October 11, 2013 23 Comments

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.

THE EVOLUTION OF CINDERELLA. Chatting about the various versions of Cinderella and how its evolved. All text is © Rissi JC

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.”  

FILM REVIEW | Disney’s ‘Mulan’ Misses a Really Unique and Nostalgic Opportunity
THE EVOLUTION OF CINDERELLA. Chatting about the various versions of Cinderella and how its evolved. All text is © Rissi JC

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. 

Once Upon A Time Cinderella

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.

THE EVOLUTION OF CINDERELLA. Chatting about the various versions of Cinderella and how its evolved. All text is © Rissi JC | Lily James as Cinderella

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.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Rosie Wilson October 11, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    The version with Brandy is a family favorite of ours. We sing the songs randomly on occasion. It's a cute flick. Ever After is another one we like in our house. I wouldn't say it's a favorite, but if we happen to catch it on TV, we watch it. I personally thought it is the best film I've seen with Drew, not that I've seen many. Ella Enchanted, the book, is supposed to be even better than the movie- one that I thought forever was simply awesome. I read Fairest, which is set in the same world as Ella's, and it was pretty good.
    Ah, Once! Love, love, love, this show if for nothing else but the writing and plot twists. Their Cinderella story is cute, and I liked the twist. :-)

    Wow, I guess there are many Cinderella-ish retellings out there. Haha! Great post, Rissi.

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      It's been forever since seeing the version that starred Brandy. I simply cannot remember it. However if I know my younger self, in all likelihood I adored it. Particularly since Disney princesses were always "my thing." :)

      Love Ever After and many of Drew's other films. My aunt is like you though; she's not Drew's biggest fan.

      As a book Ella Enchanted is cute. I read it years ago after seeing the film and liked both though there are differences. The movie is one of those I like to watch when I want to take a cinematic trip down memory lane. I've heard of Fairest… someday, I should read it. :)

      I love 'Once' also. I think overall, the Storybrooke stories are my favorite because the special effects are painfully bad sometimes. So far, that hasn't stopped me from loving it though! Glad you enjoy the show, too.

      I know! Plus there are a ton of retellings I didn't talk about; and how many books!? :) Thanks for joining in – I thought this was a fun way to "end" the posting for the week.

  • Melissa Tagg October 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    I am all about the Disney cartoon. I just love it…the mice are my favorite. :)

    I've wondered recently if I should give Once another chance. I watched about 5-6 episodes of the first season but just couldn't get into it. Yet I know so many people who love it. Thinking I should re-try. :)

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 12:15 AM

      Aw, who could not love little Gus!? :)

      Honestly, I understand you giving up 'Once,' Melissa. Don't get me wrong I adore it, but heavens! The special effects are painfully bad sometimes. Most the time even the acting cannot distract from that. It's assets are the Storybrooke stories plus the cast and of course, the clever ways writer's incorporate so many fairytales. I'm not willing to give it up because it's so sweet, but sometimes I want to slap the writer's for the silliness! ;)

  • Kristin October 11, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    This is ironic, because I've been in a bit of a Cinderella mindset over the past few days. :) I rewatched the classic Disney film (and just put up a review today) and stumbled across the info about the remake, which I had forgotten about.

    I haven't seen the Brandy version, but I just recently saw the 1950s Rogers and Hammerstein Julie Andrews version (the Brandy one is a remake of that, right?). It was okay, but nearly as special or charming as I expected.

    I love Ever After! So sweet and even though I have it on DVD I still watch it every time I stumble across it being played on TV. The book Ella Enchanted is one of my favorites and has been since I was a kid, and for a while when I was a pre-teen(ish), I also loved the movie. I still enjoy the movie a lot, but I have to think of it as completely separate from the book because they really only share the very basics of the plot and character names. :) I liked the Cinderella plotline in Once, and I kind of wish she was a more prominent character. {Did you watch the premiere of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland? She made a cameo appearance….at least I think it was her.}

    I'm trying to think of other Cinderella adaptations I've seen or read. I feel like I'm forgetting some! Anyway, I'm very excited about the 2015 Disney remake!

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 12:27 AM

      Kristen, I nearly “fell over” this morning when I saw your review of Cinderella in my dashboard this morning! It was too ironic. :)

      I’ve not seen the R&H version, however I believe you’re right. The adaptation starring Brandy is a re-make of that. It’s cute if I remember right, though I suspect like ‘Confessions,’ it’d not live up to my expectations any longer. Ever After is possibly my favorite retelling of this fairytale. It’s sweet and unique plus I love the cast! Speaking of which, I feel a rewatch coming. ;) Beyond remembering there were differences between the book and movie of Ella Enchanted, I really couldn’t bring to mind the “what” is different between them. Now you mention it though, I should have a re-read and re-watch of both – every once in a while when I want something “silly,” the movie is exactly what I’d pick. Once upon a time I was very fond of the film adaptation of ‘Ella’ also. And it still makes me smile.

      I didn’t watch the premiere of ‘Wonderland’ – looks fun though. Did you like it? It’d be great if Cinderella made an appearance – little things like that are what make shows so “watchable” and endearing. Hope it was her!

      From my limited “research” in putting this together, there are plenty more re-imaginings of Cinderella. Hard to fathom! These were the top of my list though – and like you, I’m super eager for the 2015 Disney version also! Not sure I’ll like the prince, but I’m willing to give it a go.

  • Hannah Barta October 11, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    I love Ever After; I also think it's timeless. I thought Ella Enchanted was a little cheesy (like the Enchanted Forest sets in Once Upon a Time). I would like to read the book, though! The Cinderella story in Once Upon a Time is one I like, and I'm disappointed that they don't include her in Season 2 or Season 3 (sorry about the spoilers!), but I guess she does get her "happy ending," which is the point and once she got it they really didn't need to include her anymore.

    • Hannah Barta October 11, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      Wahoo! I finally figured out how to italicize in comments!

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      Ever After is lovely. It's one of those films I don't think will ever go out of style. :)

      Yeah, 'Ella' is a little cheesy, yet just the same, it can make me smile. Sometimes I need that. You did peg it right though – it's a similar "cheesy" as the sets and some of the dialogue in 'Once.' Never apologize for TV show spoilers, Hannah! I love 'em and in fact, sometimes "make" friends tell me things. Feel free to share anytime. :) As for Ashley/Cinderella in 'Once,' I'd like to see her return also. However if she doesn't, I'm just glad her happy-ever-after was saved. Makes me glad.

      Yay for learning new things! I didn't know you were struggling with Italics in Blogger; anytime, just ask, girl. :)

  • Grace M October 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    I've seen only a bit of the "Ella Enchanted" movie, and some of what I saw was not in the book(FWI- flying while impaired. That was not necessary!) The book was pretty good- definitely worth a try if you like reading fairy tales. :-)

    It is cool how the tale can be told in different ways- I've even wrote my own version and have another version I hope to finish. There's just something interesting about a "Cinderella" story….

    Nice post, Rissi!

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 12:40 AM

      Basically that's all I remember when comparing the book of Ella Enchanted and the film. They were different. I liked both, however the film is likely "sillier." :)

      It *is* cool to experience this tale told in different ways; it shows how much creativity writer's have and plays to the wide range of viewers. :) That's right! A bunch of you ladies are writing a "Cinderella" like story; that's awesome! I hope someday we get to read them. :)

      Thanks for joining in, Grace. It was fun. :)

  • Hayden October 11, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Neat post! I always liked the musical (and the Disney version, of course ;). I like Ever After, too, but I don't love it, which has always puzzled me. I feel like I should love that movie, but I don't. *shrugs*

    Anyway, I did like Ella Enchanted (the book) although I felt the end was a little disappointing, but I've only seen bits and pieces of the movie.

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      Thanks for joining in, Hayden – it was fun to put together!

      I liked the 70's musical but don't remember it much, same with the later adaptation starring Brandy. Hey, that's okay, there's just something about Ever After that doesn't "capture" you. There've been films like that for me as well.

      The movie – Ella Enchanted – is silly. Really silly. However I love the "cute" factor and one thing it never fails to do is make me smile. :)

  • Charity U October 11, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    I love Cinderella. A lot. :) So this post caught me! I really need to see "Ever After" – I always hear about it and haven't gotten around to seeing it yet. Maybe soon!

    Oooo girl, you haven't read "Ella Enchanted"? That's super sad. It may be my all-time favorite Cinderella retelling. I REALLY like it and have read it…prolly a dozen times. Great book. Gail Carson Levine is the author, she did some other good fairy tale retellings too. So yeah. Read that one. The movie…I didn't hate it? Watched it on youtube a few years back, need to see again. But like I said, didn't hate or love it. It's one of those that I can enjoy if I think of it as entirely separate from the book. If I'm looking for a movie that followed the book, that one defs disappointed. But it's worth seeing. :)

    So excited for the live-action movie!!!! And to see Once Upon a Time at some point. :)

    Good post!

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 12:59 AM

      Me, too! Cinderella is a favorite Disney princess. I'm liking Gisela (from Captive Maiden) and of course I liked all of these Cinderella's – or I think I did! Some of these films I've not seen in a long time.

      No, I've read the book, Ella Enchanted… many moons ago. ;) It was quite good as I remember and I liked both the film and book. For me, the movie is merely a lighthearted piece of "fluff." It shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's got a great cast and even if it is silly, I lovelovelove the ending! So fun.

      (Sorry about the confusion regarding the book! I'm going to rephrase what I said.)

      Me, too! 2015 cannot come soon enough. There's also another fairytale movie coming that stars Chris Pine (Into the Woods, I think). It's sort of a mash-up of multiple fairytale stories and I think Cinderella is one of the characters. That could be fun. :)

      Hope you can see 'Once' soon. You may be a girl who would be fine jumping in now, however by my own perspective, starting from the beginning is best. Either way, I hope you enjoy it once you do start the journey. :)

      Thanks for joining in, Charity! This was too much fun! :)

  • Carissa October 11, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Even though I love fairy tales and even Disney movie's I have never really been a fan of Cinderella.Though Ella Enchanted is a favorite of mine, because it's not a complete Cinderella retelling . I hoping Melanie Dickerson's new book The Captive Maiden changes that for me. Belle and Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite of mine which might explain why ABC's Once Upon a Time is not really a favorite show of mine.

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 2:59 AM

      Hey, there's nothing wrong with that, Carissa! As a kid, I was obsessed with The Little Mermaid, or so my parents tell me. ;) Now, I like Ariel, Cinderella, Belle and others. Though I do think Cinderella is one of my faves.

      Ella Enchanted is a unique spin. The whole obey-every-command is quite clever – especially how she turns out to be the key to her freedom. So far, 'Maiden' is good. I like the set-up and am in fact finally starting to get into it after a "rough" beginning.

      Oh, do you not like that Belle has been put with Rumple? I go back and forth with that. I like Belle as a character (a lot) and find it a nice twist who they've made her "beast" in the show. It's not traditional but fits. :)

  • Cathy October 12, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    'Ever After' is an all time favorite at our house, as least with me and my girls. : ) We've watched it soooo many times! There is just something special about the Cinderella story.

    Loved your post today. We're really looking forward to the new movie! : )

    • Rissi October 12, 2013 at 3:04 AM

      For me as well, Cathy! It was one of the few more "adult" movies my mom was cool with me watching as a kid so naturally, it holds a special place. I totally understand your girls liking Ever After – and my mom would totally sympathize with you about watching certain movies multiple times. We did that as well because there were so few "appropriate." :)

      Thanks, Cathy – I appreciate you stopping by to join in the fun. Always love your input.

  • Benlovesting October 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Yes, Disney rocks!!!

    • Rissi October 15, 2013 at 6:34 PM

      Indeed it does. Always so fun. :)

      Thanks for dropping by Ben and Ting. :)

  • Birdie October 14, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    What a lovely and interesting post, Rissi! Cinderella truly is a story that has inspired many re-tellings. I think my favourite one is Ever After, for the 'realness' and the sweet romance.

    I love the still of the new Cinderella movie. Riding on a beautiful horse in a beautiful dress? You've got me there!

    Talking about unique Cinderella re-tellings, I forgot whether you did or did not read the sci-fi YA novel Cinder by Marissa Meyer (I know Kara read and reviewed it). Now that's an interesting retelling!

    • Rissi October 15, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      Hey, Birdie – thanks! I was struggling to come up with a post for Friday and figured since Friday is meant to be a fun day (end of the week and all!), I should be able to write post that *hopefully* reflected that. :)

      Ever After is lovely. It's one of my very favorite fairytales to this day.

      Me, too! I think that still is lovely. Already Disney has me anxious to see what they do with this version. It should be lovely.

      All of you ladies make me WANT to read Cinder. It sounds and looks like fun. I saw Kara's review and of course, plan to read it soon! :)

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