah, it’s a real world with Fairy Godmothers and singing rodents, but still, she’s clearly viewed a as a regular human, not a magical figure.

Tremaine acts against Cinderella for no real gain of her own. She’s simply mean and spiteful, so she goes out of her way to ruin Cindy’s life just for the fun of it.

The movie depicts her cool bitterness and cruelty exceedingly well and makes her arguably the scariest of all Disney villains. I don’t know anyone who can turn into a dragon like Maleficent, but I’ve met women like Tremaine.

Ultimately, there’s very little about which to complain when I assess Cinderella. It may not present the visual glories of some earlier Disney works, and its plot meanders at times. None of this matters a lick, for the action on screen and the characters delight and entertain on a consistent basis. Zuk zuk!

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Cinderella appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a consistently appealing presentation.

Sharpness always looked strong. Very few signs of softness materialized, as the vast majority of the film appeared tight and concise.

Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no concerns, and I noticed no signs of edge enhancement. As for print flaws, I detected no problems, so the image was clean and fresh.

Colors appeared lush and full. The movie went with a fairly pastel palette that the disc depicted well. The tones seemed smooth and rich.

Black levels seemed nicely deep and dark, and shadow detail was fine. Contrast was solid as well, as whites were pure and clean. Don’t expect any problems from this excellent transfer.

The DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Cinderella proved less satisfying to me, largely because I don’t think it added anything to the experience beyond what we’d get from the original monaural mix, which also appeared here. The soundfield stayed pretty close to the center.

Virtually all singing and dialogue emerged from the middle speaker, and most effects remained there as well. It was the music that expanded to the forward right and left channels, with surprisingly heavy reinforcement of the tunes in the rears.

At no point did I note any particularly discrete audio from the front or rear sides; the music in the speakers offered a mildly stereophonic impression, but I couldn't point out a single instance in which I heard a particular distinguishable sound from any of the non-center speakers. The side and rear channels simply echoed the music and didn’t issue clean stereo imaging.

Audio quality seemed fine for its age. Considering the era, speech sounded pretty natural and firm. The lines were slightly thin but not bad given the circumstances of the period. They lacked any edginess and were consistently crisp and intelligible.

Music failed to demonstrate great range but seemed acceptably smooth and clear. I wouldn’t call the score and songs rich or vibrant, but they seemed pretty distinctive for material from 1950.

Effects followed suit and sounded clean but unexceptional. I noticed no distortion and thought they represented the original audio well. Cinderella didn’t use many effects anyway, so they were a very minor factor. Bass response seemed acceptable for the era.

Overall, this was a perfectly listenable track, but again, I didn’t understand what purpose it served other than so Disney could market it with a “new and improved” mix. Sometimes I like multichannel remixes, but this one didn’t do it for me.

The way the music spread broadly to all the channels became a minor distraction, one that didn’t add anything to the experience. I listened to the 7.1 track for this review but in the future, I’ll definitely stick with the more satisfying monaural mix.

How did this Blu-ray compare to the original BD from 2012? Both seem identical, and I strongly suspect the 2019 disc simply reused the transfer made for the older release.

As a form of commentary, we get a new feature called In Walt’s Words. This takes transcripts from story meetings for the film and has voice actors re-enact the remarks made by a mix of participants.

We hear comments from Walt Disney, assistant director Larry Lansburgh, artist Mary Blair, animating directors Ward Kimball, Norm Ferguson, Milt Kahl and Marc Davis, production supervisor Ben Sharpsteen, directors Hamilton Luske and Wilfred Jackson, animation department manager Ken Peterson, musical director Oliver Wallace, and writers Joe Rinaldi, Bill Peed, Ted Sears, Dick Huemer, Winston Hibler, Homer Brightman, Hal Adelquist, Erdman Penner and Ken Anderson.

“Words” essentially follows the elements of the movie in the order they appear on screen. This means we trace a wide variety of aspects connected to the film’s creation and development. In addition to the comments, we see development materials, rough animation, sketches, photos and research footage.

“Words” gives us the impression that we’re there with Walt and the others, and it follows the movie’s development in an absolutely fascinating manner. It allows a “fly on the wall” feeling and shows us concepts and discussions in a concrete and rich way.

Virtually every part of it works, though some are better than other. Disney fans should have a blast as they listen to this terrific program.

One unusual “bonus”: something called the DisneyView Presentation. Also found on a few other releases, it provides complementary artwork to fill the black bars on the sides of 16X9 TVs.

This sounds tacky, but it actually works pretty well. The art meshes nicely and doesn’t distract from the film. It also helps avoid potential “burn in” problems on your set, as the art remains dark, but it’s not black and it changes. It’s a clever way to frame the movie.

Also new to the 2019 Blu-ray, Try This Trivia On For Size runs four minutes, 48 seconds and features Disney Channel actors Ruth Righi and Ava Kolker. They give us some obscure notes about the film. The presentation tends to be obnoxious, but they bring a few fun insights.

An Introduction from Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller goes for one minute, 16 seconds. She leads us into the movie but mostly promotes the Disney Family Museum. It’s a forgettable clip.

A few more featurettes ensue. The Real Fairy Godmother runs 11 minutes, 50 seconds and offers comments from animation historian Paula Sigman Lowery, Mary Alice O’Connor’s children Joan-Patricia and John O’Connor, animation director Mark Kirkland, retired Walt Disney Company Community Relations VP Tillie J. Baptie, and art director/layout artist Ed Ghertner.

The program tells us about Mary Alice O’Connor, wife of Disney artist Ken O’Connor and the real-life inspiration for Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. This is a pleasant piece but not particularly fascinating, partly because it’s not as closely tied to Cinderella as one might expect.

Hosted by actor Ginnifer Goodwin, Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fantasyland lasts eight minutes, 17 seconds and features Director Project Management Mark Kohl, Senior Concept Designer – Director Chris Beatty, Senior Concept Designer Ted Robledo, Senior Project Manager Tim Warzecha, and Director Creative Development David Minichiello. Here we learn about the major expansion to Disney World’s Fantasyland. As a major WDW fan, I’m happy to see this teaser, but make no mistake: the program’s just a long advertisement.

Next comes the 10-minute, three-second The Magic of the Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story. It gives us a short film that focuses on shoe designer Christian Louboutin and his design of a glass slipper – or something like that. It attempts a lot of magic but delivers little beyond pointless self-indulgence.

An Alternate Opening Sequence fills one minute, 13 seconds. It mixes storyboards and audio to show an unused scene in which Cinderella discusses why she doesn’t run away from home. It’s nothing much but it’s fun to see.

A demo recording of the “Cinderella” Title Song lasts two minutes, 15 seconds. It sounds more like a dirge than a romantic opening tune. I’m sure a polished take would be stronger, but I can’t say this one seems like a loss.

Three Radio Programs arrive as well. We hear excerpts from “Village Store” (aired 3/25/48, two minutes, 35 seconds) and “Gulf Oil Presents (1950, 5:26) plus “Scouting the Stars (2/23/50, 4:25).

“Store” is the most interesting since it comes from the same day Ilene Woods won her role. She gets congratulated and croons “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

“Oil” also focuses on Woods. She tells a sugary version of her casting as well as her work on the film. She also performs “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes”.

Finally, “Stars” offers even more of Woods’ tale. All three are enjoyable to hear.

Next we go to From Rags to Riches: The Making of Cinderella. The 38-minute, 27-second documentary includes archival footage, movie clips, and comments from film historians John Culhane, Christopher Finch, John Canemaker, animators Andreas Deja, Marc Davis, Mark Henn, Ollie Johnston, Ward Kimball, Frank Thomas, Milt Kahl and Glen Keane, composer Richard M. Sherman, film critic Joel Siegel, filmmaker Garry Marshall, voice actors Ilene Woods, Lucille Bliss and Mike Douglas, and University of Alabama Professor of Musicology Dr. Daniel Goldmark.

The program examines the selection of the story, the status of Disney Studios at the time of its production, the animators called the “Nine Old Men” and their work on Cinderella, the use of live-action reference material, the voice cast, and the movie’s score and songs. “Rags” deals with its topics in a somewhat scattershot way.

Really, it’s four separate connected featurettes and not one well-integrated documentary. That said, it offers a nice collection of notes.

The discussion of the animation is excellent, and I also rather like the look at the actors and the way we see the progression of audio in Disney efforts. There’s a lot of good stuff on display here.

Next we find The Cinderella That Almost Was. This 12-minute, 34-second program recreates notes for production meetings conducted between 1946 and 1948.

Hahn introduces and narrates it as we go through a history of the project. We also hear from Culhane, Davis, Johnston, Siegel, Kimball, layout artist Ken O’Connor, and quotes from story meeting transcripts recorded in the Forties.

We hear about a mix of elements considered for the film but not used. The featurette provides an entertaining and informative view of different paths the story might have taken.

We learn more about the legendary animators in From Walt’s Table: A Tribute to Disney’s Nine Old Men. Hosted by Joel Siegel, the 22-minute, nine-second show presents remarks from Deja, Keane, Henn, Hahn, producer/director John Musker, director Brad Bird, and producer/director Ron Clements. We also get some archival clips from the Nine Old Men themselves.

The main participants sit together at a round table in a restaurant where Disney and the Men used to lunch. They chat about the Disney films that were early influences and their initial experiences with various Men, facets of their work, and many memories of the Men. We learn how they directly and indirectly impacted the modern animators and get a fine look at the Disney legends. It’s a warm and engaging discussion.

After this comes The Art of Mary Blair. A 14-minute, 58-second featurette, it includes comments from Keane, Henn, Canemaker, Deja, Culhane, Sherman, Disney Animation Research Library director Lella Smith, director Pete Docter, DisneyToon Studios production art director Frederick Cline, art director Michael Giaimo, costume designer Alice Davis, and production designer Lou Romano.

We learn about her early life and interest in art, how she ended up at Disney and her work at the studio. The show covers facets of her creations and offers an appreciation for her art. We get a nice look at all that she did for Disney and learn more about how much she influenced various productions and other artists.

A Storyboard to Film Comparison presents elements for the “Opening Sequence”. It runs six-minutes, 49 seconds as the piece presents the art in the top left of the screen and the movie in the bottom right. This becomes a fun way to check out the two stages, especially since it also includes some photos of the live-action reference elements.

For a fun archival feature, we get the 1922 Cinderella Laugh-O-Gram. It goes for seven minutes, 24 seconds.

Obviously it presents a much simpler version of the story along with very crude animation. It includes some bizarre scenes like jitterbugging bears and makes a strange choice in that both Cinderella and the Prince look like they’re about 10 years old. It’s fun to see as a historical curiosity, but I doubt you’ll want to watch it twice.

The disc heads into the homestretch with an Excerpt from 1/24/56 Mickey Mouse Club. In this three-minute, 55-second clip, Helene Stanley – the live-action reference for Cinderella – chats with the Mouseketeers and acts out a scene from the flick.

She recruits the ‘Teers to play the most annoying mice in the history of the world. This makes for another mildly interesting oddball piece but it’s not anything stunning.

Finally, the disc presents a collection of Trailers. This domain features the original 1950 ad along with reissue promos from 1965, 1973, 1981 and 1987. Note that two trailers accompany the 1987 re-release.

The 1950 trailer is a bit of a disappointment, as it’s a very brief teaser, but the others are good to see. I like to watch trailers from over the years as they demonstrate how the art of advertisements changes in various eras.

The disc opens with ads for Toy Story 4 and The Little Mermaid.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Cinderella. It lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.

Cinderella would deserve a special place in animation history simply because it revived the fortunes at Disney. However, it’s more than that, as the flick is still as charming and winning now as it was 62 years ago. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals along with adequate audio and a reasonably interesting set of supplements. Fans who already own the 2012 Blu-ray won’t need this one, but for those with no Cinderella in their collections, it’s a good purchase.

To rate this film visit the Special Platinum Edition review of CINDERELLA

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main