Hi everyone, welcome to another addition of 50 Facts Friday! Since it’s the 67th anniversary of one of my absolute favourite Disney movies, I thought it was time to put the spotlight on the one and only Cinderella!
1. While the story of Cinderella has been told in many versions over the years (some loose variations even dating back to Greek mythology) the most famous publications are those of Charles Perrault (Cendrillion, 17th century) and the Brothers Grimm (Aschenputtel, 19th century).
2. Cinderella’s story was sometimes known as The Little Glass Slipper.
3. Disney has debuted not one, but three mainstream versions of Cinderella; there’s the original animated Cinderella voiced by Ilene Woods (1950), a live action Cinderella portrayed by Lily James (2015), and Into The Woods features Cinderella as one of the main characters, portrayed by Anna Kendrick (2014).
4. While Disney‘s original animated Cinderella follows closely to the Charles Perrault version of the story, the beginning of Into The Woods follow very faithfully to the more darker Brothers Grimm tale.
5. Interestingly, in both the Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm versions of the fairytale, Cinderella’s father doesn’t die.
6. Only Charles Perrault’s version features a fairy godmother. Brothers Grimm used white doves in the place of a fairy godmother, who are called upon when Cinderella prays at her mother’s grave, meaning the doves are metaphorically physical manifestations of Cinderella’s mother’s spirit.
7. Disney‘s live action Cinderella takes inspiration from both Charles Perrault AND the Brothers Grimm versions, including all the Perrault inspiration from the original Disney animation with the animals and pumpkin carriage, as well as Brothers Grimm’s “have courage, be kind“, and Cinderella asking her father for the first twig to brush his shoulder.
8. Live action Cinderella is the only one of the 3 Disney versions to clearly state that Cinderella’s real name is Ella.
9. In the Brothers Grimm tale, the ball, or rather “festival“, lasts three days. On the first night, Cinderella hides up a pear tree. On the second night, the princes determinedly spreads pitch on the stairs, where Cinderella gets her slipper stuck and leaves it behind. On the third day, the prince sets out to find Cinderella using her slipper.
10. Brothers Grimm uses gold slippers instead of glass, unlike most common versions of the tale.
11. While Perrault’s version kindly sees Cinderella’s stepsisters marry wealthy gentlemen of the court in the ending, Brothers Grimm decided to have the white doves peck out their eyes at Cinderella’s wedding.
12. When Disney made the decision to adapt Cinderella into a full-length feature animation, the studio was recovering from a line of box office bombs.
13. Disney’s Cinderella became the greatest commercial hit for the company since Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.
14. All nine of Disney’s Nine Old Men worked as animator directors on the movie.
15. At least 90% of the animated movie was first filmed in live action as a cheap-budgeting solution to help the animators. This procedure is call Live Action Reference, the technique was introduced with Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs and would continue to be used within the company well into the 90’s.
16. Actress Helene Stanley provided the live action reference modelling for Cinderella. She also modelled the role of Anastasia Tremaine, one of Cinderella’s stepsisters.
17. Animators used both live action model Helene Stanley and voice actress Ilene Woods as inspiration for Cinderella’s styling and mannerisms.
18. One early draft of the animated Disney screenplay involves the prince seemingly hunting a deer, only to reveal that they are actually friends playing a harmless game. This idea was incorporated into the live action Disney movie.
19. Walt Disney was rumoured to have told voice actress Ilene Woods that Cinderella was his favourite heroine.
20. As well as being his favourite heroine, the transformation scene in the animated movie was said to be Walt Disney’s favourite piece of animation his studio ever created during his lifetime.
21. A deleted scene where Cinderella is reintroduced to the prince at the place after finding out she is but a servant girl later became a scene in the Disney video game Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. At the end of this scene, the Fairy Godmother shows up and retransforms Cinderella’s dress into the ballgown.
22. Another deleted scene included a deleted song titled Cinderella Work Song, where Cinderella imagines herself being divided into a bunch of clones to get the work done faster.
23. There is much debate about the actual colour of Disney’s Cinderella’s hair and dress. While she is mostly shown in modern merchandising to be blonde with a blue ballgown, the original animated movie sported a more strawberry-blonde Cinderella with a light silver ballgown. The movie has been remastered over the years, and this can most likely be the best explanation of the different hues.
24. Voice actress Ilene Woods had no idea she was auditioning for the role of Cinderella when she sent demo tapes of her singing some songs from the film to friends. These recordings were then presented to the studio, which won her the role over 309 over actresses.
25. It is reported that the reason Walt Disney hired Ilene Woods is because he thought she had the right “fairy tale” tone to her voice.
26. The animation pioneered the very first use of over-dubbed vocals on records for the song Sing, Sweet Nightingale where Ilene Woods sings three different harmonies at the same time.
27. Official Disney trivia states that Cinderella is 19 years old, making her the eldest of the princesses in the Disney Princess franchise.
28. It is also stated in the sequel Cinderella III: A Twist In Time that Cinderella’s shoe size is 4 1/2.
29. Cinderella loses her shoe three times during the animated movie: when she is working in the household, when she flees the palace, and on her wedding day.
30. It is her left glass slipper that Cinderella loses at the ball.
31. Cinderella was the first Disney Princess to not be of royal birth.
32. Disney’s animated Cinderella went on to win three Academy Awards, all of which were for the film’s soundtrack.
33. While Cinderella’s stepsisters in the Disney animated and live action movies are given the names Drizella and Anastasia, Cinderella’s stepmother is simply known as Lady Tremaine.
34. Lady Tremaine’s voice actress Eleanor Audley later went on to voice another iconic Disney Villain, Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.
35. Verna Felton, the voice of Fairy Godmother, also worked on a number of other Disney animations, including voicing the Queen Of Hearts in Alice In Wonderland and Flora in Sleeping Beauty.
36. Lily James originally auditioned for one of the stepsisters for the live action Cinderella. Much like Ilene Woods, Lily James was cast because of the warm appealing tone of her voice.
37. Helena Bonham Carter, the actress of Fairy Godmother in the live action movie, once explained in an interview that the reason that the Fairy Godmother’s magic is oddly executed is because she is 1000s of years old and is very forgetful, and this reflects in her spells, such as giving Ella somewhat impractical glass slippers amongst other quirks.
38. Disney’s live action Cinderella is one of very few adaptions to give Prince Charming a name, “Kit“. In the ABC tv show Once Upon A Time, he is named “Thomas“.
39. In ABC’s Once Upon A Time version of Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin blows up Cinderella’s fairy godmother and grants her wish to go to the ball instead, but in return he will take her firstborn child as payment.
40. The costume design on Disney’s live action Cinderella was phenomenal. Helena Bonham Carter’s Fairy Godmother dress was 4 feet wide, included over 400 LED lights and over 10,000 Swarovski crystals.
41. Live action Disney Cinderella, Lily James, said her favourite part of playing Cinderella was getting to wear the beautiful blue ballgown at the ball.
42. The character of Lucifer in the animated Disney movie was modelled on animator Ward Kimball’s real life pet cat that had an odd number of claws on its paws.
43. The Disney animated Cinderella ranked #9 on the American Film Institute’s greatest animated films of all time.
44. It is unclear why Disney’s Cinderella decided to name her mouse Gus-Gus “Octavius”, but it is implied to be after the Roman emperor Augustus.
45. Walt Disney actually produced a Laugh-O-Gram short film based on Cinderella back in 1922 as part of a series based on fairytales.
46. Voice actor James MacDonald not only voiced Jaq, Gus-Gus and Bruno the dog in the animated Cinderella, but was also the voice of Mickey Mouse and Pluto at the time of the movie’s release (1950).
47. All the other ballgowns seen in the ballroom scene of the Disney live action movie are based on the styles of other Disney princesses.
48. Disney’s animated Cinderella’s costume design is thought to be based on the work of famous designers/artists. Her pink dress is influenced by Salvador Dali and her magical ballgown is based on the designs of Christian Dior.
49. Ilene Woods made a cameo appearance in Disney’s Enchanted alongside many other Disney Princess voice actresses from over the years.
50. During her later years of her life, Ilene Woods sadly suffered with Alzheimer’s disease, and she couldn’t remember that she had played the role of Cinderella. She did, however, enjoy listening to A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes. According to the nurses who looked after her, Ilene found the song very comforting.
That’s it for 50 facts about Cinderella! What would you like to see 50 facts about next? Let me know in the comments!