Book vs Movie: Cinderella

“Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it’s Cinderelly….” It’s been a week and that song is still stuck in my head.

So, now comes part two of our Cinderella adventure. All week I’ve been wanting to watch the new Cinderella movie once more to be super accurate with my findings. But I’ve settled for memory and Wikipedia – and let’s be honest, Wikipedia never lies.

So let the duel begin!

I mentioned last time the difference between the original written version of Cinderella and the Disney version of Cinderella. In this one we’re discussing the combination of the original Cinderella AND the Disney version versus the live-action Disney Cinderella. So basically it’s really “Book and Movie vs Movie” – I’m sorry for totally stretching the lines of the whole book vs movie thing.

First, I’d like to mention that I actually really loved the new 2015 live-action version of Cinderella. I was worried when I heard they were making it because I had been getting more and more disenchanted with the original for many years, and heard this movie was pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of the original. However, I think this version was actually A LOT better than the original Disney version. Blasphemous, I know. But true.

Here’s my reasoning: this version, while still upholding the usual Disney Princess, classic (and literal) from rags to riches tale, gave the character so much more depth. They gave Cinderella her own mind, her own opinions, and still kept the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales edge!

The movie starts out with a young Cinderella (she goes by Ella) and her loving, devoted parents. Her mom sings her “Lavender’s Blue,” which is an old seventeenth century lullaby that I’d heard before but never knew the name until I looked it up on Wikipedia. It’s a rather beautiful song, and it fits the story very well. The song essentially is about two people who love each other and will be King and Queen one day. But not in the usual “DAMNIT, I WISH I WERE A KING!” sense. More in the, “I love you, and one day we’ll have the world together” sense. It’s very pretty.

“Lavender’s green, dilly, dilly, Lavender’s blue,

If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.

Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs play,

We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, out of harm’s way.

How sweet! But anyway, this song is engrained in Cinderella’s head forever, and she always sings it when she’s alone.

The mother gets sick and tells Ella to always be kind and be brave. This is something that’s mentioned in the original Grimm’s version as well, the mother tells Cinderella to be kind and to trust in God. In the movie, when the mother dies, father and daughter both go through a long period of time when they grieve for the mother. Eventually the father believes he has found a woman who will make him happy. Ella wants her father to be happy and gives him her blessing to marry this woman, and to take in her two daughters.

Much like the written version, the father goes on a trip and promises lavish gifts for the step-daughters, but Ella only wants whatever twig happens to hit his hat first. Once he goes away, the step mother begins to treat Ella poorly, giving her own daughters the best bedrooms in the house and moving Ella into the cold attic. Not long after, they get word that the father has died (unlike in the written story, which still bothers me). A while goes by, the step mother has designated Ella as their housekeeper and servant and begin calling her Cinderella due to the cinders on her face after sleeping near the fire to keep warm all night. Ella has no one to turn to, and believes that the mice that live in her attic understand her and help her. YES! The return of Jaq and Gus!!

This is where a lot of things change, because the movie ends up delving deeper into the prince’s side of the story with his father, whereas in every other version all we know is that the prince is having a ball and will choose a bride. In the movie they discuss the fact that princes have to marry princesses. The ball where he gets to choose a bride may seem as though he can choose any girl he pleases, but law dictates that the prince must marry someone of royalty, so royalty will attend the ball and he will choose from them.

The next part everyone knows: Cinderella wants to go to the ball, after getting dolled up and ready for the it, the step mother refuses to take her with them, and tears the dress she’s wearing to pieces. Completely devastated, Ella goes into the backyard and cries, when a fairy godmother shows up to lend her witchy hand. She gives Ella a beautiful gown, and turns the mice into horses, a pumpkin into a carriage, and a goose into the driver who says something along the lines of, “I’m a goose. I don’t think I can drive.”

She goes to the ball and the prince falls madly for her, but she has to leave by midnight, so she runs away from her love and loses her glass slipper on the steps. The prince demands that all the women in the area try on this slipper and if it fits their foot, she’s the one (still kind of backwards logic, but I’ll let it slide). The wicked step mother knows that Ella is the one he’s looking for when she finds the other glass slipper in the attic, and locks her away in there so no one will find her.

When the prince comes calling, the lady of the house has her two daughters try the shoe on, to no avail. The prince asks if there is anyone else in the house, but no one is found. Knowing that the prince is going to leave, the mice in the attic open up the window as Ella is singing “Lavender’s Blue” to herself.

The prince finds Ella, tries the shoe on her foot, and it fits! Hooray! The prince’s father has agreed to let them marry despite the fact that she is not royalty because he knows the prince loves her. Remembering the promise to her mother to be kind, Ella has forgiven her step-mother for all the cruelty throughout the years. The prince takes her away and they live happily ever after.

Honestly it’s pretty close to the first Disney movie, complete with mice. But there are some very interesting undertones that one wouldn’t assume are actually a part of the story unless you know the Grimm’s Fairy Tales version, such as the promise to her mother to be kind. That’s why I thought the movie was spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, I love the songs in the original, and I love the fact that it was a classic tale of rags-to-riches. But this version has more substance and it was researched properly.

That said, I have a bit of an issue with the book vs movie tally because while I like the original written story, the father was still alive! ARRRG! So for the first time ever I’m going to say:

The winner of the duel is: Cinderella – 2015 live-action film.

Book: 3 Movie: 3

Until next time!

If you have any fairy tales you want me to look over, or even just want to say hi, you can post a comment on here or send me an email at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. Also if you’re enjoying the blog you can now follow me via the “follow by e-mail” box on the right! Hope to hear from you soon!

Rachel

Advertisements

Fairy Tale Fail – Snow White

Hi everyone! Quick note before I begin: I’m still reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness but I have less than one hundred pages left! I’m sorry for the delay in the reviewing process. Nevertheless, here’s another Fairy Tale Fail!!

I don’t know about you guys but I’ve never been a huge fan of the much older Disney movies – not that I don’t like them, because I do. Disney movies are beyond magical! But movies like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are way too damsel-in-distress-like for me. They don’t really have anything that might make them unique or likable. Their stories are mostly about how a man saved them from near-death. I, personally, like my Disney Princesses to have charisma and charm – and their own opinions.

That said, I’ve done some more research and I’m kind of pissed at my findings. The Brother’s Grimm’s fairy tale Snow White was actually much darker than I thought it was originally (yes!), but still kinda weird. And I find Snow White to be even more of an idiot in the movie.

Much of the beginning of the story remains in both the Grimm’s version and the Disney version: a beautiful Queen is sewing one day and pricks her finger. Upon seeing the blood she wishes for a daughter who is as fair as snow, with lips red as blood, and hair black as night (ebony, in the Grimm’s version). When the Queen gets her wish, she names her daughter Snow White. But shortly after she dies of birthing complications. The King marries a new woman who happens to be a witch, both literally and metaphorically.

The Queen has a magic mirror that she talks to and asks “who is the fairest in the land?” with the answer always being “you are the fairest in the land!” But this time, the mirror tells her that she is not the fairest, that Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than she. The Queen gets pissed and sends a huntsmen to kill Snow White, rip out her heart, and bring it back as proof that she’s dead. The huntsmen doesn’t have the heart to do it (see what I did there? heh!) and tells Snow White to run as far away as she can.

This is when the similarities between the two nearly come to a halt. Because as far I know, little woodland creatures don’t usually take to one particular human, befriend that human, and lead that human to a safe-house. No, the Grimm’s version is much more realistic. So we’re gonna do a bit of a compare and contrast at this part because there are very slight but important details that I want to point out.

In the movie, she obviously is led to the dwarves house by friendly animals – isn’t that how everyone finds their home? Who uses Zillow? She then enters the house with a whole bunch of chairs and beds in it, and notices how messy it is. So she tidy’s up their home, and by the end of her cleaning she’s just pooped! Too exhausted to worry if maybe seven tiny, crazy axe-murderers live there, she plops down on three little beds and sleeps. When the dwarves come home from working in the mine, they’re taken aback, but then agree she can live there provided she clean the house, sew, knit, and cook (that last provision is also in the Grimm’s version).

Now the Grimm’s version. First, I’d just like to say that this particular story was published around 1812. This is a time when slavery still exists, when the age of consent for marriage is 10-13 years old, and when the freaken United States is only a 36 year old. THIRTY-SIX! And yet, in the Grimm’s version, Snow has more common sense and resolve than the much newer Disney version. When Snow White runs away from the huntsmen, she finds a tiny house far away from nothing and no one is home. Snow white is hungry, and tired, and sees an opportunity to steal their food, wine, and sleep in their beds before anyone comes home. A regular squatter. She completely messes up their entire home and everything is out of place. When the dwarves come back they’re pissed. But Snow White tells them all about the evil Queen and the huntsmen and they take pity on her, again as long as she can take care of the house (although, I get the feeling that in this version they’re also kind of just mad she messed up their house in the first place, and just want her to clean it up).

So here’s what I learned from that: the 1939 version (postbellum, the age of consent is 16 – as it is today, and the U.S. is 239 years old – women can vote, also) is more sexist than the original that is more than 200 years old! Snow White is the perfect woman in the 1939 version, walking in to a home and seeing a mess and thinking “by golly! I have to clean this up before anyone sees! I know I’m running for my life, but please, let me do the dishes first.” In Grimm’s version Snow is more about being unclean, a slob, and pretty much a hobo stealing their stuff. Not very ladylike, but I like it a damn sight more than the Disney version!

Anyway, the Queen learns she’s alive and in the movie she stops by as an old hag and has Snow White eat part of a poisoned apple that will put her to sleep unless “true love’s kiss” wakens her. The dwarves find out via woodland creatures that the Queen killed her and they chase after the Queen, trapping her, and she eventually falls to her death. The dwarves don’t want to bury her in the ground so instead they put her in a glass coffin above ground (because apparently they didn’t think about decomposition). After a while a prince shows up and falls in love with her, kisses her out of sadness that she’s dead, and she wakes and they live happily ever after.

In the story, it’s a bit different, though still weird that a prince loves a dead person he never met when she was alive, I’ll admit. When the Queen learns of Snow White whole still-alive-thing she comes by the dwarves house and first gives her a bodice that she laces up so tightly that Snow White can’t breathe and faints. The dwarves come home and find her just in time to unlace the bodice. The Queen then comes back with a brush, brushes Snow’s hair and Snow faints again, but the dwarves save the day (again). Lastly, the Queen shows up with a poisoned apple which Snow eats (stupid girl, you’d think she’d have learned her lesson) and chokes on a piece of apple. The Queen goes home and the mirror finally tells her she’s the fairest in the land.

The dwarves can’t figure out what happened to her, so they put her in a glass coffin. Again, after some time, a prince walks by and is enchanted by the dead girl. He convinces the dwarves to let him take the coffin and the girl with him. As his servants take the coffin, they trip over a branch and the apple is dislodged from her throat. The Prince proposes to her and she accepts.

They invite everyone to their wedding, including the Queen. The Queen wasn’t going to go until looking into her mirror, the voice back said that the new Princess is the fairest in the land. So the Queen goes to see this new woman, but Snow know’s it was the Queen all along and punishes her. She is forced to put on straight out of the fire hot iron shoes and dance in the burning shoes until she dies. The end.

So basically, what I’ve learned from all of this is that the men who wrote this back in 1812, were more in favor of women being actual humans with feelings better things to do than clean, than the men in 1939 who orchestrated the movie. I’ve also learned that I wouldn’t want to live in either time, because apparently they’re both filled with evil witches who want to rip peoples hearts out.

That’s all for now. If you want to say hi, or have a fairy tale you want me to talk about let me know in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. Until next time!

Rachel

Fairy Tale Fails – Beauty and the Beast

Well, well well… Looks who’s alive after the move! Me!! We’re loving our new place – but we don’t care for all the boxes we have to throw out. Still, I’m just so glad it’s out of the way and is one less thing to worry about. Now, on to books!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved fairy tales. I can recite every Disney Princess song forwards and backwards and in pig Latin. I love everything about the fantasy world, and ever since I got the Grimm’s Fairytales out of my grandparents bookshelf, I’ve been hooked for life.

But something happened when I read Grimm’s for the first time… I was horrified. The hard truth of the matter is that the fairy tales that have been recited to us thousands of times gloss over some of the most terrifying parts of the famous stories, and a lot of them are written by different authors! It’s like these authors just collectively said, “yeah, the 1700s are a really crappy time. Let’s just make everyone a jerk.”

I’ve always been one for Beauty and the Beast. As someone with brown hair, hazel eyes and a love of books, I’m pretty sure the story was written entirely for me. Sadly, that’s not the case, as it was published in 1756. In the original Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont version (I know, quite the name, right?!) Belle is actually the youngest of three sisters, the elder two are women who love jewels and material items, and who are really just nasty at heart. Their father was once a very wealthy merchant, but has lost all of his money so the four of them are forced to work on a small farm in France for a living.

The promise of wealth comes to him one day and he asks his daughters what they’d like as a present when he comes home. The two daughters ask for clothing and jewelry, while Belle only asks for a rose. The father leaves and gets no wealth or presents, but on his way home he gets lost in the woods and a creature that calls himself “Beast” invites him in to eat and spend the night.

In the morning, the father notices a rose garden and plucks a beautiful rose for Belle. The Beast notices his theft and tells him that he must die for stealing the rose (a little dramatic, Beast). The father comes up with a bargain – he can leave and give Belle the rose, as long as he promises to come back and he promises not to say a thing about the bargain to Belle. Belle, being awesome, gets the news out of her father when he returns home with the rose and decides to take his place instead, heading to the castle. This is really the only correlation between the two stories, and it’s really the best part. So much self-sacrifice! You go, Belle!

When Belle gets to the Beast’s castle he tells her that she is now the mistress of the castle and he is her servant. He begs her to marry him multiple times but she refuses every time. Every night that he proposes, though, she dreams of a really beautiful prince and believes that the Beast has this prince locked up somewhere in the castle, but never finds him. Eventually the Beast lets her leave to visit her family with the condition that she return in a week. She leaves with a ring and a mirror – the mirror allows her to see what is going on at the castle, and the ring allows her to return there instantly.

When she goes home she has every intention of leaving in a week, but her sisters are jealous of her lavish life at the castle and  put on a big show and make her believe that they really miss her and want her to stay – even rubbing onions in their eyes to make it look like they’re crying – while they really hope that the Beast will be angry and kill and eat her. Nice sisters! Belle decides to stay, but feels really guilty about leaving him so she looks in the mirror to see what he’s up to and sees that he’s dying from heartbreak in the rose garden. She uses the ring to go to him immediately and when she cries on him, telling him she loves him, her tears bring him back to life… as the prince in her dreams.

Now, in my opinion this is one of the most tame fairy tales. There’s no mutilation and not everyone dies. But, as this is the first of my new installment of Fairy Tale Fails, I wanted to start with the story that I feel bound to the most. Even without the magic rose, the kooky inventor father, and Gaston (noooo one fights like Gaston! Douses lights like Gaston! In a wrestling match no one bites like Gaston!) I still love this story. It has the same “magic” that Disney stories do and it even ended with a “happily ever after!” I really recommend reading this and seeing for yourself what a difference the two stories have. And can I just say, those sisters are complete assholes.

Until next time! If you have any fairy tales you want me to look up, read and compare to the family-friendly versions we all know, let me know in the comments or send me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Rachel