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GLASS SLIPPER, THE (director: Charles Walters; screenwriter: ballet librettos and lyrics by Helen Deutsch/Helen Deutsch; cinematographer: Arthur Earling; editor: Ferris Webster; music: Bronislau Kaper; cast: Leslie Caron (Cinderella), Michael Wilding (Prince Charles), Estelle Winwood (Mrs Torquina), Keenan Wynn (Kovin, Manservant), Elsa Lanchester (Widow Sonder), Amanda Blake (Birdina), Lisa Daniels (Seraphine), Barry Jones (Duke), Lurene Tuttle (Cousin Loulou), Liliane Montevecchi (Tehara); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edwin H. Knopf; MGM; 1955)
“Aside from being charming it never excites as much as it satisfies for being so competent and musically sound.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A retelling of the Cinderella fairy-tale.Star Leslie Caron makes good use of her talent as a dancer to excel in such numbers as the “Kitchen Ballet” and the “Tehara Ballet.”Director Charles Walters (“Don’t Go Near the Water”/”The Tender Trap”/”High Society”)keeps it humorless and seriously high-flown by bringing on modern psychological implications. Its most winsome virtue is that it’s all so pleasant. Other positives include the well-designed ballet numbers and rousing score byBronislau Kaper. Helen Deutsch wrote the screenplay, theballet librettos and the lyrics.

There’s an off-screen narration by Walter Pidgeon.

It’s set in a small European village, where the locals prepare a celebration to welcome home Prince Charles (Michael Wilding). He’s returning from years away at school. Helping in getting ready for the festivities is ugly duckling, elfinish, Ella (Leslie Caron), a scullery maid, who is mockingly called “Cinder-Ella” because of her dirty face and clothes. Ella runs away to the woods when her droll stepmother (Elsa Lanchester) and beautiful but cruel step-sisters, Birdena and Serafina (Amanda Blake & Lisa Daniels), refuse to let her attend the parade for Prince Charles.

The prince is walking in the woods and contemplating how he could escape his life of court duty, when he meets the outcast Ella. He tells her he’s the son of the palace cook, and immediately has a rapport with her and invites her to the ball. The eccentric Mrs Torquina (Estelle Winwood), the Fairy Godmother, lays a dress on Ella and shoes made of Venetian glass. With that rich attire, Ella looks gorgeous and makes a grand entrance to the ball. Ella learns the prince’s real identity, but at midnight has to leave the ball because Mrs Torquina’s magic will wear off. The next morning Ella awakens to find the prince standing over her and slipping on her foot the glass slipper she lost last night in her haste to flee by midnight. When Prince Charming sees it fits, they joyfully embrace and she’s set to become the new princess.

The tasteful lightweight production is graciously executed, but aside from being charming it never excites as much as it satisfies for being so competent and musically sound.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”