The Disney classic Cinderella gets a face-lift and shines as it prepares for its Blu-ray debut. We had a chance to attend a screening for the film on the big screen for one day only.
It goes without saying that Cinderella represents one of Disney's greatest achievements. For a film that debuted in 1950, its timelessness is both awe-inspiring and a reminder that great films can touch generations long after its animators completed the final cut. At the time, Cinderella represented a huge financial risk for Disney, who had not experienced a hit since Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Its success was far from guaranteed, but instant public affection generated a hit and an instant classic. Over the years, Disney has done its best to preserve the film by releasing it on VHS and DVD; but time is the enemy of every film produced prior to the digital revolution, and not even Cinderella's fairy god mother could keep the original print from breaking down. Thus it's all the more amazing to see it cleaned up and ready for the performance of its life as Disney re-premieres on both the big screen and on Blu-ray.
While there's no new footage here, families will thoroughly enjoy the adventures of Cinderella (vocied by Ilene Woods) and her animal friends as she struggles to escape the clutches of the vile Lady Tremaine (voiced by Eleanor Audley). There is absolutely no evidence of pops, dirt, or blurriness in the print, making it stand out as if it were a new release. The king's castle never looked so majestic, Cinderella's dress never more elegant, and characters like Jaq and Gus never more clear than this. It appears Disney used the mother of all master prints to bring Cinderella's story back to life. The result is nothing short of extraordinary - colors and ink lines are the first things you notice, with their detail as stunning in still frames as they during the many action sequences. And while the monaural sound track is nothing spectacular, it does seem vastly improved, which says a lot considering its initial limitations.
In every way, the restoration of Cinderella should stand as one of the best ever undertaken by Disney. I cannot wait for the Blu-ray release, as the scope of the studio's efforts will become more apparent as the lights fade and we once again dream that wish which has made Cinderella such an indelible classic. The film is rated G, and comes highly recommended.
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