The Glass Slipper
Nov 1, 2017 | by Jessika Loucks
Will the shoe fit?
Prince Charming, balls, shoes made of glass and a beautiful castle. These are all the picturesque things we imagine when we think of the story of Cinderella. With a beautiful score written by Bronislau Kaper, Leslie Caron as the lead, and Michael Wilding as her handsome prince, The Glass Slipper was set up for success.
Michael Wilding was cast as Prince Charles solely due to his marriage with Elizabeth Taylor and the publicity that surrounded them. Wilding had absolutely no prior dance training, but surprisingly holds his own in the shadow of Caron, who steals the show many times with her beautiful fluidity and gracefulness.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the role of Ella, but this spunky character was originally intended for Moira Shearer the lead in the film The Red Shoes.Caron, who had just had a big hit with the film Lili, and was well known from her role in An American in Paris, was decided to be the better choice!
“Cinderella… Cin-der-el-la. Such a beautiful word, I like it very much.” –Mrs. Toquet
The film starts with a whimsical painting of a castle, followed by a beautiful romantic score. The narration of this movie begins, and we are immediately introduced to the townspeople along with Ella (Leslie Caron) and Ella’s family. Right away you can see that Ella is not liked by the townspeople and is ridiculed for her looks and bad behavior. Ella, who is a maid in her home (rather than considered a family member), is a spirited girl who holds on to the dream that one day she will live in the palace.
After an argument with her step mother, the widow Sonder (Elsa Lanchester) and her step sisters Birdina (Amanda Blake) and Serafina (Lisa Daniels), Ella runs to her refuge – a glen in the woods with a beautiful pond. While she is relaxing, she meets a nice elderly woman by the name of Mrs. Toquet (Estelle Winwood), the hilarious woman who is kind but is also known to steal. Ella is a little leery about her, but after they start talking they instantly click and the two have a wonderful time.
The next day, while Ella is waiting for Mrs. Toquet, she happens upon two men who are laying in the grass by the pond. The men are startled but pleasant, the younger man who is really Prince Charles (Michael Wilding), tells Ella that he is the son of the cook who works in the palace. Ella is drawn to Charles as he is drawn to her. The two become fast friends, with Charles inviting her to the ball being thrown at the palace in honor of Prince Charles. Ella wants to go, but doesn’t know how to dance or have anything to wear, so she tells Charles thank you but that she will keep the invitation to admire.
We are then whisked away to Ella’s home where her family is getting ready for the ball and she, of course, is forced to help them prepare for the big event. After everyone leaves, Ella prepares for a small snack and the door is blown open with Mrs. Toquet standing there. She takes Ella outside to show her a dress that she has borrowed for Ella to wear to the ball. Ella gets ready and, while she is in the carriage getting ready to be on her way, Mrs. Toquet tells Ella that she must be back before midnight, so the coachman can pick up his other people from the ball with none to be the wiser.
The ballroom scene is truly spectacular, Ella is the belle of the ball with all the men waiting to dance with her, but all Ella wants to do is get to the kitchen to find her friend. Through stunning dance numbers and beautiful scenes, we are taken through twists and turns.
Will Prince Charles tell Ella who he really is? Will Ella’s dream of her living in the palace come true? And, as in every Cinderella story, will the shoe fit?
“Oh, we don’t precisely know Paris, but we’re very devoted to it, aren’t we, Cousin Loulou? It’s so French!”-Birdena
Let me start off by saying that there are so many positives about this film. The musical score is by far one of the most beautiful scores I have heard – Bronislau Kaper most definitely knew what he was doing!
The acting is also done well, with so many great personalities it’s hard to pick a favorite. The humor is great – with many fantastic one-liners and the romance is to die for.
One last note to add – if you are a fan of ballet, this is a film you will not want to miss as the choreography is beautifully directed and danced. I would go as far to say this is my favorite of Leslie Caron’s films.
“She’s frightened sad and hurt. afraid to hope, expecting ridicule. A tender heart half afraid to love.”-Prince Charles
I can honestly say there is not much to mention, negatively speaking. There is a lot of dancing and dialogue, so younger children might get bored at times, but the colorful scenes and music help to move things along nicely.
“One day I’m going to live in the palace”-Ella
With The Glass Slipper doing so poorly at the box office, one must wonder – is it worth my time? In my humble opinion, yes! The music, acting and dancing are beautifully done and worth the watch! If you love the story of Cinderella, you are sure to be delighted and enjoy this old classic come to life with a new twist.