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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animated > Children > Fantasy > Fairytale > Cinderella: Diamond Edition (1951/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD and Digital Copy)

Cinderella: Diamond Edition (1951/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD and Digital Copy)


Picture: B+/B-     Sound: B/B-     Extras: B+     Film: B



We now revisit an animated Disney classic we covered on DVD a good few years ago as Cinderella: Diamond Edition which you can read all about at this link:





Disney has now issued a Blu-ray High Definition Diamond Edition and its playback performance easily makes all previous editions obsolete.  Even when it deviates from the original story, this animated version by Disney continues to be the definitive version that is ever-imitated and continues to be one of the most influential Fantasy genre and overall animated films ever made.  It also even continues to be one of the most profitable animated films ever made.


I will leave some polder details (including that of the old, long out of print 12” LaserDisc editions) to the text of the previous review, but it remains part of the long history of the film as a classic and how many people first saw it.  This time, I will concentrate on the film in a different way.


If many of the criticisms and deconstructions are valid on some level, and spoofs (like Adam Ant’s great Music Video for Prince Charming, which actually has two versions on his recent U.K. PAL DVD set) play on the familiarity of the film and its classic storyline, how does the film survive onto itself?  Is it because it is so seamlessly done (possible rotoscoping not included)?  Is it because people like the flow of the storytelling and the memorable music?  Is it because it is just so well made that it is remarkable it holds up 61+ years later and is a key part of the Disney identity and legacy?


Those can all be answered with a valid yes, no matter what the degree you may agree or disagree with it, but as in all of Walt Disney’s best and most enduring work, even when he was not pushing the artform as he did in Fantasia, he did go out of his way to have the most nuanced animated films.  That includes an advanced use of color, occurrently surreal designs and moments and finding ways to add depth and even soul to the classic tales so they were more than recycling a book or a myth or a formula.


The films have a certain warmth and completeness that, besides the book-like narrative economy in all Classical Hollywood narrative films, is about doing just about every scene well, thoroughly and completely, then adding more without covering up or ruining the simplicity that accounts for the warmth and full feel of the best classic Disney animated features.  That is more apparent than ever seeing this restored edition for which the current Disney Company has spared no expense.


Disney put the money into the films, had the artists and used all the technologies at his disposal (rotoscoping, tri-planes for animated cells and real Technicolor among others) and with WWII and all the propaganda projects behind him, he and his team are really able to get back to the basics that made the studio possible in the first place.  Though I have seen the film a few times over the years, including that DVD release a while ago, seeing it on Blu-ray is almost like never having seen it before because more than most restorations, it is almost flawless and for the first time since pre-1975 (when no more real Technicolor prints were made of the film), you can really appreciate what was achieved here as the studio came out of the ashes of a nearly devastating World War.  The film artistically represents the return of the repressed and Walt Disney would remain in total control and thrive all around until we lost him.


This film is one of the key reasons why.



The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is far superior to all previous releases of the film with the best color and definition reproduction you will see outside of a good film print, with the color range amazing and so close to a dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor 35mm film print version of the film that it is shocking.  There are a few moments where it is not like film and some points of color saturation are not fully of the red, white and black you would get in the best Technicolor prints, , but you can see for the most part how great it must have looked in such copies.


Only diehard fans and collectors of the film and Technicolor film prints will fully notice the difference and that will be few.  Otherwise, it is as stunning a classic animated Disney release as you are going to find on Blu-ray.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix further expands the idea of the 5.1 mix from the older DVD included here and is the first time the film has been available in a lossless or DTS format.  As a result, the music sounds better than it ever did, you can hear the sound elements as clearly and cleanly as possible and though some sound is towards the front speakers, this was a optical monophonic theatrical release (a restored version of that track is actually included) so purists will be as happy as home theater fans.  In DTS 7.1 for me, the film has never sounded better and never will.


As far as extras are concerned, the DVD is the again same as the previously reviewed edition with its 1.33 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix at best while extras featured on the original DVD release include two deleted scenes, three games sections including DVD-ROM use, stills, six teasers/trailers that cover the original and several re-releases, six film-based featurettes, the original 1922 Laugh-O-Grams short Walt Disney made on Cinderella and a four-part Music & More section that includes seven songs not used for the film and three radio sections as TV was only just arriving are back as that disc is here.


This new set adds a Digital Copy disc for PC and PC portable devices, while the Blu-ray adds the DisneyView function in HD, a new HD intro by Diane Disney Miller, an Alternate Opening in HD, a Personalized Digital Storybook in HD and, a new short called Tangled Ever After in HD, all of which expand an already loaded release.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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