Saturday, October 08, 2011

Cinderella (Disney Laugh-O-gram 1922)

(Laugh-O-gram, US 1922) Reissue: The Slipper-y Kid (1929) D: Walt Disney; anim: Walt Disney, Ubbe Iwerks, Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, Carman “Max” Maxwell, Lorey Tague, Otto Walliman; DP: Red Lyon; filmed: ca. 11-12.1922, Laugh-O-gram studio, 1127 E. 31st St., Kansas City; dist: Pictorial Clubs Inca. of New York (non-theatrical, regional circuit); 35 mm, 685 ft, 8' (22 fps); from: John E. Allen Collection, Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, Culpeper, VA. English intertitles. Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone, with e-subtitles in Italian, grand piano: Donald Sosin, 8 Oct 2011.

Russell Merritt & J.B. Kaufman (GCM Catalogue): "Tentatively unearthed for the 1992 Giornate in the form of an abridged 16 mm print, now represented by a complete version in 35 mm from the John E. Allen Collection at the Library of Congress, Cinderella takes its place as one of the most enjoyable Laugh-O-grams. Its setting seems to be the same “Kingville” (a cross between a fairy-tale kingdom and small-town U.S.A.) that we’ve just seen in Puss in Boots; and the four stock characters are back again, as is the King. Cinderella is one of the Laugh-O-grams that tells its traditional story more or less straight – that is, allowing for such minor variations as Cinderella’s arrival at the ball in a chauffeured limousine, and a dance party for a gang of bears, interrupted by a bear-hunting Prince on horseback!"

"Here again Walt and his co-workers indulge in an appealing pictorial effect – far more pronounced than the earlier sunrise scene in Goldie Locks – for Cinderella and the Prince’s silhouetted romantic interlude on the balcony. (Something about the romantic aspect of Cinderella’s story seems to have softened the hearts of the most satiric cartoon makers, even that of so ruthless a prankster as Tex Avery.) On a technical level we may also note the several long pan shots. Perhaps most remarkable is the lengthy bi-level pan just after Cinderella’s escape from the ball: as she runs through the streets, the buildings and the starry sky seeming to move in perspective behind her. Even working with a bare minimum of resources, the Laugh-O-gram crew achieve a striking pictorial effect in this scene."

"Of course this Cinderella is still built for laughs, and there are still plenty of gags, ranging from droll whimsy (the shimmying bears at the dance party) to outright slapstick (the “slipper,” discarded by Cinderella, that brains the Prince and knocks him out cold). Continuing the trend started in Puss in Boots, this film combines its sight gags with a complement of verbal humor: the stepsister’s self-help manual, “Eat and Grow Thin”; the non-sequitur invitation to the Prince’s ball; the inane question to an obviously injured character who has just fallen down a steep hill. And one of the benefits of this restored complete version is a wrap-up gag missing from the earlier print – revealing that, in this edition of Cinderella, Walt and company ultimately turned the romantic story on its head after all!" – Russell Merritt & J.B. Kaufman

AA: A funny modernization of the story. The "happily ever after" is followed by a big question mark and a final scene where rolling-pins fly.

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