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Film / The Slipper and the Rose

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A 1976 British film musical retelling the story of "Cinderella" with a lot more court intrigue added. Starring Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward and Gemma Craven as Cinderella and directed by Bryan Forbes, it features a score by The Sherman Brothers.


This film provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The storybook, also written by Bryan Forbes, gives some details not revealed in the movie, such as minor ones like the Fairy Godmother being familiar with Ali Baba and Prince Edward going on a journey to find the Fairy Godmother with the help of other fairy tale beings, such as the Little Mermaid, Pandora and Red Riding Hood, which eventually leads to Edward finding the Fairy Godmother in Aladdin’s cave.
  • Altar Diplomacy: The purpose of trying to arrange a marriage for Edward. The king wants an alliance with another kingdom, preferably a powerful one, in the face of hostile powers that have begun looking at his kingdom greedily.
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  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Some of Edward's ancestors in "What a Comforting Thing to Know" when they died. They deserved it, as the song's preceding lines described.
  • Arranged Marriage: Between the King and Queen. They want the same for their son.
  • Ascended Extra: The fairy godmother has a lot more screen time than in most versions. So does the prince (and his parents).
  • Awful Wedded Life: The King and Queen don't seem to like each other very much (justified, since they had an Arranged Marriage). Some lines imply the King is a Henpecked Husband.
    The King: What has love got to do with being married? / Being married is a problem all its own... [looks over at his wife]
  • Beta Couple: While Edward frets about wanting to marry for love, and then runs into problems when he does finally meet Cinderella, John has already met the lady of his dreams, and she reciprocates. His only problem is that he is a servant. There is otherwise no drama to their relationship.
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  • Black Comedy: "What a Comforting Thing to Know" takes place in the royal mausoleum and is about how past members of the royal family died. The prince mocks the vast majority of them.
    The day he died, the people cried / They cried... (beat) they cried three cheers!
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: When Lord Chamberlain convinces Cinderella to leave Prince Edward for the good of the country, she asks him to make Edward believe she was being cruel to him, to make him glad she left him. It doesn't work.
  • Break the Haughty: After being found by Prince Edward, Cinderella visits her Wicked Stepmother one last time, forgiving her for her cruelties. The stepmother is left spluttering in incoherent fury while her two daughters are beside themselves with grief at their lost opportunity to win the prince.
    Wicked Stepmother: How dare she forgive me?
  • Dance of Romance: When Cinderella arrives at the ball, she almost immediately gets the prince to herself as they dance, and it quickly becomes clear they are falling head over heels for each other.
  • Dancing with Myself: Both Cinderella and Edward do this during "He/She Danced With Me". Justified, since they're remembering their dance with each other.
  • Dark Reprise: An instrumental version. The music of "I Can't Forget the Melody" contains some of the music of "Secret Kingdom". "Secret Kingdom" is about Cinderella and Edward's love; "Melody" is about Cinderella thinking that they can't be together.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters have at least one sarcastic line.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: The King is indignant by the Queen's claim he cheats at games and declares "Kings never cheat. They adapt to circumstance, but they don't cheat."
  • Fairy Godmother: Standard issue for a Cinderella story, though she's snarkier and more world-weary than most. She also had to fix things for Snow White, is currently helping Shahrazad, is planning to do so for the Little Mermaid and the Ugly Duckling, and it's implied she also helped William Tell and Robin Hood and Maid Marian. In fact, her magic is spread so thin at the moment because of how overworked she is that it's the reason Cinderella has a midnight deadline; the Fairy Godmother has so little magic to spare that she is forced to borrow some, and that has to be returned at midnight.
  • Final Love Duet: "Secret Kingdom (Reprise)" for Cinderella and the Prince.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the scene in the fairy godmother's home, there are multiple references to other fairy tales and folk tales. The camera focusses on a thank you gift from Robin Hood and Maid Marion, but other references include William Tell.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: Subverted. The Prince does send envoys around the kingdom to try and find the lady who can fit the slipper, but he never finds Cinderella. In the end, he enshrines the shoe in a glass case in the courtyard, and months later smashes the case and throws the shoe away in frustration. Cinderella finds the shoe and dances with it in her hand. John and Lady Caroline just happen to spot her and rush off to fetch the prince. Cinderella therefore never tries on the slipper to prove her identity.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: After the ball, the step-sisters daydream about what the prince might be doing, and the scene immediately cuts to reveal it.
    Palatine: (staring dreamily) I wonder what the Prince is doing today?
    (Cut to an angry Prince Edward in the library)
    Edward: I'll tell you what the Prince is going to do today…!
  • Lie Back and Think of England: A rare male version; the King mentions that when he married the Queen, he closed his eyes and thought of Euphrania.
  • Love at First Sight: Cinderella and Edward see each other, and from then on they barely see anyone else. Edward's cousin and Edward's arrange bride also fall in love the moment they look into each other's eyes; the Fairy Godmother makes it clear she arranged that one to ensure peace between the countries as a result of her meddling to bring Edward and Cinderella together.
  • Marry for Love: Prince Edward wants to do this.
  • Mirror-Cracking Ugly: One of the stepsisters breaks in a mirror when she looks in it.
  • Missed Him by That Much: A variation, since the people involved haven't met at all by this point. During the opening credits, the funeral procession of Cinderella's father goes past, and seconds later the Prince and his companions ride by.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Lord Chamberlain’s justification for convincing Cinderella to leave the kingdom rather than marry Prince Edward, as their marriage might interfere with a planned Arranged Marriage that would bring an alliance with a neighboring kingdom.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The prince, here called Edward, and the stepsisters, Isobella and Palatine.
  • Noodle Incident: "Protocoligorically Correct" gives us this line.
    The King: How quickly the armies of Neuberg / Would deploy to destroy us — again!
  • No Self-Buffs: The Fairy Godmother's magic can do absolutely everything that is needed to complete the task, but she can't ever use her magic to do things for herself.
    Fairy Godmother: [To the dog] You'd like a bone; there you are. [Conjures a bone] Now, what about me? Would I like a nice cup of tea? Yes, I would, thank you very much. Now watch this closely; kettle, boil. [Kettle falls into the fire] You see? Disaster.
  • Not His Sled: Cinderella and the Prince aren't able to marry at first. The frustrated Fairy Godmother is forced to fix this, by bringing Cinderella to the Prince's arranged wedding and finding a way to both reunite them and ensure that the alliance between kingdoms goes on as planned.
  • Overly Long Name: Prince Edward's full name is "Edward Charles Albert George James Richard Augustus Phillip".
  • Pair the Spares: Edward's cousin was hoping to use the ball to find himself a wife as well, but fails. He's not considered much of a catch. However, to smooth out the political alliances she upsets by ensuring Cinderella marries the prince, the Fairy Godmother has the original bride and the cousin fall instantly in love with each other.
  • Police Are Useless: Euphrania's police are useless, according to Prince Edward, although he does admit a little later that they do have a reputation for being decent.
    Edward: Our police, father, couldn't find a missing haystack, let alone a needle.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: After everyone sings about love having nothing to do with marriage, the Dowager Queen answers the question at the very end, causing everyone to stare at her.
    The King and Queen: What has love got to do with getting married?
    The Dowager Queen: We are not prepared to say!
  • Royal "We": Prince Edward sings "Why Can't I Be Two People?", a song about how the Royal "we" should allow him to be two people so that one can honour his responsibilities while the other free to do whatever he wants, especially marry for love.
  • Ruritania: The story takes place in the kingdom of Euphrania. No one never states where Euphrania is, but it's a very mountainous country with rather Austrian-looking castles. They tend to vaguely point to central European locations on maps (such as Austria or Switzerland or southern Germany), although there is one joke about the forgetful King asking if their kingdom's location is "England" (all the actors have British accents), leading his council to stare at him in disbelief.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: A downplayed example; when it becomes clear Edward intends to marry Cinderella, and will not be dissuaded, the king is left in a quandary as this goes against the kingdom's constitution, a constitution that he wrote, so he can change it if he wants, as the Fairy Godmother points out. While that is true, he can't change the political situation with neighboring countries and so has to find another solution for that angle.
  • Secret Test of Character: The Fairy Godmother does this when she arrives unannounced as a poor traveling peddler and asks Cinderella for shelter. Despite some misgivings over what her stepmother would do if they got caught, she allows the woman in. Later, the Fairy Godmother flat out says that's what she was doing and Cinderella passed, so she gets her wishes granted. She also mentions that she didn't even bother giving a test to the stepmother and her daughters because there was no point even trying.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Fairy Godmother is very overworked. At the same time she's dealing with Cinderella, she's already helped Snow White, is currently trying to help Scheherazade invent her stories, will be helping the Little Mermaid in a few days time, and Robin Hood and Maid Marian have sent her a thank you gift for helping them. She also mentions William Tell, the Ugly Duckling, and has two doves called Hansel and Gretel.
    • She has a hen called Henrietta which is a reference to The Tale of Henrietta Hen by Arthur Scott Bailey. Just like in the story, this Henrietta is constantly causing trouble.
    • During "I Can't Forget the Melody", Cinderella's costume and hat (and the fact she's on a swing) are a shout-out to Fragonard's "The Swing" painting.
    • “I wonder what the prince is doing today.”/“I’ll tell you what the prince is doing today.”
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: Cinderella sings "I Can't Forget the Melody" while on a swing.
  • Uptown Girl: This is why John can't marry Lady Caroline. Edward finds a way around it by knighting John.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Just when it looks like things are looking up for Cinderella and Edward, the Lord Chamberlain tells her that she cannot marry Edward because of a war and decides to send her on a carriage bound for who-knows-where.

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