Cinderella (1950 film)

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A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

Entry #12 in the Disney Animated Canon, Cinderella, based on the Fairy Tale "Cinderella", and marked Disney's return to single-story feature-length films in 1950, after the WWII years where Disney was limited to making collections of shorts (e.g. Make Mine Music) while many of their staff were drafted to the war effort. Advertisement posters touted Cinderella as the best since Snow White and for the time it definitely marked a return to form, though the painstaking (and extremely expensive) animation techniques of the earlier films were scaled back.

Cinderella got not one, but two Direct to Video sequels: Cinderella II: Dreams Come True (2002) and Cinderella III: A Twist In Time (2007). The former is a Compilation Movie of three stories loosely tied together: Cinderella tries to put on a grand party; one of the mice, Jaq, gets transformed into a human by the Fairy Godmother; and Anastasia (one of the stepsisters from the original) comes at odds with her family when she falls in love with a baker and starts on a path to redemption. In the latter, things happen that result in the Stepmother getting hold of the Fairy Godmother's wand and trying to undo Cinderella's fortune by messing with the timeline.

It is also one of the movies featured in Kingdom Hearts. Cinderella herself has a minor (but important) role as one of the seven Princesses of Heart driving the plot of the first game. Nothing from the series appears again until Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, where it gets an entire world called Castle Of Dreams.

And everyone who kept on believing finally had a wish granted in 2018, when the original movie was named to the National Film Registry.

Tropes used in Cinderella (1950 film) include:
  • Actually, I Am Him: Cinderella didn't realize that the man she was dancing with all night and consequently fell in love with was the prince himself.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: She might actually have strawberry dark blonde hair and a white and silver dress in the film, but the Disney Princess Merchandise would like you to remember her as perfectly platinum in blue.
  • Adipose Rex
  • Almost Kiss
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Lady Tremaine. She probably got the title from marrying Cinderella's father, however.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Cinderella is prettier and much nicer than her cartoonish and mean stepsisters.
    • In fact, look at the way the Grand Duke reacted to the stepsisters and Cinderella. With the stepsisters, he grimaced at the sight of them and was generally repulsed by their attitude, impatient to leave. When Cinderella asked to try on the shoe, his face lit up (as well as noticing her petite feet) and helped her down the stairs.
    • Anastasia is even made a bit cuter in the sequels, where she's not so evil.
      • Though that might be partly because her original design was harder to draw, and Disney sequels are not known for having good animation.
  • Big Bad: The Grand Duke becomes this of the movie.
  • Big "What?": Spoken by the King after the Grand Duke explains that the beautiful woman who captured the Prince's heart at the ball has gone:

King: I hereby dub you, Sir... Hmm... Oh, by the way, what title would you like?
Duke: Sire, she got away.
King: "She Got Away"? A peculiar title, but if that's what you... She what?! Why, you... you traitor!

  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three daughters.
  • The Caligula: Don't let his main motivations and the sequels fool you -- the King is scary.
  • Cats Are Mean: Lucifer, whose name should speak for itself.
  • Cat Stereotype: Lucifer is dark grey and grey with a black head and off-white muzzle, and fits both black and grey cat stereotypes by being evil, fat and lazy.
  • Co-Dragons: Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella become this to the Grand Duke.
  • Common Sense: The Grand Duke approaches Fairy Tale tropes, such as Love At First Sight and The Girl Who Fits This Slipper, with Real Life common sense.
    • Though, really, the king has this too. He just doesn't care. So what if the slipper fits other girls, the prince gave his word and he's going to hold him to it.
  • Dance of Romance: With Cinderella and the Prince.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Lady Tremaine. When she realized that Cinderella was the girl the Prince fell in love with, she locked Cinderella in her room up in the tower where her cries wouldn't be heard and kept the key on hand. When that failed (thanks to Cinderella's mice friends), she tripped the footman carrying the glass slipper so Cinderella wouldn't have proof that she was the right girl. Of course that backfired on her when Cinderella revealed she had the other half of the pair of slippers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Grand Duke.
  • Description Cut: The Grand Duke's rather sarcastic narration of the King's hopes for the ball ("Suddenly he stops! He looks up! Alone, there she stands!") plays out with perfect sincerity as the Prince meets Cinderella.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Cinderella teeters on the edge when Lady Tremaine and her daughters destroy her dress and her hopes of attending the ball. Fortunately her Fairy Godmother arrives and makes everything right.
  • Disappeared Dad: His death is part of the film's prologue.
  • Disney Princess
  • Disney Villain Death: Lucifer falls from the tower at the end, although comic stories produced shortly after the film as well as the even later sequels show that he survived. Must have something to do with being a cat (be it landing on their feet, having nine lives, or their fatal velocity being higher than their terminal velocity).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Cinderella's stepsisters viciously ripping apart the dress she's wearing (because they recognized a lot of the fabric and jewels on the dress as belonging to them) can be interpreted as sexual assault.
  • Doomed New Clothes: The dress Cinderella had on before her Fairy Godmother gave her a new one.
  • Drop What You Are Doing: Cinderella drops the breakfast tray when she hears from Lady Tremaine that the Prince will marry the girl who can fit the glass slipper.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: The dress is actually made by magic sparkles. And the heart on the glass slippers glitters with sparkles.
  • Evil All Along: The Grand Duke is the mastermind of the Tremaines preventing Cinderella to go to the ball.
  • Evil Chancellor: The duke is at first the king's advisor, but he is working for the stepmother.
  • Exact Words
    • Lady Tremaine promises Cinderella that she can go to the ball if she finishes her work and can find something to wear. She and her daughters then arrange things so that Cinderella can't fulfill the conditions.
    • The Prince swears to marry the girl who could wear the glass slipper. The King decides to hold him to his word.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Lady Tremaine.
  • Fairy Godmother
  • "Falling in Love" Montage: Invoked by the king. Also Discussed and Double Subverted.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lady Tremaine.
  • Fat Bastard: Lucifer, the cat.
  • Flipping the Bird: After politely greeting girl after girl at the ball, he aims a yawn towards where his father sits when he wasn't greeting anyone. It may not seem much to a modern viewer, but at the time presented in the film it was like the prince gave his father the finger.
  • Foot Focus
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Literally one date marriage. Though in the sequel, it's justified that holding a woman's hand tells the prince she's the one. He doesn't feel it when he was made to think he danced with Anastasia or when Anastasia magically looks like Cinderella.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Aside from the cat, Lucifer, Cinderella is friends with all the animals. She even tries to find some good in Lucifer, although she fails.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: The Trope Namer, although it's actually subverted. Not only do both the Grand Duke and the King acknowledge that the slipper could fit any number of girls, Cinderella doesn't even get to try it on; she proves her identity instead by producing its match, which is more conclusive.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation
  • Green Eyes: Lady Tremaine and Lucifer.
  • Hand Wave: Both the original movie and Cinderella III hang a lampshade on how it's ridiculous to expect just one girl to fit the slipper, but they both justify it differently. In Cinderella it's implied the prince said he'd marry The Girl Who Fits This Slipper as a shorthand for "that girl I fell in love with", but the king is so fed up with his son and lack of grandchildren that he makes it a literal royal order. In Cinderella III on the other hand it's the king himself who points out the absurdity of the quest, and indeed when the person who fits the slipper turns out to be Anastasia the prince apologizes and refuses to marry her. At first.
  • Harsh Life Revelation Aesop:
    • Cinderella sings in "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" that she dreams so much because it's the one thing that her wicked stepfamily can't control. She holds it close as she has to do excess chores daily and is denied even the basic shred of happiness.
    • As Cinderella tells Bruno, sometimes you have to get alone with people --or cats in this case-- that you don't like when they control their living situation. She reminds Bruno that Lady Tremaine can kick him out any time if she gets wind of Bruno wanting to chase Lucifer the cat, and it's in Bruno's best interests to not act on those dreams.
  • Heel Face Turn: Near the end of the movie, the Duke betrays the stepmother, fits Cinderella's glass slipper, and returns to his old job as the king's advisor.
  • Heir Club for Men: Averted. The king dreams about doing typical "grandfatherly" things with a grandson and a granddaughter instead of simply wanting heirs.
  • Heroic BSOD: Cinderella gets an ever-so-brief one when she learns the Prince is in love with the girl who lost her glass slipper at the ball causing her to drop a tray of food in mild shock.
  • High-Class Glass: The Duke.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Cinderella's dad.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • From Lady Tremaine, accompanying her daughters on piano.

Lady Tremaine: Girls! Girls! Above all, self-control!

  • Cinderalla knocks, interrupting the lesson*

Lady Tremaine: *slams her hands on the piano* YES?!?!

    • The King who scoffs at the Duke's much more sensible ideas about letting the Prince fall in love:

Grand Duke: Perhaps if we just let him alone-
The King: Let him alone?! With his silly romantic ideas?
Grand Duke: B-But, sire, in matters of love...
The King: Love. Bah! Just a boy meeting a girl under the right conditions. [pushes books off the table and puts together the male and female figurines together] So, we're arranging the conditions.

King: I can't understand it ! There must be at least one who would make a suitable mother !
Grand Duke: Shhhh ! Sire...
King: Ahem... A suitable wife!

  • "I Want" Song: "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes".
  • Karma Houdini: In the Disney version and its sequels, Lady Tremaine never really gets much punishment (except the public humiliation by being turned into a frog and then into a maid in front of the King and the Prince in Cinderella III) for making poor Cinderella's life Hell.
    • The maid dress seemed to be the implication that, like in Ever After, they were being punished by being forced into servitude of the girl who was once their own servant. Given that their actions in the third movie seemed driven purely by their jealousy that Cinderella escaped their servitude, it seems like a fitting punishment.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Duke points out how ridiculous it is to think that the glass slipper will only fit the girl who left it behind.

Grand Duke: But Sire, this slipper may fit any number of girls!
King: That's his problem. He's given his word, we'll hold him to it.

  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Lady Tremaine wants to get a closer look at Cinderella, who was dancing with the Prince, only for the Grand Duke to close the curtains on her by orders of the King to let no one disrupt them.
  • Limited Wardrobe: You have to wonder where Anastasia and Drizella get all those differently colored clothes for Cinderella to wash considering all the clothes they are ever actually seen wearing are, respectively, hot pink and green. Even their nightgowns match the color scheme.
  • Love At First Sight: Mocked by the Grand Duke.
    • Though it did actually happen when the Prince first saw Cinderella.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: When Cinderella is sobbing in the garden that there's nothing to believe in anymore, a chorus sings a Dark Reprise of her "I Want" Song, "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes", with the same upbeat lyrics. This, of course, leads up to the appearance of the Fairy Godmother.
  • Magic Wand
  • The Makeover: A magically enabled one.
  • The Matchmaker: The king.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The remaining glass slipper, which Cinderella assumes will be nothing more than a keepsake from one magical evening.
  • Missing Mom: The Prince's mom is never mentioned.
    • Cinderella's mom gets a couple tiny nods; the prologue makes it clear that she was Dead to Begin With and the main reason her dad married again was because he thought she needed a mother. The dress that Cinderella originally plans to modify to wear to the ball was, as she specifically states, her mother's.
  • The Mole: The Grand Duke.
  • The Musical
  • Musical Chores: "The Work Song" and "Sing Sweet Nightingale".
  • Naive Everygirl: Cinderella.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Let's just say "Lucifer" was an appropriate name for the cat.
  • Nice Mice
  • Nice Shoes: The glass slippers were certainly drawn to look nice.
  • Oh Crap: Lady Tremaine when Cinderella reveals the other glass slipper to the Duke.
  • Opening Chorus
  • Opera Gloves
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The fairy godmother.
  • Parental Favoritism: The Stepmother favours her daughters over Cinderella any day.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Complete with the glass slippers.
  • The Pollyanna: Cinderella.
  • Prince Charming: Literally. He doesn't even have a first name.
  • Princess Classic
  • Rags to Riches
  • Rebel Prince: If the King's word is to be trusted, Prince Charming is a bit like this; this is best seen at the beginning of the ball where after bowing to greet a guest the Prince looks up to his father in the balcony and yawns; as noted above, that might not seem like much today but at the time depicted in the film it was like giving his old man the finger.
    • This comes across a bit more in Twist in Time.

Prince: Okay. (leaps out of the window)

Grand Duke: (playing with his monacle like a yo-yo) He looks up, and lo! There she stands - the girl of his dreams. Who she is or whence she came, he knows not, nor does he care, for his heart tells him that here is the maiden pre-destined to be his bride... Oh, a pretty plot for fairy tales, sire, but in real life, it was foredoomed to failure!

The sequels include examples of:

Walt Disney: [Cinderella] believed in dreams, all right, but she also believed in doing something about them. So, when Prince Charming didn't come along, she went over to the palace and got him!