Monday, June 22, 2015

Original Production Drawing of Cinderella Holding the Pink Dress from "Cinderella," 1950

Original production drawing of Cinderella holding the pink dress in red, blue, and graphite pencils from "Cinderella," 1950; Numbered 39 in blue pencil lower right; Size - Cinderella 7 x 4 3/4", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

The 1950 Walt Disney feature film "Cinderella" was based on the French version of the tale by Charles Perrault, entitled "Cinderella" and written in 1698. The film was the second in the series of great Princess films developed by Disney, the first being Snow White in 1937. The character of Cinderella is usually front and center in the pantheon of Disney Princess merchandise, perhaps because she is the only Princess not to be of a noble blood line who ended up marrying a Prince and becoming royalty.

Cinderella was animated by both Marc Davis and Eric Larson, however the two animators had different perceptions of the character, with Davis preferring elegance and Larson opting for simplicity. This actually worked in the film's favor, resulting in Cinderella being a much more complicated character than her predecessor Snow White. As with other Disney films, the studio hired actress Helene Stanley to perform the live-action reference for Cinderella. She would later return to the studio for the characters of Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 and Anita Radcliffe in "One Hundred and One Dalmatians," 1961.

According to Christopher Finch, from his book "The Art of Walt Disney":
"Disney insisted that all scenes involving human characters should be shot first in live-action to determine that they would work before the expensive business of animation was permitted to start. The animators did not like this way of working, feeling it detracted from their ability to create character. The animators understood the necessity for this approach and in retrospect acknowledged that Disney had handled things with considerable subtlety."

Close up of Cinderella holding the Pink Dress.

About 400 women and girls auditioned for the voice role of Cinderella, but the role ended up going to Ilene Woods. Woods, who at the time worked on the radio and did not know anything about the audition, was asked one day by her colleagues Mack David and Jerry Livingston to sing a song from Cinderella. Without her knowledge, her recording was given by her friends to Disney Studios. After listening to the material Walt Disney immediately decided that he had found the voice with which to speak and sing the character of Cinderella and contacted Ilene. 

Close up of the production number, 39 lower right.

Early in the story, Cinderella receives an invitation to a royal ball at the King's Castle, and her Stepmother tells her she can go--provided she finishes all her chores and is able to find something suitable to wear. Cinderella goes back to her room, where she shows her mice and bird friends a dress that had belonged to her late mother. She is about to begin mending and altering the dress when she is called downstairs by her two stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella. The mice and birds decide to take it upon themselves to repair the dress. Jaq and Gus find a sash that Anastasia no longer wants, as well as some beads thrown out by Drizella, and take those along with other odds and ends to to help fix the dress. In a dramatic scene, the mice and birds reveal the dress to Cinderella from behind a folding screen, and she hugs the dress and thanks all her animal friends. This rare full figure drawing of an eyes and mouth open Cinderella as she first takes hold of the dress is just wonderful, and the dialog that she speaks is below:

Cinderella: "Why, I never dreamed... It's such a surprise! Oh! How can I ever...why... Oh, thank you so much!"

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below: