There have be many iterations of the Cinderella story told throughout the ages, some even going as far back as 7 BCE, recounting the tale of a woman marrying an Egyptian king. Of course, the most well-known “original” telling of Cinderella goes to the Brothers Grimm in 1812, who take the tale of romance and pair it with gruesome violence that’s more warning than romantic fairytale. The person most responsible for tying the magic and wonder of Cinderella to modern day fairytales is Walt Disney, thanks to his 1950 animated feature. Though it’s been released for home entertainment many times since the birth of home video, June 18th marks the inclusion of Cinderella in Walt Disney Studios’s Signature Collection series. First hitting digital services before a June 25th physical release, the Cinderella: Signature Collection edition is the premiere release, offering a gathering of old and new bonus features to delight Disney fans of all ages.
No matter how you feel about Cinderella as a story, locked in with more rigid gender stereotypes and social mores, there’s no denying its continued influence on global culture. Who among us hasn’t wished for someone to help us change our destiny? Who among us hasn’t longed for a glimpse at the magic held in our hearts? Who among us hasn’t desired to see our imagination made real? For all its wonder, Cinderella is a story of a positive-minded young girl making the best of a terrible situation as she’s reduced to servitude while her stepsisters and stepmother receive all the benefits of Cinderella’s work and birthright. After a visit from her fairy godmother, Cinderella’s given the opportunity to attend a ball wherein Prince Charming will select a wife and he picks her. There’s certainly some romance here, even if classically so, as Cinderella is saved from her menial existence and is lifted up to the life of privilege for which she was originally intended.
Included within the Signature Collection edition are bonus features from previous editions, marked under “Classic Bonus,” which offer extensive behind the scenes looks at various aspects of the seminal work. There’s a delightful short film – The Magic of the Glass Slipper – which shows Christian Louboutin attempting to make a pair of shoes in 2012 in honor of the film’s anniversary. The short utilizes animation playfully as Christian, almost a real-life Geppeto, struggles to find inspiration for a new pair of glass slippers. Despite being an absolute advertisement for Louboutin shoes, the inherent sweetness is undeniable. For audiences interested in learning about Walt Disney’s original aspirations for Cinderella, look to the featurette The Cinderella That Almost Was. Here, the audience is guided through the history of Disney’s idea, beginning with his original 1922 concept as a Laugh-o-Gram picture. Through interviews, archived storyboards, and other materials, Almost Was is a fascinating look at the evolution of character, animation, and narrative design from 1922 until the final 1950 release. The most heart-warming of the old features is The Real Fairy Godmother, which explores the life and influence of Mary Alice O’Connor (the woman whose likeness and personality served as the model for Cinderella’s fairy godmother) as one of the greatest benefactors in the Burbank, California, community. These are just a few of the previously released bonus features included on the Signature Collection edition.
Of everything included on the Cinderella: Signature Collection edition, there are only two new features. The first is Try This Trivia On For Size, featuring Disney Channel stars Ruth Righi and Ava Kolker. Older audiences likely won’t recognize the Sydney to the Max actors, but all ages will enjoy the silly banter between the two, as well as some of the fun film trivia they share. For example, can you name how many times Cinderella loses her shoe in the film? How about which foot it is? Do you know where the hidden Mickeys appear? These are questions for the more hardcore Cinderella fans, but it’s still an amusing featurette for general audiences, too. The second feature is where the Signature Collection series really shows its value with In Walt’s Words: The Envisioning of “Cinderella.” Unlike the other bonuses which are supplemental to the cinematic experience, In Walt’s Words plays overtop the entire film. Through official transcripts and interviews, along with storyboards and productions animatics, the audience is given an entirely new way to view Cinderella as details and tidbits of the creative process take center stage while the film plays. Though there is an option to view the film in both it’s original theatrical or “DisneyView” presentation, Cinderella fans looking for a new adventure will want to zero in on In Walt’s Words. It truly makes the film an entirely fresh experience.
Though the film is loaded with bonus features, previous owners will need to weigh the few new additions against what they already have. Until they find new material to add, the Cinderella: Signature Collection edition truly feels like a final version, which makes this a must-grab for those who have not yet upgraded their DVD or who don’t yet own the classic Disney film. Also, be advised that the bonus features are only included on the Blu-ray and digital editions, so DVD owners will be required to upgrade to get access to any of the Signature Collection content. Additionally, be forewarned of a strange design flaw in navigation that makes jumping from the traditional theatrical version to one of the other bonus film versions impossible without starting a separate bonus feature first. It’s a strange bit of design work that’s bound to frustrate. Otherwise, as far as transfers go, the Cinderella: Signature Collection is a lovely presentation of a nearly 70-year-old film which is bound to dazzle fans old, young, and young at heart.
Blu-ray and Digital Bonus Features:
New Bonus Materiel
- Try This Trivia on for Size –Join Ruth Righi and Ava Kolker from Disney Channel’s Sydney to the Max and put your knowledge of Cinderella to the test.
- In Walt’s Words: Enhanced Edition – Watch the movie and gain some insight into its production with storyboards, archival photos, sketches and transcripts.
Classic Bonus Material
- Diane Disney Miller “Cinderella” Film Intro- In this introduction to the animated classic, Diane Disney Miller describes how Cinderella helped launch a studio renaissance.
- The Real Fairy Godmother – Learn about the real-life inspiration for the Fairy Godmother: Mary Alice O’Connor, wife of Disney layout artist Ken O’Connor.
- Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fairyland – Discover how Imagineers created a Fantasyland at Walt Disney World featuring each of the Disney Princesses.
- The Magic of the Glass Slipper- World-famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin creates a very exclusive “Glass Slipper” in honor of a beloved Disney classic.
The Art of Cinderella
- Concept Art- View a gallery of concept art from the feature’s production.
- Character Model Sheets- View a gallery of character model sheets from the feature’s production.
- Story Sketches- View a gallery of story sketches from the feature’s production.
- Live-Action Reference-View a gallery of photos taken from live-action footage shot as a reference for the animated feature.
- Pencil Animation-View a gallery of pencil animation from the feature’s production.
- Behind-the-Scenes Stills-View a gallery of behind-the-scenes stills from the feature’s production.
- Feature Stills-View a gallery of stills from the feature.
Music and More
- “Cinderella” Title Song
- “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes”
- “Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale”
- “The Work Song”
- “So This Is Love”
For those interested in alternate additions, Target will offer an exclusive edition which will include a Filmaker Gallery and Storybook with their Multi-Screen Edition and Best Buy will offer an exclusive collectible steelbook Multi-Screen Edition.
Available on Digital HD June 18th, 2019.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD June 25th, 2019.