AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Director: Wilfred Jackson (Dir)
Release Date:   4 Mar 1950
Premiere Information:   Boston opening: 15 Feb 1950; New York and Chicago openings: 22 Feb 1950
Duration (in mins):   74-75
Duration (in feet):   6,672
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Ilene Woods (Voice of Cinderella)  
    Helene Stanley (Model for Cinderella and Anastasia)  
    Eleanor Audley (Voice of Lady Tremaine)  
    Luis Van Rooten (Voices of the King and the Grand Duke)  
    Verna Felton (Voice of Fairy Godmother)  
    Don Barclay    
    Claire DuBrey (Model for Fairy Godmother)  
    Rhoda Williams (Voice of Drizella Tremaine)  
    James Macdonald (Voices of Jaq, Gus-Gus and Bruno)  
    Betty Lou Gerson (Narrator )  
    Lucille Bliss (Voice of Anastasia Tremaine)  
    William Phipps (Speaking voice of Prince Charming)  
    Mike Douglas (Singing voice of Prince Charming)  

Summary: In a mythical kingdom, Lord Tremaine remarries so that his beloved young daughter Cinderella can have a mother. Tremaine's new wife is a seemingly kind widow with two daughters, Anastasia and Drizella, but after his death, Lady Tremaine's true, greedy nature emerges. Banishing Cinderella to the attic and forcing her to become their servant, Lady Tremaine squanders the family fortune on Anastasia and Drizella. Growing up to be a lovely young woman, Cinderella patiently bears the cruelties of her family while continuing to believe in her dreams and comforting herself with the friendship of her dog Bruno, horse Major and the chateau's mice and birds. One morning, mouse Jaq informs Cinderella that a new mouse has been caught in a trap, and after rescuing the chubby newcomer, Cinderella names him Octavius, or Gus for short. Cinderella then begins her chores while Gus, who calls himself Gus-Gus, listens to Jaq's warnings about Lady Tremaine's evil cat Lucifer. Meanwhile, at the palace, the King is infuriated that his son, Prince Charming, has not yet married. Longing for grandchildren, the King orders the Grand Duke to arrange a ball to celebrate the return of Prince Charming, who is arriving that day after an extended absence. The King hopes that the prince will find a bride if all the maidens in the kingdom are present, and so the Grand Duke begins the preparations. Cinderella is thrilled when an invitation arrives at the chateau, but, knowing that her stepdaughter will outshine Anastasia and Drizella, Lady Tremaine cannily promises that she can attend only if she finishes her work and finds something suitable to wear. Cinderella begins re-fashioning a gown that belonged to her mother, but is interrupted by her stepsisters' excessive demands. Determined to help their friend, the mice and birds labor on the dress, while Jaq and Gus-Gus retrieve a sash and string of beads discarded by Anastasia and Drizella. Lady Tremaine and her daughters keep Cinderella so busy that she cannot work on her dress, and when the coach arrives to take them to the ball, she stoically tells them that she will not be attending. When she retreats to her attic, however, Cinderella is astonished to see that the old dress is ready. Cinderella changes and joins her family as they are leaving, but the jealous Drizella and Anastasia recognize their beads and sash and tear Cinderella's gown to shreds. After the women leave, the broken-hearted Cinderella cries in the garden, but her tears are quieted by the arrival of her Fairy Godmother. Telling the unhappy girl that she is going to the ball, the fairy uses her wand and the magic phrase "bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" to transform a pumpkin into a glorious coach. The mice are then transformed into horses, and Major and Bruno become the coachman and footman. The Fairy Godmother then transforms Cinderella's rags into an exquisite gown, complete with glass slippers. The fairy instructs Cinderella to leave the ball before midnight, at which time the spell will be broken. At the castle, meanwhile, the King watches in frustration as a bored Prince Charming greets his guests, including Drizella and Anastasia. The prince's attention is captured by Cinderella, however, and the King arranges for the couple to be alone. Prince Charming and Cinderella fall in love as they waltz, although they do not know each other's names. Just as the prince is about to kiss his new love, the clock begins to strike twelve and Cinderella flees. Prince Charming and the Grand Duke chase her as she races away but succeed only in finding one of her glass slippers, which fell off during her flight down the grand staircase. Cinderella is in rags again when the final chime is heard, but still has one glass slipper as a souvenir of her magical evening. The next morning, Cinderella overhears Lady Tremaine inform her daughters that no one knows the identity of the girl loved by the prince, and that the King has ordered him to marry whomever the slipper fits. Realizing her sweetheart's identity, and that he is searching for her, Cinderella goes to get her shoe. Seeing the dreamy look on Cinderella's face, Lady Tremaine deduces that she is the mystery woman and locks her in the attic. Just then, the Grand Duke arrives and offers the slipper to Drizella and Anastasia. While the two big-footed women attempt to don the dainty shoe, Jaq and Gus-Gus steal the key to Cinderella's door from Lady Tremaine's pocket. After dragging the heavy key up the stairs to the attic, Jaq and Gus-Gus succeed in freeing their friend despite interference from Lucifer. Before Cinderella can try on the slipper, however, the vindictive Lady Tremaine trips the lackey carrying the slipper and it shatters. The Grand Duke is devastated until Cinderella happily shows him the slipper's mate and dons it. Soon after, Cinderella and the prince are married. 

Production Company: Walt Disney Productions  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Wilfred Jackson (Dir)
  Hamilton Luske (Dir)
  Clyde Geronimi (Dir)
  Mike Holoboff (Asst dir)
  Larry Lansburgh (Asst dir)
  Ted Sebern (Asst dir)
Producer: Walt Disney (Pres)
  Ben Sharpsteen (Prod supv)
Writer: William Peed (Story)
  Erdman Penner (Story)
  Ted Sears (Story)
  Winston Hibler (Story)
  Homer Brightman (Story)
  Harry Reeves (Story)
  Kenneth Anderson (Story)
  Joe Rinaldi (Story)
Film Editor: Donald Halliday (Film ed)
Music: Al Teeter (Mus ed)
  Oliver Wallace (Mus dir)
  Paul Smith (Mus dir)
  Joseph Dubin (Orch)
Sound: C. O. Slyfield (Sd dir)
  Harold J. Steck (Sd rec)
  Robert O. Cook (Sd rec)
Special Effects: Ub Iwerks (Spec processes)
Production Misc: Eloise Tobelmann (Secy)
  Ruth Wright (Secy)
  Marie Dasnoit (Secy)
Animation: Mac Stewart (Layout)
  A. Kendall O'Connor (Layout)
  Tom Codrick (Layout)
  Hugh Hennesy (Layout)
  Lance Nolley (Layout)
  Charles Philippi (Layout)
  Don Griffith (Layout)
  Thor Putnam (Layout)
  Mary Blair (Col and styling)
  John Hench (Col and styling)
  Claude Coats (Col and styling)
  Don Da Gradi (Col and styling)
  Brice Mack (Backgrounds)
  Art Riley (Backgrounds)
  Ralph Hulett (Backgrounds)
  Ray Huffine (Backgrounds)
  Dick Anthony (Backgrounds)
  Merle Cox (Backgrounds)
  Thelma Witmer (Backgrounds)
  Eric Larson (Dir anim)
  Ward Kimball (Dir anim)
  Milt Kahl (Dir anim)
  Ollie Johnston (Dir anim)
  Frank Thomas (Dir anim)
  Marc Davis (Dir anim)
  John Lounsbery (Dir anim)
  Les Clark (Dir anim)
  Wolfgang Reitherman (Dir anim)
  Norm Ferguson (Dir anim)
  Don Lusk (Character anim)
  Phil Duncan (Character anim)
  Hugh Fraser (Character anim)
  Hal King (Character anim)
  Fred Moore (Character anim)
  Harvey Toombs (Character anim)
  Judge Whitaker (Character anim)
  Cliff Nordberg (Character anim)
  Marvin Woodward (Character anim)
  Hal Ambro (Character anim)
  George Nicholas (Character anim)
  Ken O'Brien (Character anim)
  George Rowley (Eff anim)
  Josh Meador (Eff anim)
  Jack Boyd (Eff anim)
  John McManus (Anim)
  Dan MacManus (Anim)
  Edwin Aardal (Anim)
  Blaine Gibson (Anim)
  Jerry Hathcock (Anim)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Cinderella," "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes," "Oh Sing, Sweet Nightingale," "The Work Song," "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" and "So This Is Love," music and lyrics by Mack David, Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman.
Composer: Mack David
  Al Hoffman
  Jerry Livingston
Source Text: Based on the fairy tale "Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre" by Charles Perrault in Histoires et contes du temps passé, avec moralities (Paris, 1697).
Authors: Charles Perrault

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Walt Disney Productions 4/11/1949 dd/mm/yyyy LP2819

PCA NO: 14083
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: RCA Sound System

Genre: Children's works
Sub-Genre: Animation
Subjects (Major): Mice
Subjects (Minor): Attics
  Balls (Parties)
  Fathers and sons
  Mythical lands

Note: Information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that producer Walt Disney had registered the title Cinderella with the MPPA by 1930, and a modern "making of" documentary about the film, which accompanied its 1995 video release, notes that Disney, who had previously made a 1922 silent short of the story, intended to produce a Silly Symphony based on the fairy tale. The PCA file also contains a letter revealing that the organization had granted a tentative certificate number to the studio for a feature-length Cinderella cartoon in Mar 1940, and that the studio had to request a more current number when the picture was finished in 1949. According to a Dec 1945 HR news item, Sergei Prokofiev's symphonic ballet of Cinderella had been submitted to Disney for consideration by agent Lou Levy. In Feb 1947, Disney notified Monogram producers the King Brothers that his version of the story had been "in work" for seven years, and that they should "take proper heed" in proceeding with their announced version of the fairy tale, which they were developing from an idea suggested to them by Leo McCarey. Ultimately, Monogram's planned film of Cinderella was not produced.
       Although an earlier HR news item had announced that Ilene Woods was recording the voice of "Cinderella," a Mar 1948 HR news item stated that singer Jeannie McKeon had been "signed to be the voice" of the character. McKeon did not contribute to the completed picture, however. According to a 24 Dec 1962 Newsweek article, 392 actresses were "turned down" before Woods was selected for the role.
       As noted by contemporary sources, Helene Stanley was the live model used by the artists drawing "Cinderella." She acted out many of the sequences for the animators, who studied her movements and translated them into drawings. According to the studio's video documentary, recording of the characters' voices and songs was completed by the time Stanley and others had acted out the complete story, which was the first time that the studio had filmed an entire story in live action before animating it. The live-action film and photostat frame blowups, with layout designs drawn directly onto them, were then used as guides for the animators responsible for the human figures. Stanley also acted as the model for "Anastasia," according to a Jul 1950 Chicago Herald American article, while the modern documentary notes that Rhoda Williams was the model for "Drizella" and Eleanor Audley provided the live-action guide for "Lady Tremaine." An Oct 1949 NYN item reported that one of gangster Mickey Cohen's bodyguards provided the model for "Prince Charming." Modern sources credit the following actors with supplying character voices: June Foray ( Lucifer ); and Helen Seibert, Lucille Williams, June Sullivan and Clint McCauley ( Mice ). Cinderella marked the first motion picture work of singer Mike Douglas, who later became a popular television talk show host.
       In late Aug 1949, HR stated that Disney had his production staff "on a six-day night-and-day schedule rushing" the film toward completion for "the holiday trade." By late Sep 1949, HR noted that background work on the picture had been completed, and that the producer had "laid off forty animation workers who had been brought in to augment the regular crew." According to pressbooks for the picture's re-releases, approximately a million drawings were made during its production.
       According to a program contained in the Walt Disney Archives, the film received its "world preview" on 13 Feb 1950 during The Cinderella Ball (at which Woods was "Queen"). The ball was held to raise money for The New York Heart Association. The Disney organization experienced some conflict with RKO, its distributor, in Chicago, where RKO wanted to limit Cinderella 's run at a prominent theater to two weeks in order to exhibit their Italian-American co-production Stromboli , starring Ingrid Bergman and directed by Roberto Rossellini, for a longer period of time. When the matter was taken to court, a Chicago federal district court judge decreed that Cinderella be allowed the longer exhibition time. Numerous contemporary news items noted that the Disney picture either replaced the controversial Stromboli in particular theaters or exceeded it at the box office. According to a 28 Aug 1950 DV article, the picture was dubbed into French, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian for an unusually extensive, sixteen-country foreign premiere to be held on 25 Dec 1950. In Jan 1950, DV reported that Disney was also considering dubbing prints in Japanese and Hindustani.
       Cinderella was the first Disney animated feature film to use a single storyline since the studio's 1942 picture Bambi (see above). In a 5 Jun 1949 LAT article, Disney commented that the production was the "first really postwar picture reflecting our present organization." As reported in a 13 Feb 1950 Newsweek cover story, the Disney Studio desperately needed Cinderella to be a box office success. Despite attempts to gain capital through "package features" such as Make Mine Music and live action pictures such as Song of the South (see entries below), the studio was still seriously in debt. Cinderella was enormously successful at the box office, and the modern documentary estimates its initial earnings as $7,000,000, making it the sixth highest grossing film of 1950. The studio then recovered financially and was able to return to producing single-story, feature-length animation on a more regular basis as well as expanding its production of live-action subjects. According to modern sources, the sequence in which "Cinderella's" rags are magically transformed into a ball gown by the "Fairy Godmother" was Disney's personal favorite of all the animation done by his studio.
       Cinderella received Academy Award nominations for Best Song for "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Sound. The picture won prizes at the 1950 Venice International Film Festival and the 1951 Berlin Film Festival, and was also named one of the ten best of 1950 by Time . On 7 Apr 1950, Woods, Audley and Verna Felton recreated their roles for a radio broadcast of the story on the Screen Directors' Playhouse , which was repeated on 30 Jun 1950. As with many of the Disney animated features, Cinderella has been theatrically re-issued multiple times, and has been a best seller during its releases on home video. In late Dec 1990, Woods filed a lawsuit against the Disney Studio, claiming that it had violated her original contract by selling Cinderella on home video. Woods, who was paid $2,500 for her services, according to a Jan 1991 DV article, sought $20,000,000 in damages and based her suit on a similar action previously filed by Peggy Lee, who contended that her contract for the studio's 1955 animated film The Lady and the Tramp had been violated by video sales. The outcome of Woods's suit is not known.
       Among the many other filmed versions of the fairy tale are Georges Melies' 1899 short Cendrillon (see AFI Catalog. Film Beginnings, 1893-10 ; A.02670); the 1914 Famous Players' release directed by James Kirkwood and starring Mary Pickford (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0690); the 1955 M-G-M musical The Glass Slipper , starring Leslie Caron and directed by Charles Walters; and the 1960 Paramount production Cinderfella , starring Jerry Lewis and directed by Frank Tashlin. Televised versions of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical version of the story are the 1957 CBS broadcast, which starred Julie Andrews, Howard Lindsay and Dorothy Stickney; the 1965 CBS broadcast, which starred Lesley Ann Warren, Stuart Damon and Ginger Rogers; and the 1997 ABC broadcast, part of the Wonderful World of Disney series, which starred Brandy, Whitney Houston and Whoopi Goldberg. In 2002, Disney released Cinderella II: Dreams Come True , which was a sequel to the 1949 version. The sequel, directed by John Kafka, was released directly to video and DVD. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Boston Herald   15 Feb 1950.   
Box Office   17 Dec 49   p. 22.
Box Office   24 Dec 1949.   
Chicago Herald American   16 Jul 1950.   
Daily Variety   8 Jun 1948.   
Daily Variety   30 Dec 1948.   
Daily Variety   15 Apr 1949.   
Daily Variety   11 Oct 1949.   
Daily Variety   13 Dec 49   p. 3, 6
Daily Variety   6 Jan 1950.   
Daily Variety   27 Mar 1950.   
Daily Variety   28 Aug 1950.   
Daily Variety   2 Jan 1991.   
Film Daily   13 Dec 49   p. 4.
Film Daily   24 Feb 1950.   
Film Daily   12 Apr 1950.   
Hollywood Citizen-News   15 Feb 1950.   
Hollywood Citizen-News   27 Mar 1950.   
Hollywood Reporter   21 Aug 41   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Jun 44   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Dec 45   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Feb 47   p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter   9 May 47   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Jan 48   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Feb 48   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Mar 48   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Apr 48   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Oct 48   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Jan 49   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Mar 49   p. 1, 11
Hollywood Reporter   16 May 49   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Aug 49   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Sep 49   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Dec 49   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Feb 50   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Feb 50   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Apr 50   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Jun 50   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Aug 50   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Sep 50   p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   4 Jul 1944.   
Los Angeles Times   5 Jun 49   p. 1, 8
Los Angeles Times   2 Mar 50   p. 1, 3
Life   20 Feb 1950.   
Look   31 Jan 1950.   
Motion Picture Daily   13 Dec 1949.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   17 Dec 49   p. 121.
New York Herald Tribune   14 Feb 1950.   
New York News   4 Oct 1949.   
New York News   26 Mar 1950.   
New York Times   23 Feb 49   p. 33.
Newsweek   13 Feb 50   p. 84, 87-88
Newsweek   24 Dec 1962.   
San Fernando Valley Reporter   12 Jan 1950.   
The San Francisco Examiner   30 Mar 1950.   
Time   20 Feb 1950.   
Variety   14 Dec 49   p. 8.
Variety   15 Feb 1950.   
Variety   1 Mar 1950.   
Variety   15 Mar 1950.   
Variety   19 Apr 1950.   
Variety   24 May 1950.   p. 5, 22.

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