Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Cinderella - Special Edition

Cinderella – Special Edition


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B     Film: B



Just when you thought everything was out on DVD, which is far from the case, another classic arrives.  Cinderella – Special Edition is yet another key American film finally arriving on DVD after only being released previously on tape and even 12” LaserDisc for limited periods.  At one time, the company said they would never issue their classics on home video of any kind, but that policy changed a long time ago and a set this good makes everyone happy it did.


The 1950 classic was a key commercial and critical success for the company, still smaller than even the smallest studios at the time (they were bigger than Monogram!) and in their RKO distribution deal, they were struggling to survive the post-World War II malaise all the companies were.  They would survive RKO, Monogram and television.  Though it may seem like Cinderella was their first film since it defines so much of what the company decided their artistic and corporate identity would be.  However, Disney was an expanding and developing company, not one that was just built in a few months like some strip mall.


This film has been the target of all kinds of celebration and revisionist criticism since, especially from Feminists who find the film anti-woman or anti-female, but closer examination 55 years later shows otherwise.  Certainly, the film and Disney Company have never hid the fact that this was a fantasy and fairy tale picture, while any claim that this is ideologically sinister is wrong.  If anything, the film is rather bold.


Beginning with a brief description of the happy family, as Cinderella and her loving father marries another woman with two children, only for him to pass away prematurely like her mother did a few years before.  The stepmother turns out to be exploitive and diabolical, a legacy she passes on to her ignorant, idiotic, dysfunctional daughters.  Feminists would argue that the stepmother is possibly and implicitly a lesbian stereotype (angry, suppressed sexuality as hostility) hating a beautiful, feminine, happy young woman (Cinderella) with regrets.  Her daughters are following an immoral example, minus much of the sexuality issues, while Cinderella is always a nice “good girl” who even stays happy while essentially a house slave to the evil stepfamily who wants to destroy her dreams and future.  There are very dark moments about that which will surprise those who trivialize the film and other directions these issues could be taken, but that would be incidental to this film.


Yes, there is a danger in perpetuating a “good girl” expectation for any women in a society that has too much misogyny, but there is a flipside to that.  Cinderella may be dangerously oblivious to evil and may be a tad in the clouds, yet because she has her individuality, heart and soul together, she ironically has the best chance to survive the ugly legacy of people who are not on her side, imprison her, hate her and do not deserve to have a better tomorrow.  She deserves The Magic Kingdom because she is more than ready for it and long overdue to receive entry into it and highly deserving of its benefits.  That is the crux and basic truth that has kept the film timeless and one of the most important feature films (animated so nicely at that) that we will ever from Disney.  Add the wonderful side characters, the music, the device of the glass slipper, the pacing & well-timed comedy and its no wonder it remains such an achievement.  Too bad so many of the imitators missed the mature, intelligent, dark side of this work of art, which is why most of them miss the boat in trying to imitate Cinderella.  It is more of a one of a kind work than you’d think.


The 1.33 X 1 image is restored and for the most part, looks very good.  The film is one of the early gems of three-strip Technicolor production in animation, but this is not such a transfer or print.  However, the colors often come close to looking that good and like Sleeping Beauty (reviewed elsewhere on this site) is a solid second place behind such coveted prints.  The sound is here in its original monophonic version as Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, but the Dolby 5.1 remix is impressive for a film from 1950.  The DTS Company restored the sound, but it is not DTS on this disc, which is a mistake.  Otherwise, this is a top-notch presentation.


Extras are many, but DVD 1 only has previews for newer Disney DVDs, three Music Videos and an ESPN tip of the hat; all the more reason DTS could have fit.  DVD 2 has the bulk of the goodies, including two deleted scenes, three games activity 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.  Once again, when Disney sets it mind to it, they pull out all the stops for a Special Edition.  This is a real collector’s item that will only be available, as usual, for a limited time.  In this case, it really is special and unique enough to value highly.  Cinderella – Special Edition is a serious Disney collectible and one of the great animated films.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com