Friday, June 17, 2016

Original Production Animation Drawing of Cinderella from "Cinderella," 1950

Original production animation drawing of Cinderella in red and graphite pencils from "Cinderella," 1950, Walt Disney Studios; Numbered 35 in pencil lower right; Size - Cinderella 5 1/4 x 2 1/4", Sheet 10 x 12"; Unframed.

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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.

Close up of the original production animation drawing of Cinderella.

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."

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.

This is a wonderful and very delicate production drawing of Cinderella. She is masterfully rendered in graphite and red pencils. Her eyes and mouth are open are her hands are visible in front of her. Eric Larson, one of Walt Disney's master animators known as his Nine Old Men, supervised the animation of Cinderella in this scene. The drawing is from the scene when Cinderella is in Lady Tremaine's bedchamber and the wicked stepmother scolds Cinderella after Gus the mouse was discovered hiding under a teacup. The dialog for the scene is below:

Lady Tremaine: "Now, it seems we have time on our hands."
Cinderella: "But I was only trying to..."
Lady Tremaine: "Silence!"

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