The National Film Registry selects 25 films that are recommended for preservation each year because they are historically, culturally or aesthetically significant. Disney’s Cinderella is one of this year’s films to be added to the prestigious list. All inducted films can be found on the Library of Congress website.
Cinderella is certainly not the first of the Disney animated films to make the list. It joins the ranks of Steamboat Willie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Fantasia, just to name a few.
Disney decided to make Cinderella in 1948 and, wasting no time, completed it only two years later. The Studio had been riding on the coat tails of Snow White’s success since its release in 1937, and it desperately sought out another success story to stay afloat. At the end of World War II, Disney was $4 million in debt. Needless to say, Cinderella was a gamble.
To our delight, and Walt’s, the gamble paid off. In addition to the film itself, we are left with some fun trivia, including the following:
- Mack David and Jerry Livingston, the songwriters for the film, asked actress Ilene Woods for a favor: to record a demo of, “Sing Sweet Nightingale,” “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” and “So This is Love.” They presented the demo to Walt, who, after hearing her voice, knew she was a perfect fit. Ms. Woods snagged the infamous role without really knowing she was auditioning!
- Jaq, Gus and Bruno were all voiced by actor Jimmy MacDonald. Mr. MacDonald’s impressive credentials also include Mickey Mouse, Goofy and the Dormouse from Alice in Wonderland.
- To cut costs, the entire film was shot in live action before animators began drawing. Actress Helene Stanley, who was also used as a reference for Anita in 101 Dalmatians and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, served as the live-action reference for Cinderella.
- The film was nominated for three Academy Awards.
- At around 19 or 20 years old, Cinderella is considered to be the oldest of all the Disney princesses.
Also of interest was Walt’s goal of featuring a scene where a princess and a prince dance among the clouds. The scene was briefly outlined for Snow White, but it was later cut as not being the right fit for the film. For Cinderella, a song called “Dancing on a Cloud,” performed by Cinderella herself, Ilene Woods, was also recorded. You can listen to it here! Though, as we know, the song and the scene ended up on Cinderella’s cutting room floor. The majestic image of a princess and a prince dancing among the clouds did, however, make it to the final scene of Sleeping Beauty which was released in 1959.
Glass slippers. National Film Registry. “Why, it’s like a dream. A wonderful dream come true.”
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Long live, Cinderelly.