Cinderella saw the Walt Disney Studios return to animated feature films after a forced hiatus during World War II. The idea of adapting the classic fairy tale had been bandied about the studio for decades - even starting as a short in Walt's early animation days - and finally became a feature released in 1950. The soundtrack went on to become of the studio's greatest successes, and in fact won Academy Awards for Original Music Score as well as Best Song for "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo."
The story of Cinderella is so time-worn as to be a description itself. After the death of her father, Cinderella is locked in almost silent servitude to her evil stepmother and selfish stepsisters. One day the king of the land decrees that all eligible ladies are to come to a ball held at the palace, in the hopes that the prince will find one to become his bride. Although hampered all along the way by her stepmother and stepsisters, Cinderella - with the magical help of her fairy godmother - attends the ball and steals the young prince's heart. But in her mad dash to leave before the magical spell wears off, the prince is left without even knowing her true identity, with the exception of the glass slipper that fell from her foot.
It's an old story that has been told countless times. But as is the case with many Disney films that retell classic tales, it's this version that has come to define how many of us remember the tale. But the main points of the story still carry over faithfully from the French strain of the tale: the fairy godmother, the pumpkin carriage, the glass slipper and the prince's search throughout the land to match it to his bride. But as Disney films continue to teach us with their princess movies, these love-lorn ladies are all left alone except for their woodland friends. And in a sharp break with reality, they often are quite fond of mice, especially here where they basically share equal billing.
The animation is oddly weighted when compared to other Disney features. Most of the humans, with the exception of the king and grand duke, are very simply drawn and often carry little in the way of facial expressions. Contrast this with the animals, which are highly expressive and detailed, especially Lucifer the cat and the lead mice roles. While Cinderella carries the lead of princess in waiting, it's this side story of mice who are tormented - much as Cinderella is by her stepmother - that yield some of the most dynamically emotional scenes.