The Slipper and the Rose
The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella is a 1976 British musical film retelling the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. The film was chosen as the Royal Command Performance motion picture selection for 1976.
|The Slipper and the Rose|
The Story of Cinderella
US theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bryan Forbes|
|Produced by||Stuart Lyons|
|Screenplay by||Robert B. Sherman|
Richard M. Sherman
|Based on||"Cinderella" (folk tale)|
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
|Edited by||Timothy Gee|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures (US Theatrical)|
Cinema International Corporation (Overseas Theatrical)
|24 March 1976 (Royal Film Performance)|
25 March 1976
Directed by Bryan Forbes, the film stars Gemma Craven as the heroine, Richard Chamberlain as the prince, and features a supporting cast led by Michael Hordern, Kenneth More, Edith Evans and Annette Crosbie. The film's Academy Award-nominated songs were written by the Sherman Brothers – Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman – who also shared scripting duties with Forbes.
Prince Edward of Euphrania returns home after meeting the princess Selena of Carolsveld, whom his parents have arranged for him to marry. However, The Prince did not propose to the princess, and angrily denounces arranged marriages ("Why Can't I Be Two People?"). Edward prefers to marry for love while his parents want a political alliance ("What Has Love Got to Do with Being Married?").
Meanwhile, Cinderella's cruel stepmother has banished her to the cellar, and forces her to work as a servant to her and her two vindictive daughters, Isobella and Palatine. Cinderella finds some comfort in remembering happier times ("Once I Was Loved"). Whilst putting flowers by her parents' grave, she inadvertently stumbles upon the prince, and his friend and bodyguard John, who are visiting the Royal crypt. The Prince sardonically talks about his dead ancestors, with whom he will one day be buried ("What a Comforting Thing to Know").
Back at the castle, the King of Euphrania is advised that a marriage between Edward and a Princess from one of Euphrania's neighboring countries (and thus potential enemies) would help prevent war. A ball is seen as the perfect way to help Edward choose his bride ("Protocolligorically Correct"). The Prince hates the idea, though his cousin Montague is delighted ("Bride-finding Ball"). When news arrives that Carolsveld intends to make war on Euphrania, Edward has no choice but to accept. However, fewer than half the princesses accept the invitation, so the local nobility, including Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters, are invited.
Because of the lack of dresses at the dressmakers, the stepmother and stepsisters demand that Cinderella sew all three of them elegant gowns for the ball from the fabric of their old dresses. Cinderella has no idea what to do. As luck would have it a fairy godmother, who has a talent for sensing the wishes of those who are pure in heart, arrives and creates three beautiful gowns while Cinderella rests. That night, the stepmother and stepsisters depart for the ball leaving Cinderella alone. Cinderella's fairy godmother returns and informs Cinderella that she too can go to the ball. She transforms Cinderella's shabby dress into a lovely gown, arranges her hair in the period fashion, and a coach and horses are magically prepared. Cinderella is sent off to the ball with a warning that the magic can only last until midnight ("Suddenly It Happens"). It is love at first sight when Cinderella and Edward meet at the ball ("Secret Kingdom"). As the clock strikes midnight, Cinderella races away, leaving behind only her glass slipper ("He / She Danced With Me").
Edward sends his servants out far and wide in search of the woman who fits the glass slipper. The search turns out empty-handed. Edward builds a monument for the slipper and hopes that one day his lost love will turn up. John is also suffering as a result of love: he is in love with a noblewoman, but his position forbids them to be together ("Position and Positioning"). Edward knights John, so John can pursue his romance with Lady Caroline. Finally, frustrated by his fruitless search, Edward breaks the monument, tossing the slipper into the woods where Cinderella finds and starts to dance with it, which catches John's attention and he rushes off to inform the Prince.
Cinderella and Edward are reunited and greeted by her stepmother and stepsisters. Edward asks the permission of the stepmother to marry Cinderella and she gives full permission, if only to get Cinderella off her hands. Cinderella tells her stepmother and stepsisters that she forgives them for their abuse. In the throne room, Edward and Cinderella go before the King and Queen. Whilst the King and Queen find Cinderella to be charming, something seems to be troubling the King. He takes the Lord Chamberlain aside and tells him that there is no way his son and Cinderella, a non-royal, can be married. The Lord Chamberlain conveys this to Cinderella, explaining also that a military alliance through marriage must be established with one of the neighboring kingdoms to protect them against war and to secure the safety and future existence of Euphrania. Along with this disheartening news, it is also explained that she will have to be exiled that very night. Brokenhearted, Cinderella asks the Lord Chamberlain to tell Edward that she never loved him, because she knows that Edward will try to find her because of his love for her ("Tell Him").
Edward, knowing he's fighting a losing battle, agrees to marry whomever the King and Queen choose, but says that his marital duties will go no further than the altar. Cinderella, living peacefully in exile, still thinks of Edward ("I Can't Forget the Melody"). Her fairy godmother arrives and asks Cinderella why she isn't at the castle as Edward is getting married that day. Cinderella, surprised, asks who Edward is marrying. The fairy godmother doesn't know, as it's most certainly the wrong woman, but plans to set things right—again.
Back at the castle, as the wedding is taking place, everyone is surprised when Cinderella shows up in a wedding gown. The King interrupts the wedding and he and his council meet in private. The fairy godmother joins the discussion and convinces the king to change the law, so that Edward can marry the girl of his choice. In a surprising twist, Edward's cousin and the chosen bride fall in love at first sight, and marry, thus fulfilling the alliance after all. Cinderella and Edward live happily ever after.
- Gemma Craven as Cinderella
- Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward
- Margaret Lockwood as the Wicked Stepmother
- Michael Hordern as the King
- Lally Bowers as the Queen
- Edith Evans as the Dowager Queen
- Annette Crosbie as the Fairy Godmother
- Kenneth More as the Lord High Chamberlain
- Christopher Gable as John, the Prince Edward's bodyguard and friend
- Julian Orchard as the Duke of Montague, cousin to the Prince
- Rosalind Ayres as Isobella, Cinderella's Stepsister
- Sherrie Hewson as Palatine, Cinderella's Stepsister
- Polly Williams as Lady Caroline, lady-in-waiting to the Dowager Queen
- John Turner as the Major-Domo
- Keith Skinner as Willoughby, the Major-Domo's assistant
- Fred as the Dog, the Fairy Godmother's pet
- "Why Can't I Be Two People?" – Richard Chamberlain
- "What Has Love Got to Do with Getting Married?" – Michael Hordern, Lally Bowers, Edith Evans, Julian Orchard
- "Once I Was Loved" – Gemma Craven
- "What a Comforting Thing to Know" – Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Gable
- "Protocoligorically Correct" – Michael Hordern, Chorus
- "Bride-finding Ball" – Richard Chamberlain, Julian Orchard
- "Suddenly It Happens" – Annette Crosbie, Gemma Craven
- "Transformation Ballet" - Dancers
- "The Slipper and the Rose Waltz Theme" (an instrumental version of "He Danced With Me")
- "Secret Kingdom" – Richard Chamberlain, Gemma Craven
- "He/She Danced With Me" – Richard Chamberlain, Gemma Craven
- "Position and Positioning" – Christopher Gable, Chorus
- "Tell Him Anything (But Not That I Love Him)" – Gemma Craven
- "I Can't Forget the Melody" – Gemma Craven
- "Secret Kingdom (Reprise)" – Richard Chamberlain, Gemma Craven
In its initial US release by Universal Pictures, the songs "What Has Love Got to Do with Being Married" and "I Can't Forget the Melody" were cut. They were also cut from the soundtrack LP, released in the US (MCA 2097). In 2003 conductor John Wilson included some of Angela Morley's instrumental music in a compilation album featuring her film music. (Dutton Vocalion CDSA 6807).
The scene where Cinderella sings "I Can't Forget the Melody", where she sits on a swing, is a reference to The Swing, a painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Every detail of Cinderella's costume and setting are identical to Fragonard's painting, including the color of her dress and the style of her hat.
At the 24 March 1976 Royal Film Performance of The Slipper and the Rose the Queen Mother commented to the songwriters, "The waltz you wrote for the ballroom scene is the most beautiful song I've ever heard."
Writing in The New York Times, critic Vincent Canby said: "Mr. Forbes and Robert Sherman, authors of the screenplay, have stretched the fable without mercy, largely to accommodate a whole bunch of forgettable songs by the Shermans, who did very well by 'Mary Poppins' and 'Tom Sawyer,' but who, when off stride, as here, sound as if they're parodying the worst of the Broadway musical theater of the '50s." Canby added that as the Prince and Cinderella, "Mr. Chamberlain and Miss Craven have impossible roles that are less like characters in a fairy tale than pictures on a jar of peanut butter." Variety called it "an intelligent and happy blend of as pure an entertainment as has been seen here in some considerable time," with "fine performances by a splendid cast of British actors," particularly Michael Hordern, who "steals many a scene as the King, in one of his best performances ever." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 3 stars out of 4 and wrote, "The songs aren't memorable, but the king and fairy godmother are." Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times stated, "The virtues of the movie, not necessarily in this order, are that it is richly produced, pleasantly witty, and graced by some colorful and engaging performances. It should earn some grown-up gratitude because it demonstrates that family fare does not have to be childish ... The defects are not such as to dent seriously the satisfaction of having so stylish and good-hearted a movie around. But it really is a familiar trip, however luxurious the vehicle, and the last 20 minutes or so seem very long and slow indeed." Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote that the film "won't be remembered as one of the great musicals, but it's more diverting than I supposed," further noting that the script "does have agreeable outbursts of silliness and fancy. Michael Hordern as the worried, abstracted king and Annette Crosbie as Cinderella's brisk, humorous fairy godmother are consistently delightful." Brenda Davies of The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "The songs are not very memorable but they are enjoyable and appropriate in their context; the choreography too fits neatly into the plot but is not in itself particularly imaginative. But these shortcomings are abundantly outweighed by the wit and zest of both writing and playing."
Awards and nominations
The Sherman Brothers were nominated for the following awards for The Slipper and the Rose:
- Academy Award – Best Music, Song "The Slipper and the Rose Waltz (He/She Danced With Me)"
- Academy Award (with Angela Morley) – Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score
- Golden Globe Award – Best Original Song Score, 1977
- BAFTA – Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music, 1977
Other nominations for the film included:
In popular culture
The 1984 musical adaptation by Philip Burley, with songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, has been mounted often by British community theatre groups, including in 2001 by the Bilston Operatic Company, Wolverhampton, in May 2008 at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, 2008 at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, in 2011 at the York Theatre Royal, and in 2013 by BOST Musicals at the Liverpool Empire Theatre.
It made its North American premiere in 2005 at the Hale Center Theatre in West Valley City, Utah. Other productions were staged in 2008 at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse in Tacoma, Washington, and in 2011 by Productions Coracole at the Beaubois Theatre in Montreal, Quebec.
MCA Discovision put out the film on Laserdisc in 1978. This release features monaural sound and a 1.33:1 pan and scanned transfer of the shorter US release with the songs "What Has Love Got to Do with Being Married" and "I Can't Forget the Melody" omitted. As it was never put out on VHS by MCA, the MCA Laserdisc was the only US video release of any kind prior to 2000, likely due to Universal's distribution rights lapsing and having reverted to production company Paradine.
In the UK and Australia, where it was more successful, it spanned several VHS releases by the likes Video Gems and CEL Home Video respectively. These releases feature the full length UK theatrical version with the songs cut from the US release intact.
In 2000, independent distributor Castle Hill (who had acquired US distribution rights in the mid 1990s) licensed the film to Image Entertainment for a US VHS and DVD release in its full length UK theatrical version. Extras on the DVD version include a video interview with the Sherman Brothers, an audio commentary by director Bryan Forbes, and a promotional featurette. This release is long out of print and was highly sought after prior to 2013.
On 19 November 2013, the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Inception Media Group, under licence from Castle Hill successor Westchester Films. This release utilizes a new 4K restoration of the UK theatrical version by Pinewood and a PCM 2.0 mix of the 4-Track Stereo, a 5.1 DTS Master Audio remix, and the isolated score in DTS-MA 5.1. In addition to porting over all the extras and the audio commentary from the Image Entertainment DVD, the only new supplement is the UK theatrical trailer mastered from a 35mm element. The film has also received overseas Blu-Ray releases from Second Sight in the UK and Orustak Pictures in Japan, both utilizing the Pinewood 4K restoration and most extras from the Inception release.
On 5 February 2019, Shout Factory (who had purchased Westchester Films in 2017 and reincorporated their titles under the Shout Factory branding) reissued the film on DVD and Blu-Ray. These releases are almost identical to the prior Inception Media Group release utilizing the same Pinewood restoration and supplements, only down to video encoding differences and the 2.0 stereo track being DTS Master Audio.
- Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond by Robert B. Sherman, Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pg. 190
- Canby, Vincent (5 November 1976). "Screen: Glass Slipper Into Sow's Ear". The New York Times. 53.
- "Film Reviews: The Slipper And The Rose". Variety. 14 April 1976. 27.
- Siskel, Gene (1 June 1977). "Musical 'Cinderella' worth seeing before it turns into a pumpkin". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 9.
- Champlin, Charles (25 March 1977). "Cinderella in Singing 'Slipper'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 16.
- Arnold, Gary (19 May 1977). "Slipper: Musical Cinderella". The Washington Post. C15.
- Davies, Brenda (May 1976). "The Slipper and the Rose". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 43 (508): 108.
- "Robert Sherman". 6 March 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- Morgan, Peter, Frost/Nixon. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 2006 p.41
- The Slipper and the Rose, The Guide to Musical Theatre. Retrieved 24 July 2019
- "Past Productions", BilstonOperaticCompany.org. Retrieved 25 July 2019
- "Past Productions", The Minack Theatre. Retrieved 25 July 2019
- " The Slipper and the Rose at Bilston Operatic Company" uktw.co.uk (archive #T01008953933), retrieved 25 July 2019
- "Past Shows, 2008" minack.com, retrieved 25 July 2019
- Wilkes, Jonathon. "Review: The Slipper And The Rose, York Musical Theatre Company, York Theatre Royal, until April 16", York Press, 14 April 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2019
- "The Slipper and the Rose York Musical Theatre Company, 2011", sardinesmagazine.co.uk. Retrieved 25 July 2019
- The Slipper and the Rose, BOST Musicals, Retrieved 25 July 2019
- "Slipper and Rose is enchanting", Deseret News, 17 February 2005
- "Mainstage Show History, 200802009", tmp.org. Retrieved 25 July 2019
- "The Slipper and the Rose Seattle", theatermania.com. Retrieved 25 July 2019
- "Family Musical Daisy and the Wonder Weeds Debuts at Productions Coracole Today", BroadwayWorld.com, 19 April 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2019