Movies and music are where I tend to draw the majority of my inspiration. And Disney is a treasure trove of both. Starting with music, here is my complete playlist for Cinderella Week available on Spotify! I used it for my stair runs and throughout the week to keep me thinking happy fairytale thoughts. Play from start to finish for a musical story telling or shuffle it up. Your choice!
There are plenty of Cinderella movies and adaptations out there to watch during Cinderella Week that will keep you in an Ella state of mind…
Here are my favorite ones:
Obviously we have to start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! In 1950, Cinderella made her debut on the big screen as Disney second resident princess. And her tale has lasted decades! And while there are plenty of lovely remakes on this list, this classic telling will always hold a place in my heart.
As far as adaptations go, this live action remake that came out in 2015 is absolute perfection. Lily James was just coming out of her Downton Abbey success and was primed for a great role! And she got it in Cinderella. With an accompanying prince in the form of Rob Stark himself (Richard Madden) playing the dashing and ever so handsome Kit. Where the cartoon glosses over the nuances of a relationship built in a night, the live action fills in the space beautifully and offers an extra chance encounter to get sparks flying. This deserves it’s place in the Disney vault! Though I can’t end this blurb without saying something about Cate Blanchett’s evil stepmother. She puts a shudder down your spine with just a look. The true mark of an excellent Disney villain!
Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1965)
Diving right in to the musicals, we have Roger + Hammerstein’s 1965 Cinderella featuring Leslie Ann Warren. This musical actually debuted on TV in 1957 with none other than Julie Andrews. This is not my favorite Cinderella musical adaptation (look to the next entry for that one) but it is enjoyable and the chemistry between Leslie Ann Warren and her Prince Charming, Stuart Damon is delightful!
Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997)
Let’s first by talking about the year 1997. I was in the 8th grade and Whitney Houston was my idol! I had every Brandy CD and loved Seinfeld. This musical had everything I could ever want. It was cheesy as hell! There’s no way that Whoopi Goldberg + Victor Garber = Paolo Montalbán, but who cares when you’re an 8th grader with a love of all musical things. This movie caught me at the exact right time in my life and will continue to hold a place in my heart!
I love, love, love this more realistic telling of the Cinderella story. Drew Barrymore plays the poor, orphaned Danielle who has been living with her horrible step family since her father’s death. Angelica Houston nails the role of evil stepmother. And Dougray Scott plays the very charming prince. Her dress at the ball was a serious prom dress goal for me. This came out in 1998 when I was in the 9th grade.
The Glass Slipper
The Glass Slipper is an adaptation that falls through the cracks for a lot of Cinderella fans. It stars Leslie Caron as a very different kind of Cinderella. She is much more of a tomboy who is very unhappy with her lot in life. She meets who she thinks is an apprentice in the palace, but who is in fact the prince. Given that Caron is an excellent dancer, there’s some great dance numbers in this one and Michael Wilding’s Prince Charles is…well…I know I keep saying they’re all charming, but they are and it’s sort of a requirement, isn’t it!
A Cinderella Story
Oh Chad Michael Murray, you beautiful specimen. In 2004, Hilary Duff was in the midst of her Lizzie McGuire fame and Chad Michael Murray was smack dab in the middle of his One Tree Hill fame. Which made for the perfect pairing in this teen high school comedy about two students at either end of the popularity spectrum at school, falling in love through IM/text and never seeing each other’s faces. Until he asks her to meet him at the school dance at midnight. She shows up as Cinderella, he shows up as Prince Charming, but will he discover that it’s really the “Diner Girl” under all that glamor. Yep, I love this one too!
I’m pretty biased when it comes to Jerry Lewis movies. I was raised on them! And this adaptation of Cinderella in the form of Cinderfella is a favorite. Poor Fella is orphaned as Cinderella’s often are and left to the ministrations of terrible stepmother and stepbrothers. But he’s got a fairy godfather who’s gonna help him meet the princess. Lewis is an expert physical comedian. My favorite part in this movie is a dance scene he does in the kitchen. Love it!
Ella Enchanted was based on a book of the same name, so I get a very mixed reaction to this one from people. I happen to love it. Anne Hathaway plays Ella, a girl who was given the gift/curse of obedience by her fairy godmother when she was a baby. When her evil stepsister figures out her secret, she’ll use it against her. When Ella meets the handsome prince who she is determined not to like (but ends up totally liking), she’ll do all she can to save him from the consequences of her gift. This movie has a great cast: Minnie Driver, Hugh Dancy, Lucy Punch, Vivica Fox, Parminder Nagra, Eric Idle, Steve Coogan and the one and only Cary Elwes as the evil Edgar.
If the Shoe Fits
Well, if you’ve never seen this one, you don’t even know what you’re missing. Rob Lowe plays a famous fashion designer, Francesco, who is looking for his perfect muse. Jennifer Grey plays an assistant with big dreams to design the shoes for his fashion shows. But she gets no notice from him till she tries on an enchanted pair of shoes that transform her into the perfect muse for Francesco and hey, a love interest too!!
A Cinderella Christmas
This one has got Hallmark Channel Christmas movie written all over it, though it is an Ion TV original. I’ll let the blurb from the website speak for itself, “At a holiday masquerade ball, fledgling event planner Angie Wells and wealthy playboy Nicholas Karmichael, who needs to marry to retain his inheritance, meet and fall for each other anonymously. While Nicholas tries to locate the girl of his dreams, Angie must choose between pursuing her lifelong dream of running a business or following her heart.” This one has merit purely for the handsome Peter Porte who plays the wealthy playboy Nicholas.
Aladdin is very much a Cinderella story. A poor boy of low circumstance has a magical companion who assists him in changing his appearance so he can go meet the beautiful princess. It’s far more in depth than the classic telling of Cinderella and the genie is by far, my favorite character in all Disney canon. But I added this one to the list for it’s Cinderella overtones and because the movie itself ranks high on my Disney list as well.
Ah, Sabrina. Not exactly a Cinderella story, but the template is there. A simple chauffeur’s daughter falls in love with the youngest son of her father’s wealthy employer. She goes off to Paris where she is transformed from a gawky girl to a beautiful woman, there’s even a memorable dress involved. This one has a twist, because it isn’t the younger son who turns her head in the end.
See the notes from the 1954 Hepburn/Bogart edition, because this is a faithful adaptation of that movie. Except it has the ever handsome Harrison Ford as Linus Huckabee and the transformative Julia Ormond as Sabrina. Greg Kinnear rounds out this cast as the younger brother who first steals Sabrina’s heart.
There are plenty of other Cinderella adaptations to choose from, but these are my favorites. Which is yours?