Back in the 1950s, Walt Disney was a huge hit when it came to making animated films. The production house had gone through severe financial losses in the mid to late 1940s. Movies like Fantasia and Pinocchio did not achieve much success. However, with the release of Cinderella, things got a bit better and Walt Disney gained the confidence it needed to come up with several hits in the future.
Cinderella was the biggest hit of its time and received positive reviews both from the fans and critics. So let’s go back in history and see what made the movie so special.
While she is young, Cinderella’s widowed father marries Lady Tremaine who is herself a widowed mother with two daughters. Jealous of her stepdaughter’s duty, she throws her in an attic and orders her to do different chores.
Her two stepsisters also took advantage and made it difficult for her to get things done. In the meantime, Cinderella continues doing the chores since she is kind at heart and makes friends with mice and birds.
One day, the King grows tired of his son not being able to provide grandchildren. Therefore, he invites all the eligible maidens to choose one as his wife. Cinderella gets ready for the event while the animals fix the dress for her. Realizing that Cinderella might take over the event, the stepsisters keep her busy until finally tearing the dress to pieces.
Upon finding Cinderella crying, the Fairy Godmother visits and provides her with all the necessities for the event. She even turns the mice into four white horses. However, she warns that the magic spell will end at midnight.
Cinderella arrives at the event and no one is able to recognize her not even her stepfamily. The prince sets his eyes on her. As a result, both the Prince and Cinderella wander out into the palace grounds. But when Cinderella hears the midnight clock ticking, she tries to flee the palace while losing a slipper.
Although the Prince sends guards to find her but as the spell broke, Cinderella along with the animals were able to hide from them in a forest. The Prince swears that he will marry the girl to whom the lost shoe belongs.
Meanwhile, Lady Tremaine overhears Tremaine Cinderella humming the waltz and realizes that she is the mystery girl. She locks Cinderella in an Attic. While her friends try to rescue her, the step family’s cat Lucifer tries to stop them. Then, Bruno is called upto the scene who chases Lucifer until he falls out of a window. While the Grand Duke is about to leave, Cinderella is set free. While Lady Tremaine tries to present the shoe, it shatters.
Cinderella arrives with her second shoe, which fits her perfectly and the Prince marries her, setting off in a white carriage for their honeymoon.
Cinderella following Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the greatest box-office success, earning more than $8 million. Once its original run ended, the movie had collected $4.28 million in North American distribution rentals. As a result, the movie became the fifth-highest grossing film released in North America in 1950.
The film is France’s sixteenth biggest film of all time with 13.2 million tickets sold. The profits gained from the movie enabled Disney to continue producing films throughout the 50s. Overall, the film proved to be a huge success of its time catering to almost all age types.
Not only was Cinderella a hit amongst the fans and viewers but also critics. The film had received the best reception since Dumbo. Director Michael Curtiz wrote a personal letter to Disney hailing the film as a “masterpiece”. The film was credited for perfectly balancing the colors, characters, and music.
However, Cinderella’s characterization received mixed responses. According to some, it could have been better but later down the road the reviews only got better. For instance, the review aggregator of Rotten Tomatoes recorded an approval rate of 97% rating based on 35 reviews.
Walt Disney hit the jackpot with Cinderella. The movie was ahead of its time and the directors had managed to pull off a risky move despite facing losses in the previous years. Several other versions and movies including Cinderella have been released, making it one of the most popular animated characters to date. And with the rise of animation technology, the character is not going away anytime soon.