Wednesday, November 16, 2011

If the shoe fits - Cinderella adaptations

I haven't done the research but I would venture to guess that Cinderella has been adapted more often than any other fairy tale in the world, including plays, opera, ballets, novels, films, song lyrics and even jump rope rhymes! I think someone on the DVD featurette claimed there are over 90,000. Beat that.

I certainly have not examined the whole breadth of adaptations out there, but I thought since it is such a popular story, I'd mention a couple favorites.

Ella Enchanted, 1997 young adult novel by Gail Carson Levine

The main difference in this story is that Ella is cursed as a baby, and so she is forced to obey any command given to her (for example, if someone told her "Go jump off a cliff" she would have to do it). Her struggle to overcome this highly dangerous curse paired with the friendship she develops with Prince Charmont (nicknamed "Char") makes this story unique and touching. I highly recommend the book! (Movie starring Anne Hathaway, not so much, though it does have some fun musical numbers.)

Ever After, 1999 film starring Drew Barrymore

Of course, a Cinderella story made in the 90s has to have a strong-willed fiery character as its heroine. Drew Barrymore, despite her weird British/French/generic-olden-days accent, fits the bill pretty well. I really like this version and have probably seen this movie more times than I've seen the Disney version! The romantic storyline is drawn out much more heavily, and I like that Danielle (the name they give Cinderella) draws Prince Henry out from being a whiny spoiled brat, to a motivated leader. There is less of a Gospel theme here, but I am quite the sucker for romantic comedies. (I guess it's not a full-on comedy but there are a lot of funny moments.)


Cinderella, 1974 Disney's Wonderful World of Reading children's book

So, this isn't really its own version, but I wanted to mention it because this book holds special meaning to me. This is the very book from which I learned how to read as a three-year-old! While I was home at my parents' this week I found the two copies we own. Both have my named crayoned proudly across the cover and one has crayon on nearly every page. The books are both taped up at the spine and on other pages from being read so often. When I think of Disney Cinderella, this is what I think of, more than the movie itself. It is a cherished part of my childhood, counting for several bedtime stories read to me by my mom, and eventually read by myself as I basically memorized the entire book, learning to read along the way.
Apparently I thought Cinderella's dresses needed some embellishments.
Although nearly every country has its own classic version of Cinderella, somehow Disney's version has become the most recognized and iconic. I'm not sure if it's the infectious songs like Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, the adorably hilarious mice, the stepsisters that give ugly a whole new meaning, or the magical moment when Cinderella and the Prince dance through the palace. Perhaps it is all of them combined. Or, maybe it's simply the magic of Disney.

What's your favorite Cinderella story?

1 comment:

  1. That's so cool that you found the Cinderella book from your childhood!

    One of my favorite versions of Cinderella is the 1965 television version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (I had to look that up on wikipedia). I think we had this recorded on VHS and we watched it a lot when we were kids. I haven't seen it in a long time but I just saw that they have some clips on youtube.