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The Cinderella Trilogy on DVD: Cinderella | Cinderella II: Dreams Come True | Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

Cinderella: Platinum Edition DVD Review

Cinderella (1950) movie poster Cinderella

Theatrical Release: February 15, 1950 / Running Time: 75 Minutes / Rating: G

Directors: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Voice Cast: Ilene Woods (Cinderella), Eleanor Audley (Lady Tremaine), Verna Felton (Fairy Godmother), Rhoda Williams (Drizella), James MacDonald (Gus, Jaq, Bruno), Luis Van Rooten (King, Grand Duke), Don Barclay (Doorman), Lucille Bliss (Anastasia), June Foray (Lucifer), Betty Lou Gerson (Narrator), Clint McCauley (Mice), William Phipps (Prince Charming)

Songs: "Cinderella", "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes", "Sing, Sweet Nightingale", "The Work Song", "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo", "So This is Love"

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Page 1: Platinum Edition - Movie, Video and Audio, Bonus Features, Menus, Closing Thoughts
Page 2: Collector's Gift Set in Detail

COLLECTOR'S GIFT SET IN DETAIL

By Matthew Rand and Mike

Disney has consistently treated their most beloved animated films to wonderful DVD packages in the form of their Platinum Collection line. Cinderella has been enjoyed by many generations since it premiered in 1950 and this month, it became the last of Walt Disney's animated classics to be released to the DVD format and the latest Platinum Edition. Some fans, however, are sure to feel that the film's long-awaited digital debut just needs that extra something. That void can be filled with the Collector's Gift Set DVD. This deluxe box of goodies contains a copy of the Platinum Edition DVD widely available separately. It also includes various memorabilia pertaining to the film. But, with a suggested retail price of $49.99, the question you may be asking: Is it worth the money?

Pricey but appealing, the Collector's Gift Set draws in your attention. Here's the stuff buyers of Platinum Edition do not get: a film frame, eight character sketches, and a hardcover companion book.

In a word, yes. Following in the footsteps of The Lion King and Aladdin, this Gift Set's goodies are housed in a beautiful, thick cardboard box, which is a deep blue with a tint of indigo. The artwork on the box is as lovely as Cinderella and as charming as the Prince. It is magnificently decorated with the "Cinderella Special Edition" logo floating above the famed glass slipper (sparkling fairy dust and all) sitting on a royal blue pillow. The backdrop is a twilight sky with The Prince's glowing silver castle to match. The back of the box has the same text about the film's audience-captivating qualities and the DVD's bonus features that can be found on the back of the DVD itself.
The DVD inside is shrink wrapped and housed, as usual, in a cardboard slipcover which opens up to reveal the bonus features, restoration information, etc. Unfortunately, more often than not, with the Gift Set, all you receive inside the keepcase (besides the two discs which house the film and bonus features) is the DVD Guide, without the Disney DVD Insider or Coupon Booklets. Luckily, Walt Disney Home Entertainment Consumer Relations (reached at 1-800-723-4763) are happy to mail you any missing papers.

Now, let's not get sidetracked. There is more to the set than just the DVD. Also included are eight Character Portrait Drawings, done by original Cinderella animator Ollie Johnston (the only living one of Walt's Nine Old Men) and current Disney animator Andreas Deja. When opening up the special portfolio housing the sketches, you'll find a Certificate of Authenticity stating that the drawings were specially made in 2005 exclusively for the gift set on "acid-free Dur-O-Tone Butcher White 80 lb. cover paper"...da-da-da-da-da-da, and so on. The first sketch is a picture of Cinderella and the Prince dancing at the Ball. The pictures following are (in order:) Jaq and Gus (the main Mice), the Royal Footman who performs the glass slipper fittings, Lady Tremaine, the King and the Grand Duke (fighting, as always), Lucifer the Cat, Drizella and Anastasia practicing their music lesson, and finally, the Fairy Godmother. Even though the characters in the sketches don't look exactly like their on-screen counterparts, they are still very nice. Each drawing bears the (non-original) signatures of both Johnston and Deja.

The portfolio for the character drawings and film frame. You're almost there... Four of the eight character sketches, created by animators Ollie Johnston and Andreas Deja.

The next goodie inside this package is the Cinderella Senitype (that is, a film frame reproduction), which is enclosed in its own (removable) plastic wrapping. The cel is surrounded by a piece of cardboard which shows the Special Edition logo and the glass slipper, looking very classy as on the main box. The frame itself depicts a shot from Cinderella's dress transformation (a favorite scene for many fans of the film, including reportedly Walt Disney). Each person may receive a different still from the scene, however, I got one right as she is looking down in awe, with the fairy dust just disappearing (No. 139713). The back of the cardboard is white and describes the scanning and reproduction process used to create the Senitype.

The full piece of cardboard which holds the Senitype. Look closer and you'll see Cinderella is being transformed in the film frame.

The third, and, final item in the Gift Set is A Dream Come True: The Storybook and the Making of a Masterpiece. This sleek 159-page hardcover collector's book is split up into three chapters ("Introduction", "The Storybook", and "The Making of a Masterpiece"). Introduction (6 pages) talks briefly about how Cinderella rescued the Disney studio from a very rough time, becoming the first real financial success since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Storybook (70 pages) is, well, a storybook, which briskly tells the tale of Disney's Cinderella. This seems a little unnecessary -- who needs a retelling when the Gift Set contains the movie itself? -- but with imagery from the film and beautiful concept art (unlike past Gift Set storybooks), no true fan could consider this a complete disappointment. The last part, The Making of a Masterpiece (90 pages) is also easily the lengthiest and best section of the book, showcasing (what else?) the making of Cinderella.

This terrific look at creation answers many questions readers might have, such as: How did Walt Disney decide on Cinderella? How much work did Walt Disney himself put into the film? How did the artists develop the look of the characters? A ton of insight, many anecdotes, and a slew of quotes make this book not just informative, but a wholly engaging read. Each page is full of artwork, from art that inspired the film to movie stills, from production photos to live action reference images.

The book: "A Dream Come True: The Storybook and Making of a Masterpiece." Nice to look at, but a bit extraneous: the storybook section of the book. Cinderella's ugly stepsisters are profiled in this section from "The Making of a Masterpiece" portion of the book.

One should note that this rewarding Making of part of the book is actually reprinted from a book that came with Cinderella's Exclusive Deluxe Limited Edition VHS set. That collection also contained Cinderella Masterpiece Collection videocassette, an exclusive lithograph, "The Making of Walt Disney's Masterpiece Cinderella" bonus VHS, and a certificate of authenticity signed by Roy E. Disney. The original printing of the book had a very different cover, and this new edition has many pictures that were not in the old version, including concept art and stills from the newly-restored print of the film. Though the text is exactly the same in both printings, one section from the original is omitted in the reprint. This section (titled "Restoration") detailed the efforts taken from 1992 to make Cinderella dazzle home video audiences on VHS and laserdisc for its 1995 reissue.
Obviously, Disney touted a whole new remastering job for the 2005 DVD release, so information on "intensive research" and discussions with the original artists to "respect and protect the integrity of the original Masterpiece" are not only irrelevant but inaccurate as pertaining to the DVD work. The old section declared that the movie looked "as good as the day it premiered", which leads one to wonder if restoring the film "beyond its original brilliance" (a term Disney has employed in promoting the Platinum DVD release) did not involve altering the movie in some way.

Making is divided into fifteen fairly detailed sections on different aspects of this noteworthy production. The first ("Original Story") briefly informs the reader about how the story of Cinderella can be found anywhere, from Rome to France, and how frequently the main ideas can change. "Disney and Cinderella: A Perfect Fit" shows concept art and photographs from the start of production. It illustrates how Disney chose Cinderella to be the film which really showcased his artists' talents and brought the studios back to life. "Cinderella: Ever Gentle and Kind" profiles the title character, discussing eighteen-year-old live action reference model Helene Stanley, who was instrumental in dictating the animation and flow of the protagonist. "Cinderella's Voice" profiles Ilene Woods, the actress who (you guessed it) recorded Cinderella's vocals, and focuses mainly on how she got the job by recording a demo for the film's aspiring songwriters. "The Stepmother: Portrait of Evil" examines Lady Tremaine, who posed a challenge for animators. It includes various stills of the villain of the film and voice actress Eleanor Audley. Brief sections are devoted to supporting characters "Lucifer" (the cat who terrorizes Cinderella's mice and dog friends), "The Stepsisters" (featuring remarks by Ollie Johnston on the homely Drizella and Anastasia), "The Fairy Godmother" (focusing on voice actress Verna Felton and Disney's transformation of the character from old crone to friendly Grandmother-type), and "The Mice" (with remarks by Ward Kimball on the value of caricaturing the real creatures).

Comparing the two books: old and rugged on the left; new, compact, and blue on the right. A look inside at the second making-of section, "Disney and Cinderella: A Perfect Fit."

The final six sections cover thematic elements and individual objects in the film. "Mouse Latin" discusses the ever-adorable Mice way of speaking, while "The Music" naturally focuses on the songs and score of Cinderella and what Walt Disney demanded of them. Three sections bear the heading "The Finishing Touches" and look at the animation of three standout items from the latter parts of the film: "The Glass Slipper", "Pumpkin Coach", and "Shimmering Ball Gown." Finally, "The Legacy: Happily Ever After" reflects on Cinderella's lasting legacy not only in cinema, but in Florida (with discussion of Walt Disney World's Cinderella Castle).

Like the DVD, the book leaves fans wanting a bit more, but it complements the video-based bonus features (at least those which are related to Cinderella) on the two discs. A Dream Come True provides a good way for anyone to find out more about the Cinderella that is well-known and loved.

"Don't you want me, baby?" questions Disney's hefty and heftily-priced latest Collector's Gift Set. Can you go to your DVD shelf and make such a pose yourself or will this be your last look at the Cinderella Collector's Gift Set contents?

Thus concludes this evaluation of the Cinderella: Collector's Gift Set DVD. If you are a big fan of Cinderella, you likely need little encouragement to pick this set up right this instant. Disney collectors also are bound to snatch this off the shelves, seeing that the Platinum DVD alone leaves a fair amount to be desired. Still, with a list price of $49.99 and minimal off-line discounting, it is a purchase that may be daunting for many wallets. With Christmas right around the corner, any fan of Disney and/or Cinderella would gladly accept this as a present (even those who already own the DVD itself), and this magical set may be a fine choice. Like the Gift Sets before it, Cinderella's may not definitively satisfy all or justify its high price, but it is the best offering Disney has made and it makes for one catchy presence among a DVD collector's shelves.

Buy the Cinderella: Collector's Gift Set from Amazon.com

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Page 1 (Platinum Edition DVD Review) | Page 2 (Collector's Gift Set Review)

If you've only bought Disney's Collector's Gift Sets and keep your DVDs on a wood table, your collection might look like this.
Photograph by Lindsay Mayer

Related Interviews:
Ilene Woods (voice of Cinderella) and producer Don Hahn talk with UltimateDisney.com
Frank Nissen (director of Cinderella III: A Twist in Time) discusses the challenges of making a sequel to a classic

Related Reviews
Other Platinum Editions:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Platinum Edition
Beauty and the Beast: Platinum Edition
The Lion King: Platinum Edition
Aladdin: Platinum Edition
Bambi: Platinum Edition
Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition
The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition

Sequels:
Cinderella II: Dreams Come True
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

Disney in the 1950s:
Alice in Wonderland: Masterpiece Edition
Sleeping Beauty: Special Edition
Peter Pan: Special Edition
Darby O'Gill and the Little People
Davy Crockett: Two-Movie Set

Related Preorders
Upcoming 2-Disc Disney DVD Sets:
Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition
Toy Story 2: Special Edition
Walt Disney Treasures (Wave 5):
Disney Rarities, Celebrated Shorts (1920-1960s)
The Chronological Donald, Vol. 2
The Adventures of Spin & Marty
Elfego Baca & The Swamp Fox
Disney Animation, of the Television Variety:
"DuckTales" Volume 1
"Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" Volume 1
"Gargoyles" Season 2, Volume 1

Related Pages:
More on Disney's Platinum Collection
More pictures from the Cinderella DVD
Pictures from the New York Cinderella DVD Premiere
Cinderella in UltimateDisney.com's Top Animated Classics Countdown
Lady Tremaine in UltimateDisney.com's Top Disney Villains Countdown
Cinderella in UltimateDisney.com's Top Disney Heroes & Heroines Countdown
UltimateDisney.com's Top 100 Disney Songs Countdown

Reviewed October 19, 2005.

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