Legacy Content

Toon Talk: Cinderella Platinum Edition DVD
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
October 3, 2005
Kirby reviews the Platinum Edition DVD release of Cinderella.
Toon Talk: From the Other Side
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt

(c) Disney

Platinum Edition Disney DVD
Smashing Pumpkins
After World War II, the Disney Studio was on the brink of tragedy. The war, which closed off the valuable European markets and saw the U.S. military literally take over the studio, had greatly affected the studio’s output and profitability. Pinocchio, Fantasia and Bambi would not find their fortunes until years later, and feature film output was limited to the South American travelogues and the short compilation “package? films. Their cartoons (especially those starring Donald Duck) continued to find acclaim and popularity, but it looked like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and (to a lesser extent) Dumbo would be Disney’s only full-length success stories.

Nevertheless, Walt was not quite ready to throw in the towel just yet. Dusting off an idea that had been kicking around for decades, he sought to duplicate the triumph of Snow White by returning to fairy tales for his inspiration, and Cinderella seemed just the ticket to deliver them for all their troubles. The risk was enormous: if Cinderella did not hit a home run, they would be back in the minors.

Believing that audiences would embrace the magical charms of his newest “girl in trouble?, Walt put all of his staff’s resources to work on it, including all nine of his “old men?. He conducted an extensive search (not unlike Selznick’s for his Scarlett O’Hara) to find the voice of his Cinderella, and recruited top songwriters from the ranks of Tin Pan Alley. He knew that this one had to work or that all their hard work previously would have been for naught.

After six years of work, Cinderella finally opened on the day after Valentine’s Day in 1950 and was a sensation. Crowds lined up to laugh at the comical mice, hiss the evil stepmother and swoon as our heroine finds love in the arms of a charming prince. The success of Cinderella was one of Disney’s happiest endings, for if not, there certainly would not have been all that followed. Just think - no Mickey Mouse Club, no Disneyland, no Mary Poppins or Beauty and the Beast or Lion King

In other words: thank goodness the shoe fit.

The very last animated feature made available on DVD, Cinderella is the sixth of the Platinum Editions, special two-disc sets celebrating the most popular evergreens in the Disney vaults. Unfortunately, the end results for the line have been mixed: while Snow White, Aladdin and Bambi (released earlier this year) were lavish collections dutifully honoring those classics, the Beauty and the Beast and Lion King editions suffered from a lack of focus and an abundance of crass cross-promotion. Sadly, Cinderella falls into the latter camp.

When the set sticks to the movie itself, such as an in-depth “making of? feature and extensive art galleries, it lives up the legacy the film deserves. However, when it succumbs to the power of the all-mighty Disney synergy (something the company surely should have outgrown by now) by throwing in such tacky tack-ons as an ESPN infomercial and barely disguised plugs for the never-ending Princess merchandise line, then it fails considerably in truly respecting one of the most important films in Disney history.

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