20 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s ‘Cinderella’

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This year, Disney’s Cinderella turns 65. The Mouse House will celebrate her birthday with an adaptation of the 1950 film, starring Lily James (Downton Abbey) in the role of the princess. But nothing beats the magic of Disney’s original film and its enchanting animation. To mark this momentous occasion, here are 20 things you might not know about the classic movie about a beautiful young woman, her wicked stepfamily, and the prince who falls in love with her.

Walt Disney made a 1920s-set version of Cinderella at his Laugh-O-Gram studio 30 years before the release of the 1950 movie. Watch it, above.

Cinderella is based on Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale, “Cendrillon.” He made the story popular by elaborating on the original European folk tale, adding the pumpkin coach, fairy godmother, and glass slippers.

Lady Tremaine’s wicked cat Lucifer was based on animator Ward Kimball’s calico cat.

Cinderella’s ball gown is white in the film, but the promotional material depicts it as blue.

Most of Cinderella’s animation was created via live-action models. Helene Stanley performed the part of the princess (she later posed as Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty), while Jeffrey Stone was the model for Prince Charming. This method helped to keep animation costs manageable.

The song “Dancing on a Cloud” was cut from the film. Listen to it, above.

Cinderella is voiced by singer and actress Ilene Woods. She was chosen after more than 300 singers had auditioned for the part.

The Prince’s name is never revealed in the movie, nor is he called “Prince Charming.”

Wicked Stepmother Lady Tremaine was voiced by Eleanor Audley, who also provided the voice for the villainous Maleficent.

Cinderella is supposed to be 19 years old.

A dream sequence was cut from the movie, in which multiple Cinderellas race to finish their chores. The above video features shots of the scene’s storyboards.

The scene where Cinderella’s dress transforms from an old, worn rag to her iconic ball gown was Walt Disney’s favorite work of animation.

Gus the mouse’s full name is Octavius.

Most representations of Cinderella depict the princess as a blonde, but she was in fact a strawberry blonde.

Cinderella III reveals that the princess wears a petite size 4 shoe.

The song “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” became a popular hit, most famously by Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters. Listen to it, above.

Cinderella was released before the days of popular movie music soundtracks. The film was the first Disney movie to release songs under the newly created Walt Disney Music Company.

Early drafts of Cinderella gave the Prince a larger role. Cut scenes included the royal playing games with a deer (you know, to show his sensitive side). And an alternate ending depicted the Grand Duke dragging Cinderella back to the ball to reveal her true identity to the Prince (who didn’t care and kissed her anyway).

There was a lot of pressure on Walt Disney to make Cinderella a success. He hadn’t had a huge hit since 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The gossip surrounding Cinderella was that if it failed big at the box office, the company would fold.

The 1950 New York Times review of Cinderella said:

For Mr. Disney and his craftsmen have brilliantly splashed upon the screen a full-blown and flowery animation of the perennially popular fairy tale. They have told the familiar fable of the beautiful scullery maid who becomes the adored of Prince Charming in extravagant story-book terms, matching the romance of the fable with lushly romantic images. And particularly they have invented a whole set of minor characters to supplement the story and give the film its most notable charm. . . . But the whole retinue of little characters that he and his boys have contrived to run in and out of the story are in his most whimsical style, and it is from them and their eccentricities that the wit of the picture derives.