Another massive success in a run that included such gems as "Snow White" and "Dumbo", Disney's 1950 effort, "Cinderella", still remains a legendary animated feature today. I'm guessing that everyone knows the story (by Charles Perrault) of "Cinderella", but offer a brief run-down anyways: Cinderella (voiced by Ilene Woods) suffers the loss of her father, and then sees her once beautiful estate become controlled by her evil stepmother and her evil stepsisters, who see fit to work Cinderella day and night.
With a group of hyperactive little mice as her only friends, Cinderella manages to get through her days with pride and grace, even though she's treated horribly by her relatives. When she finds out that there is to be a ball, she manages to make her way to the event, despite protest from her stepsisters. With the help of the fairy godmother, she's transformed into elegance, complete with all the accessories. However, at the stroke of midnight, everything turns back the way it was. Running from the ball just in time, the prince starts the famed search for the glass slipper.
The film moves through its brief running time quickly, with a fine, fun mixture of song and story. The voice work is first-rate, and the animation still remains elegant and beautiful today, refreshingly warm and graceful in era where digital animation is so almost impossibly crisp and precise.
VIDEO:Disney presents "Cinderella" in 1.33:1 full-frame, the film's original aspect ratio. Not surprisingly, Disney has given a great deal of attention to the presentation of one of their most legendary titles. The animation looks marvelous, as Disney's sparkling new transfer absolutely brings the movie to fresh new life. Sharpness and detail are consistently excellent (impressive, even, given the age of the movie), and the picture looked moderately crisper and more precise than the prior DVD.
It looks as if almost every frame has been cleaned up, with no specks, marks or other wear. No edge enhancement, pixelation or other concerns appeared throughout. Colors look fresher and brighter, appearing pure and clean throughout the majority of the running time.
SOUND: The presentation (DTS-HD 7.1 this time around for the Blu-Ray) opens the original mono track out nicely, with pleasant (yet appropriate) use of the surrounds to reinforce music and deliver some effects. All of the elements - sound effects, music and dialogue - sounded crisp and clear. Although not surprisingly not up to modern recording quality, the audio still sounded better-than-expected, given the age of the movie. A restored mono soundtrack is also included and sounds perfectly fine, as well. The Blu-Ray offered some light improvements in terms of audio vs the prior DVD release, but the differences were not massive.
EXTRAS: The deleted scenes section is rather interesting to have, but it certainly isn't the greatest material. Maybe it's just me, but the deleted songs really don't hold up to what's found in the movie, and sound rather generic, sappy and ordinary.
"From Rags to Riches" is the main documentary feature that's found on the second disc, and it's quite a nice overview of the production. We get an idea of the trouble that Disney was in financially after WWII, and how the studio needed a hit to continue. The documentary also discusses the core animation team behind "Cinderella", the development of the movie and voice casting.
"The Cinderella That Almost Was" is a short featurette hosted by animation director Don Hahn ("Beauty and the Beast"), which outlines the production history and very varied versions of "Cinderella" that were put together and then dropped before finally arriving at the version we have today. The discussion includes material from an unopened envelope that was found in the Disney archives while preparing the DVD.
"From Walt's Table" is a further look at the "Nine Old Men" - the famed animators that were instrumental in gems like "Cinderella". This featurette has the nine coming back together at the restaurant where they often dined with Walt to have a discussion with some of today's top animation talents. It's an informative piece that offers a lot of insights and good stories. Also regarding animators is "The Art of Mary Blair", which takes a look at the artist's work at Disney.
The Blu-Ray also offers a handful of nice, new supplemental fare, including the promotional "A New Disney Princess Fairyland" as well as the informative "Real Fairy Godmother" and "Magic of the Glass Slipper". An alternate opening, digital storybook feature and new animated short, "Tangled Ever After", are also included. The "Real Fairy Godmother" and "Magic" featurettes are the highlight of the new extras material.
Final Thoughts: Still a treasured classic after all these years, "Cinderella" gets terrific treatment on this new Blu-Ray, which offers excellent presentation quality and fine extras. Recommended.
The Film A