Disney's Live-Action Version Rekindles Old Magic

March 13, 2015 5:39 PM

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Disney's Live-Action Version Rekindles Old Magic

The Cinderella story, codified by Charles Perrault as Cendrillon in 1697, has been a movie staple since the beginning of the medium. That prime cinemagician Georges Méliès conjured up a Cendrillon in 1899, employing trick photography to turn a rabbit into a footman, rats into coachmen and a pumpkin into a carriage. The role was played in 1914 by Mary Pickford, the movies’ first star actress, and, in a gender-bending switch, by Jerry Lewis in the 1960 CinderFella. Julie Andrews graced Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1957 TV musical version, remade in 1966 with Lesley Ann Warren and in 1997 with Brandy. Drew Barrymore brought feminist spark to Ever After: A Cinderella Story in 1998; Anne Hathaway endured ogres and snakes in the 2006 Ella Enchanted. A few months ago, in Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick’s Cinderella found to her chagrin what happens after “happy ever after.”

But if the Cinderella fable has an owner and chief curator, it’s Walt Disney. Of the hundreds of movie versions, his 1950 animated feature is the most popular and best remembered. All these decades later, the studio expects no bad luck from the Friday-the-13th release of a lavish live-action version...

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