Animated Valentine: Disney's Cinderella
A wise old king awakens in a nostalgic mood, determined to rouse the pitter-patter of little feet that once trampled the kingdom. On a whim, His Imperial Majesty decides to throw a ball and invite all of the eligible maidens, so that his son the prince may choose best in show. All except Cinderella, who is kept under lock and key by her wicked step-mother Lady Tremaine (Eleanor Audley). One can hardly pin all the blame on Lady T. After all, the youngun’ not only lives her life in defiance of nature’s order — teaching cats to befriend mice?! — it is also her job to keep the chateau clean, and the joint is overrun with rodentia and adorable songbird droppings. This marked a make-or-break moment in the studio’s history: it had been a long time between hits, due in large part to a war that cost Disney its lucrative European box office. Happily, its 12th feature proved to be the most profitable since Snow White. The delight is in the details: field mice and bluebirds — all with unique characteristics and personalities — guiding Cinderella through her morning ablutions and later measuring and stitching together her ball gown; the detailed movement of Jaq’s team running reconnaissance missions to sneak food past green-eyed vexation Lucifer, and the surrealistically-appointed, and all-too brief appearance of the shimmering “Sing, Sweet Nightingale” balletic-bubbles. Even on television, the clarity and detail of the background work will steal your breath away. And don’t forget pixie dust trails, miles of the stuff, magically etching the night sky with shimmering cascades. Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske.