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Film: Cinderella

Impossible things are happening every day!

Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical adaptation of the fairytale. It was originally written and performed live on TV in 1957, starring Julie Andrews. A 1965 remake, starring Lesley Ann Warren and with a revised script (plus a Cut Song from South Pacific) was rerun well into The Eighties.

A rewritten 1997 remake, which premiered on The Wonderful World of Disney, starred Brandy, along with Whitney Houston as both the co-producer and the fairy godmother. This version had a slightly more modern feel to it and featured a multiracial cast, along with an added character named Lionel and three other Richard Rodgers songs added to the score. While the original is clearly an old-fashioned medieval atmosphere, the remake is more surreal and colorful, and it's pretty debatable what country they're in (mostly due to the mixed races). Most theater fans prefer the 1957 original, but the remake is also quite popular among teenagers. The 60's remake is a huge Cult Classic, though, for the people who grew up from the sixties to the early nineties.

The 1957 version was given a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation that served as a U.S. community theater staple for years, and occasionally had professional stagings (but never on Broadway). In the wake of the '97 remake, this version was revised for further professional stagings; the licenser now offers both the original version and a '97-based version (known as the "Enchanted Edition") to amateur groups.

This show made its Broadway debut in the 2012-13 season, with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and Cut Songs from other Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals added to the score. This version adds another villain in the form of Prince Christopher's evil regent Sebastian, who oppresses the poor of the kingdom — and whom Cinderella's stepmother is collaborating with.

For the 2015 remake based on the Disney animated classic, see Cinderella (2015).

Multiple versions contain examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: The stepsisters' names changed in each script. In 1957, they were Joy and Portia. In 1965, they changed to Prunella and Esmeralda. In 1997, they became Calliope and Minerva. In the 2013 Broadway production they are named Charlotte and Gabrielle.
  • Aerith and Bob: See Overly Long Name.
  • Call Back: In the 1965 and 1997 versions, after Cinderella's stepsisters fail to fit the slipper, Cinderella gets Prince Christopher's attention through circumstances similar to the scene in which they met.
  • Character Title
  • Crowd Song: "The Prince is Giving a Ball".
  • Disappeared Dad: It's made pretty clear that Cinderella's father is dead. But we never learn where her mother went. (She's probably dead too.)
    • And the Prince's parents are both dead in the 2013 version, opening up an opportunity for villains to seize power.
  • Domestic Abuse: The stepmother does this to Cinderella, but she eventually takes a level in kindness in the 1957 version.
  • Double Entendre: The 1957 and 1965 versions include a scene of Cinderella imagining acting "coy and flirtatious" towards Prince Christopher, and reminding him not to "say such things."
  • Easily Forgiven: The stepmother and her daughters rarely get punished in any incarnation, including the Broadway show...the sole exception being the 90's film where they are left outside the gate at Cinderella's wedding, implying they do not get to share in her happy ending. Somewhat justified in that this is being faithful to Perrault's version of the story. The 60's version is also a little better about this; among other things the prince forces them to bow down before Cinderella, but they presumably are forgiven in the end.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Lesley Ann Warren and Brandy spin during their respective dress transformation scenes.
    Fairy Godmother ('97): Spin around, don't make me do all the work!
    • Julie Andrews did not spin because the 1957 version was broadcast live, and her transformation uses effects one might use in a stage production.
    • In the 2013 Broadway performance, Laura Osnes spins as her dress "magically" appears.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: But of course. This is the story that named that trope, after all.
  • "I Am" Song / "I Want" Song: "In My Own Little Corner" and its reprise, respectively.
    • In all honesty, "In My Own Little Corner" is a deconstruction of an "I Want" Song, since it is about how Cinderella is trying to be content in her life already.
  • The Ingenue: Guess who?
  • Love at First Sight: Discussed when Cinderella and Prince Christopher sing about how they met and fell in love "Ten Minutes Ago". (Although, in the 1965 and 1997 versions, the ball marks the second time they meet.)
  • Meaningful Name: Pointed out in the 1965 and 1997 versions. Cinderella explains that she got her name from sitting in the cinders.
    Prince Christopher ('97): "Ohh. Cinderella."
  • The Musical: Another musical retelling.
  • No Name Given: The fairy godmother and the stepmother.
  • Overly Long Name: Prince Christopher Rupert Windemere Vladimir Carl Alexander Francois Reginald Lancelot Herman (Herman?) Herman. Gregory James, son of Her Majesty Queen Constantina Charlotte Ermintrude Guinevere Maisie (Maisie?) Maisie! Marguerite Ann and His Majesty King Maximillian Godfrey Ladislaus Leopold Sydney (Sydney?) SYDNEY! Frederick John.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Both Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Our heroine.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Impossible" has a pessimistic and cynical first half, but also a part meant to create a glimmer of hope for Cinderella's dreams. After the Fairy Godmother grants Cinderella's wish to go to the ball, the two of them sing "It's Possible," which boasts more optimistic lyrics. It sounds especially triumphant in the 1997 version.
  • Villain Song: "Stepsisters' Lament".
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Obviously. As with The Girl Who Fits This Slipper, this is the Trope Namer.
    • In the 1997 version, Cinderella expresses disappointment at having such a tight curfew. The Fairy Godmother then tells her that she doesn't make the rules about how long her magic can last.

The original musical contains examples of:

  • Adipose Rex: "I want the wine of my country! The wine of my country is beer!"
  • All Women Are Lustful: Stepsister Joy. She's even seen flirting with someone during Cinderella's wedding.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: While the remakes are clearly set in fairy tale kingdoms, the original could very easily be set in the 50's; the godmother telling Cinderella she would be better off as a hired servant makes it very likely that the piece is not set in ancient Europe.
    • And get a load of that chic, form-fitting, Audrey-Hepburn-worthy number Cinderella wears at the ball.
  • Beta Couple: The king and queen.
  • Covers Always Lie: Some publicity stills show Cinderella wearing a dress with a much bigger skirt than in the actual musical. Julie Andrews apparently found it hard to move around in this dress.
  • Creative Closing Credits: As each cast member's name appears in the end credits, he or she gives blessings to the newlywed Cinderella and Christopher.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The day after the ball, Cinderella decides to go visit Prince Christopher herself instead of wait for him to return.
  • First Name Basis: Prince Christopher asks Cinderella to call him "Christopher" as opposed to "your majesty" or his Overly Long Name.
  • Follow the Leader: CBS hired Rodgers and Hammerstein to help them compete against NBC's televised presentations of Peter Pan by writing a work in which Julie Andrews would go from Rags to Riches in a manner similar to her most popular role at the time.
  • Ironic Name: Joy is a sourpuss and Portia isn't nearly as wise as the character in The Merchant of Venice that she's named after.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Averted. Cinderella starts out with a loose ponytail and goes to the ball with a Prim and Proper Bun.
  • Love at First Sight: Played absolutely straight. Jon Cypher looks like the floor's just dropped out from underneath him. In true musical fashion, the two leads proceed to sing about it in "Ten Minutes Ago."
    Ten minutes ago I saw you, I looked up when you came through the door - my head started reeling, you gave me the feeling the room had no ceiling or floor! Ten minutes ago I met you, and we murmured our 'how do you do's' - I wanted to ring out the bells and fling out my arms and to sing out the news!
  • Magical Nanny: Sort of. In this version the fairy godmother really is Cinderella's godmother. She just hasn't told her she's a fairy yet.
  • Overly Long Gag: Count how many times Cinderella is told to close the window. In the same scene.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Cinderella after the transformation.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Rodgers had 30 year-old Edie Adams portray the centuries-old Fairy Godmother.
  • Shown Their Work: Practically the only adaption of Perrault's Cinderella to get right that the Fairy Godmother is Cinderella's literal godmother.

The 1965 remake contains examples of:

  • Book Ends: The musical begins with a gate opening and ends with it closing.
  • The Cast Showoff: The melancholy portion of "A Lovely Night" got replaced with an upbeat instrumental, allowing Lesley Ann Warren to demonstrate her ballet talents.
  • Darker and Edgier: The stepmother and stepsisters are portrayed as genuinely abusive towards Cinderella, instead of being comic relief like in the 50's and 90's version.
  • Disneyfication: The film was intended to be more of a straightforward fairy tale than the original, which was more of an Affectionate Parody.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: Averted; the prince recognizes Cinderella anyway.
  • "I Want" Song: Prince Christopher's "Loneliness of Evening", originally a Cut Song from South Pacific.
  • Karmic Jackpot: In this version, Cinderella's kindness is emphasized when she gives a stranger some water; the stranger turns out to be the prince. Presumably, her mysterious familiarity is what attracts the prince at the ball. Later, when he goes to Cinderella's cottage, she offers him water a second time, leading him to finally realize who she is.
  • Leitmotif: The fairy godmother has one.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Prince Christopher had apparently returned from fighting dragons and rescuing princesses.

The 1997 remake contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation / Adaptation Expansion
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Beauty Equals Goodness is averted since the villain is played by Bernadette Peters.
  • Annoying Laugh: Calliope snorts when she laughs.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Really, this trope is completely discarded. In addition to the afforementioned Adaptational Attractiveness of the stepmother, it isn't ugliness that the stepsisters use to contrast with Cinderella. In this version, instead, they're clumsy, improper, stupid (even the stepmother shows signs she can't stand this; see Surrounded by Idiots below), and have some strange bad habits.
  • Beta Couple: The king and queen.
  • Big "NO!": The stepmother yells this after Cinderella tries on the glass slipper and it's revealed to be a perfect fit before she faints and Lionel says, "Quiet, woman!"
  • Billing Displacement: Brandy's name is last in the credits (among the leads). Whitney Houston, Jason Alexander, and Bernadette Peters come first.
    • Although the opening credits start with Brandy's name and go through the rest in alphabetical order.
  • Bowdlerise: The Double Entendre mentioned above became reduced to, "Oh, your highness!"
  • Broken Aesop: The fairy godmother encourages Cinderella to stop sitting around and dreaming and just get out there and make it happen. After which she proceeds to magically give Cinderella everything she wishes for.
    • But only after Cinderella has resolved to fix her dress and hitchhike to the ball if that's what it takes to make her dream come true.
  • Butt Monkey: Lionel. In spades.
  • The Cast Showoff: The fairy godmother usually only sings "Impossible/It's Possible" and one line at Cinderella's wedding (the same line used for this page's quote), but Whitney Houston closes this remake with another song, "There's Music in You." It originally came from an obscure MGM musical titled, Main Street to Broadway.
    • Also, most versions don't have the fairy godmother show up until the night of the ball, but this one has Houston appear at the beginning, and sing a rendition of "Impossible."
  • Credits Montage
  • Dirty Old Man: When the king and queen are discussing Cinderella, the king is a little too impressed with how beautiful she is.
    King Maximillian: "Why, if I were a young man I'd-"
    Queen Constantina: "Yes, dear?"
    King Maximillian: "Well, I'd be younger, wouldn't I?"
    Queen Constantina: "Yes, dear."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The stepmother, who is rich and domineering, is white. Cinderella, who works for her as a mistreated household servant, is black.
    • Although it is relieving that one of the stepsisters and the queen are both black, so this was most likely unintentional.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: While the first two versions' fairy godmothers wielded magic wands, this one uses sparkling magic dust.
  • Funny Background Event: There's a very short clip at the ball that involves the stepmother dancing with a woman.
    • I'm pretty sure she was shooing her off so that her daughter could dance with the Prince.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: Played hilariously straight when Christopher allows a few white girls to try on the slipper, despite Cinderella having been African-American, and then subverted when it fits Cinderella's stepmother and Christopher refuses to believe she is the girl he danced with.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: After the shoe fails to fit either of the stepsisters, Cinderella's stepmother becomes so desperate she'll do anything for the prince's money. She locks Cinderella in the kitchen, offers herself to the prince by trying on the shoe, helplessly begs him to marry one of her daughters, and then when all else fails, she gives a Big "NO!" and then passes out.
  • Hollywood Old: The only reason we know Bernadette Peters is in her middle ages in this movie is because the dialogue tells us so.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Not in-universe, and probably not intentional, but at one point the stepmother tells Cinderella not to "cling to the past" because "it's not very attractive." This is said by Bernadette Peters, who hasn't aged for thirty years.
  • I Just Want To Be Free: Cinderella.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The stepsisters. Then again, this is how they're usually played.
  • "I Want" Song: Cinderella's and Prince Christopher's "The Sweetest Sounds", originally written by Rodgers for No Strings.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: When Disney Channel showed this movie, they clearly called it Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in the promos and bumpers, to avoid confusion with Walt Disney's Cinderella. The covers for the VHS and the DVD also do this, but so do the DVDs of other R&H musicals, including the two older versions of this one.
  • Large Ham: Basically everyone except the two leads has moments in this area, notably Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, and Jason Alexander. Although Whoopi's portion of it consists of mostly squeaking.
  • Love at First Sight: Played straight between Prince Christopher and Cinderella at the ball, but averted earlier when they just become friends.
  • Meaningful Echo: Cinderella first meets the Prince when he, as a "charming stranger", helps her pick up her bags after a royal coachman runs over them. Later, during the who-fits-the-slipper part of the movie, Cinderella again falls victim to a royal coachman. They say the same lines every time, and as they recite them the second time, both of them are realizing exactly who the other is.
    Christopher: Just like those royals, isn't it? Not caring if they're in anyone's way?
    Cinderella: Well, I'm sure they were going somewhere very important.
    • Then he asks for her name.
    Cinderella: Cinderella.
    Christopher: Cinderella. I like it.
    Cinderella: It grows on you, I guess.
  • Meet Cute: When Cinderella first meets Christopher, who's disguised as a commoner. They bring back a few lines from that scene at the end; see Meaningful Echo above.
  • Mythology Gag: "Who dances in glass shoes?"
  • No Indoor Voice: I WANT A CHANCE AT HIM!
    • As well as the stepmother in her last few minutes onscreen.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Beauty knows no pain, girls!
    • This may be a nod to the girl in the first film who also fell victim to this trope.
  • Oh, Crap: During "A Lovely Night," Cinderella is already being stupid enough to describe what she "supposes" the ball was like, in a detailed and accurate fashion, but she tops it off with the exact same curtsey she used at the ball. Upon recognizing this, this trope is written all over the stepmother's face.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Cinderella's stepfamily wears these 24/7. Then, of course, there's Cinderella herself after her transformation.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Lionel seems to serve no real purpose other than to be this.
  • Race Lift: Most of the main characters.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Some dialogue the Fairy Godmother mutters while turning the pumpkin into a coach reveals that she is over 600 years old, while Whitney Houston was only in her 30s at the time.
  • Rule of Three: In-universe, three members of Cinderella's family try the slipper on before she does; "The Prince Is Giving A Ball" goes through three Overly Long Names (including three Embarrassing Middle Names); and both "Impossible" and the added song "The Sweetest Sounds" are sung three times. Outside of that, three of the leads are African-American, three different shoe sizes were used for the slipper (only one model was actually made of glass), and three songs were added to the score.
  • Sassy Black Woman: The fairy godmother and the queen. Especially since they're played respectively by Whitney Houston and Whoopi Goldberg.
  • Show Some Leg: The stepmother trying to get on Lionel's good side. It doesn't work.
    Lionel: You know, I honestly wish there were something between us.
    Stepmother: Really?
    Lionel: Yes, a continent.
    (leaves)
  • Squee: After the stepmother tries on the shoe and it fits, she can't stop squealing. Until the shoe cuts her circulation off.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: The stepmother appears to feel this way with regards to her daughters.
  • Villain Song: Well, Bernadette Peters had to sing something. The song, "Falling in Love with Love," is more of a statement of her opinion, and it's not done in a villainous manner. That may just be because it was originally written for a different show, The Boys From Syracuse, by Rodgers and Hart.

The 2013 version contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Gabrielle, the older stepsister, is actually very pretty once she gets rid of her ridiculous puffy dress and Bavarian-pretzel hairstyle, and has a suitor in Jean-Michel.
    • Gabrielle is also considered attractive enough for Sebastian and Madame to believe she has a real shot with Prince Topher and hooking the two of them up is the main impetus for their scheme. Unfortunately, they have No Sparks.
  • Adorkable: Gabrielle the step-sister. Topher also has his moments.
  • All-Loving Hero / Friend to All Living Things: Ella
  • Beta Couple: Gabrielle and Jean-Michel.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Madame (the stepmother) does not approve of Jean-Michel, because he's poorer than they are and a social activist, and she has social-climbing aspirations. In fact, she disapproves so much that when she catches Gabrielle trying to sneak out with him, she kicks Gabrielle out of the house.
  • Death by Adaptation: Both of Topher's parents are dead in this version and he has apparently been raised by Sebastian from a young age.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Topher
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It's revealed that the Fairy Godmother doesn't give out her magic freely. Ella earned it by being kind and friendly to "Crazy Marie" aka the Godmother in disguise. Similarly, she doesn't just go to the ball and the banquet to win over the Prince but as an opportunity to inform Topher about the injustices in the kingdom.
  • Easily Forgiven: Ella prettily readily forgives Madame and Charlotte, however, this makes sense since being kind is the moral of the story.
  • Evil Chancellor: Sebastian to Prince Topher. He was supposed to make sure Topher was ready to be a good, strong king, but instead he keeps him almost completely in the dark and is running the kingdom in his name. Poorly.
  • Gold Digger: This was Madame, and she believes her daughters should follow her example.
    Madame: I married your father for love—he died, I cried. I married Cinderella's father for money—he died, I got a house.
  • Kick the Dog: Madame gets a lot.
  • Meganekko: Gabrielle
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Ella is Friend to All Living Things and has two sidekicks (a fox and a raccoon). Subverted in that they briefly become human to be her footmen for the ball.
  • Pet the Dog: The whole step-family gets one when they perform "A Lovely Night" with Ella. Only Gabrielle stays nice afterwards though.
  • Puppet King: Topher starts out as a Puppet Prince—he just signs off on whatever Sebastian asks him to without reading it. At one point, he even hands over his ring of state so Sebastian can get things done more efficiently.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Topher's arc is going from a Puppet King to this, with Ella and Jean-Michel's help.
  • Shout-Out: There are many references to the 1955 film The Glass Slipper, notably Crazy Marie is an Expy of Ms. Tocquet.
    • The plot is also very similar to the film version of Ella Enchanted, with the Prince being an orpahn Puppet King who is unaware that his Evil Chancellor is stealing lands and rights from the people until Ella opens his eyes to the situation.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Jean-Michel.
  • Wham Shot: Cinderella almost loses a glass slipper, but she picks it up before Topher could get it.

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alternative title(s): Cinderella
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