Ever After is a live-action fairy tale film version of “Cinderella” produced in 1998 by the Twentieth Century Fox and directed by Tennant Any. The film is a contemporary, practical version of “Cinderella”. Danielle’s (Barrymore) father dies suddenly and her stepmother makes her one of the servants. She is beautiful, kind, independent and wise. Accordingly to the original Cinderella story, there are two stepsisters: one of them is evil whereas the other is very agreeable. Despite all these hurdles, she grows up an independent and content woman who is well prepared to handle all sudden changes of fate like in the original story. Prince Henry makes his way into her life although he has numerous problems at home; however, with the help of her fairy godmother (regarded as Leonardo da Vinci) their love prospers after all. This story is similar to the text because against all odds, Cinderella stands up to her wicked stepmother and changes the lives of all people around her, including Prince Henry. According to Hallett and Karasek (2011), the Cinderella Story “signifies that the individual has risen from obscurity and oppression to success and celebrity, perhaps with the implication that the good fortune is well deserved” (p. 71).
After meeting Cinderella the second time, Prince Henry is fascinated by her spirit, intelligence and beauty and hence becomes more determined to learn more about her; however, he has to find her as she keeps slipping away from him. This is similar to the text story where Cinderella disappears before midnight and the King uses the glass sandal she leaves behind to trace her. In this case, she slips from him numerous times and hence, this is different from the text version. Similar to the original story, Marguerite, Danielle’s stepsister also sets her sight on Prince Henry with the assistance of her mischievous courtier and her mother. Nonetheless, Prince Henry and Cinderella end up together in love like in the text.
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The movie is a Hollywood notion of fairy-tale romance with a self-conscious determination to modernize the Cinderella narrative to more contemporary ideas of feminist principles and realism. The film is placed in historicized setting, sixteenth-century France, so that it can emphasize its deliberate play with realism in the text. The film does away with all traces of magic and the eventual happy conclusion between Danielle and Prince Henry is founded on understanding as opposed to revelation, which is attained by mundane rather than magical intervention. The film replaces the fairy godmother in the text with Leonardo da Vinci to reinforce realism claims. The historical setting of the film is hazy and it diverges from the actual process in the text.
In various scenes, the idea of realism is similarly highlighted by framing of the film, in which the Queen of France narrates the real story of Cinderella to Brothers Grimm. By doing this, the queen authenticates the story as a historical document, which concerns her ancestors. The French Actress, Jeanne Moreau is cast as the Grand Dame in the film and plays a very short, but critical role in the beginning of the movie. She sends for the Brothers Grimm to pay her a visit at her chateau, so that she can set the brothers straight about their Cinderella story version. The meta-fictional play acts against the film’s repeated reality claims, following the general tendency of the embedded narrative to lay emphasis on the fictionality of the storyline against comparative realism of the frame narrative.
The film attempt to update the characters of both Prince Henry and Cinderella falters against the strength of the fairy-tale expectations. Danielle is a spirited feminist hero to Prince Henry conflicted incompetence; however, both are eventually defined and constrained by their fairy-tale roles. Ever After is a particularly strong modern example of a fairy-tale narrative; this is reinforced by the film adherence to the familiar terms used in the Cinderella text story. There are numerous added parts such as the sequence of scenes, which depict the rescuing of Maurice, the servant who had been sold by the Baroness to pay her taxes. This is also evident in the character of “Richard O’ Brien,” he becomes very successful from playing creepy, peculiar villains as well as assorted characters and has a crush on Danielle. The familiar magic tricks of the Cinderella text story are removed; for instance, there are no pumpkins, which turn into a coach and there are no birds to make a dress for Cinderella. Nevertheless, the film replaces the fairy godmother with a mentor figure.
One of the underlying themes in the Cinderella story is bereavement. The death of Cinderella parents shapes the drama of her life; this is a story of an untimely loss, which shapes the drama of her life. This affects the interpretation of the story, as it portrays the act that people suffer setbacks and face numerous challenges; however, to regain a sense of purpose and place, they have to be full of courage and strength. Danielle bides her time; she does not let go her dreams, she secretly keeps them and nourishes them until they are adequately strong to bear fruits. In a way she portrays that, imagination eventually produces reality; she fails to yield to the people around her who chose to deny her essential nobility. Ever After is an adventure with the transformation of Gabrielle coming inside, as opposed from the fairy godmother. Disney makes its characters to stand for something a contemporary audience could relate to and offers them adequate personality depth to maintain interest. Some of the meanings of the character have changed. Nonetheless, the main themes of the movies are true love and romance.
The Cinderella text has provided a rich source material for a big production and this film departs from the usual story in important details while at the same time maintains the strength of the original: the filmmaker has incorporated the best lessons from the text story and there is quite much in the film that people can take symbolically.
Cinderella 1950 film
Cinderella is a 1950 animated film produced by Walt Disney and based on Charles Perrault take “Cendrillon”. Like the current Cinderella movies, this 1950 film has various features such as costume, setting, characterization and perspective/framing. In the film, Cinderella is portrayed as an adored child of a widowed aristocrat who then decides that she needs a mother’s care and as a result marries, Lady Tremain, a very proud woman who has two daughters, Anastasia and Drizella, from her first marriage. The two sisters envy Cinderella’s beauty and her charming nature, as they are plain and socially awkward. After Cinderella’s father dies, Cinderella is left under the care of her wicked stepmother and sisters who even allow their cat, Lucifer to torment her. Cinderella is forced to become a servant in her own home although it does not change her character. According to Hallett and Karasek (2011) “Beauty is a fine thing in a woman: it will always be admired. But charm is beyond price and worth more, in the long run” (p.78).
In another scene, the King at the Royal palace is agonized by the fact that his son did not intend to marry and in order to see his grandchildren, the King and the Duke organize a ball where every eligible maiden attends so that Prince Charming can choose a wife. Cinderella is granted permission to attend the ball by her stepmother after she finishes her chores, but before she departs, her two stepsisters destroy her gown and hence she is left behind. Nonetheless, Cinderella’ Fairy Godmother appears and bestows upon her a beautiful dress and a carriage using a spell, which was to break at midnight.
At the ball, Prince Charming falls in love with Cinderella. When the clock starts to chime midnight, Cinderella flees and drops one of her glass slippers, which is used to find her by the King. When lady Tremaine realizes that Cinderella is the girl who had danced with the Prince, she locks her in her attic bedroom. Upon the arrival of the Grand Luke, the mice help Cinderella to flee. The two stepsisters fit the slipper unsuccessfully and when Cinderella appears and requests to fit the slipper, Lady Tremaine trips the footman who drops the slipper but Cinderella produces the other slipper, which fits her perfectly. Prince Charming and Cinderella get married soon after.
In contrast to the text, the movie clearly portrays Cinderella as a kind and charming and the other characters are used to bring out Cinderella’s nature. Her father loves her greatly because of her nature and even resolves to get a mother for her. Her stepsisters envy her as they are just plain and as a result, they mistreat her. Nonetheless, Cinderella does not repay evil with evil and maintains her kind nature even after she is turned into a servant in her own home. She maintains her hope through her dreams, she becomes very determined and very strong willed, and those attributes are portrayed throughout the entire film.
This portrayal also affects the viewer’s perception of Cinderella as one is forced feel pity for her because of her refusal to give in to evil even after being mistreated by her step mother and step sisters. The entire story generally points to the point that one should not repay evil with evil and should not lose hope because in the end, Cinderella becomes a princess and her life changes forever.
In contrast to the text, there are various symbolic imageries in the film version, which are more emphasized. For instance, the symbolic message of the glass slippers within the text is emphasized in the film version. It is emphasized more than in the text, as Cinderella walks in the glass shoes and does not break them. This portrays her delicate nature and the fact that she can easily become accustomed to characteristically uncomfortable situations. In the original story, the slippers were made of fur and this was changed to glass in the film context. This symbolic emphasis on glass slippers shows that the story is just a fairy tale as in a real world context there are no glass slippers.
The film imagery affects the themes, which become dominant in the viewer’s interpretation of the story. The themes are true to the original text, as they lay emphasis on the themes suggested in the books. The Mice in this film are given a personality and they are turned into important characters whereas in the previous versions they just transformed to be a part of Cinderella’s grand transportation to the ball. The glass slippers are one of the most famous elements and very important in numerous aspects in the Cinderella story; they are an expensive and hence proper footwear for a princess.
The characterization of Cinderella makes the audience to take the story as aspects of their own lives. At the center, Cinderella is a story about an orphan. It is about losing one’s parents and managing to cope with the dislocation as well as the grief, which follows the loss. The Cinderella text has provided a rich source material for a big production and this film departs from the usual story in important details while at the same time maintains the strength of the original: the filmmaker has incorporated the best lessons from the text story and there is quite much in the film that people can take symbolically.
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