Recently I began reading Melanie Dickerson’s upcoming novel, The Captive Maiden. Most of you know fairytales are a version of catnip. While I haven’t read any of Melanie’s prior novels, this one instantly snags my attention. The cover art alone is quite gorgeous, and immediately I set about obtaining a copy. Dickerson’s novels have a pattern; The Merchant’s Daughter retells the saga of Beauty and the Beast while The Fairest Beauty reimagines Snow White meeting her prince. This novel tells Cinderella’s story.
Thirty-some percent through the book has got me thinking – what are some of the numerous retelling’s I’ve seen that tell Cinderella’s story, and how do they stack up?
So, let’s look at some of the CInderella variations, shall we?
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Musicals are a hit or miss for me. Don’t get me wrong I adore the classics (or most of them) but I have to be in the “right mood” to watch a 3+ hour musical in which the players spontaneously burst into song – I mean, really? And we think our rom-coms today are sappy. Somehow, “you’re the one” doesn’t sound near as cheesy as a couple bursting into a romantic ballad while gazing into each other’s eyes.
On a whim, my family purchased The Slipper and the Rose; it’s a sweet 70’s interpretation of the classic saga. It’s been eons since last I saw this (proof of that is the clunky VHS tape we own). What I do seem to recall liking is the gorgeously staged ballroom scene. Oh, and there’s some pretty “meadow scenes” that creates a perfect set-up to my romantic teenage self. Disney’s telefilm (another musical rendition), Cinderella starring Brandy is not one I remember – at all! All I do know is it was appropriate for a family “movie night” and in all likelihood, I liked it.
Apart from the Disney animated flick, this may be one of the first versions of the fairytale my mom was cool with me seeing. Ever After is beautiful in a “unique” kind of way – true it has all the “same” things that make the story recognizable yet there is also a diamond-in-the-rough charm to the story. It’s got a feisty heroine who isn’t afraid to stand up to the Prince (not to mention throw apples at him!) plus the chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Dougary Scott is sweet. This one has never gotten “old,” and to me, is timeless.
+ The distinctive factor: instead of the hero protecting or saving his lady love, she procures her own freedom. Years ago I watched Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister on television and remembered LOVING it. Recently I got a hold of a copy and while it’s still entertaining, it isn’t near the movie I’d convinced myself. The filming is poor, some of the primary cast is miscast and the ending abrupt. That being said, it could do with a remake because the perspective and “new” angle is interesting; especially in the right producer or director’s hands.
+ The distinctive factor: Cinderella is not the main “focus.”
In my “research,” I learn Ella Enchanted is not “based” on a re-telling of Cinderella, proper however the book on which it is based is, and said book is an “imaginative re-telling.” Is it just me, or is that not basically the same thing as being a retelling…? Maybe it’s not, however it fits a little too good in my opinion – plus, how could it not be included on this list? The ending alone makes it worth watching!
+ The distinctive factor is that here, Ella has has a curse put on her in which she must obey every command. Between that and the quirky antics this is a perfect lighthearted flick.
ABC recently took a stab at re-introducing us to Cinderella in their live-action series, Once Upon a Time. At first I really liked this subplot on ‘Once.’ And actually, I still do. However because of how “artificial” the sets are in fairytale land, I much prefer Cinderella’s story in the Storybrooke (or the real) world. Played by Jessy Schram, Ashley (as is Cinder’s alter-ego in the real world) is an unwed, expectant mother unable to make do on her own. She’s also – quite shockingly – afraid of Rumple. She never does become a major story arc in the “big picture” of the show, however fortunately for her, she does get a happy ending and that’s good enough for me.
Disney rocks! In 2015 they are giving us yet another (live-action) version of the timeless tale. I’m still a bit rocky about their choice of a prince (and you can read more about that if you missed it just by searching the “Cinderella” tag here). However I’m going to give him the benefit of a doubt and am mainly excited about the rest of the case. Plus the recent teaser photo looks good. What say you about the new take on Cinderella? (Find the 2015 adaptation on Amazon Video)
That’s a wrap! Tell me, what are some of your favorite Cinderella classics? It doesn’t have to be a film, it can be a book… or a song… or a television show! Have a thought? Share below.