Disney’s “Cinderella” Exhibit Celebrates an All-New Live Action Film

Monsters & Critics, 27 November 2014
By Anne Brodie

It’s hard to describe the thrill of being in Cinderella’s world as a young girl. The imagery of Disney’s classic 1950 animated romance fairy tale is deeply imprinted on many minds, via the film, comic books and the dinner hour Disney TV series every Sunday night.

These memories not easily forgotten in adulthood, of female empowerment, beautiful clothes, a Fairy Godmother and a Handsome Prince. All grown up now, I was fortunate enough to tour Disney’s magnificent Cinderella exhibit in the flesh recently, and it was sheer magic.

Stepping inside the realm of that fairy tale kingdom, as imagined by Walt Disney and his amazing animators, nearly brought me to tears, tinged with memory and yearning for the princess experience.

The exhibit features never-before-seen artwork from the Disney Archive including seven images by famous colour stylist Mary Blair and spans fifty years, from original Disney storyboards, and early Cinderella merchandise, comic books, colouring books, little purses, and other intensely nostalgic ephemera.

Cinderella’s massive golden pumpkin carriage, the sad gloomy cellar where Cinderella swept, mopped while her fancy sisters and step-mother went out on the town, the garden where her fairy Godmother appears, the palace and the breathtaking ball room took my breath away. And that Glass Slipper!

Why all the excitement? Are you seated? Disney releases an all-new live action feature in March, 2015, 65 years after the original. Kenneth Branagh directs an all new script with Lily James as Cinderella, Helena Bonham Carter her Fairy Godmother, and Richard Madden as her love struck Prince.

The cruel stepmother and sisters are played by Cate Blanchett, Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera. Also appearing in key roles are Hayley Atwell, Stellan Skarsgård, Derek Jacobi and Ben Chaplin.

It is the first time Disney has produced living, breathing people in the ages old classic fairy-tale in feature form. For every little girl who dreamed of the scullery maid who became a princess, it will cast a special magical glow. For some it will be deliciously nostalgic, for others, something new and beautiful to savour.

Here are some astonishing facts about the film’s art design:

  • All the props and costumes in the Disney Cinderella Exhibit were drawn from the Disney Archives or handmade at Pinewood Studios in England where the film was shot
  • Cinderella’s ball gown is adorned with butterflies, 10,000 Swarovski crystals, and 3 miles of fabric in 24 layers
  • Fairy Godmother’s costume carries 10,000 crystals and was illuminated with lights for filming
  • Cinderella’s Swarovski crystal slipper was made especially for the film
  • A group of international Princesses from Spain, India, China, Japan and Africa at the ball to meet the Prince wore their beautiful national costumes, designed by three-time Academy Award winner Sandy Powell
  • Annie Leibovitz took the shot of Lily James as Cinderella fleeing the Ball

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