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Friday Film Review: The Slipper and the Rose

The Slipper and the Rose (1976)
Genre: Fairy Tale/Musical/Romance
Grade: B

The first time I saw this musical version of Cinderella was a few years ago on the Disney Channel. I thought I’d watch it and laugh at Richard Chamberlain singing but ended up pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie. While it’s not musically equal to the Rodgers & Hammerstein songs, it’s visually beautiful, surprisingly funny and overall not bad.

Do I really need to recap the plot? Okay, I’ll steal a synopsis from the IMDB: “In the tiny kingdom of Euphrania, the King (Michael Hordern) and his court (Kenneth More, Lally Bowers, Edith Evans, etc) are most anxious to get Prince Edward (Richard Chamberlain) wed. But Edward wants to marry for love. Meanwhile, young Cinderella (Gemma Craven) finds life drastically altered with her father’s death as she’s forced to be a servant in her own house. But a cheery fairy godmother (Annette Crosbie) helps her with her impossible tasks, and even gets her to take an evening out at the King’s bride-finding ball. But when the magic wears off, and the prince with shoe-in-hand searches for Cinderella and finds her, what is going to happen to Euphrania without the needed marriage alliance to prevent war?”

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The music and songs are actually pretty good and were written by the Sherman brothers long known for their many Disney movies including “Mary Poppins,” “The Aristocats,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” and “The Jungle Book.” And while it’s obvious that few of the actors are going to set the musical world on fire, they all do a credible job singing as well as dancing. My favorite number, “Protocoligorically Correct,” is done by the King and his council – watch for the King mistiming his dance steps – while other good songs are “Once I Was Loved,” “Suddenly It Happens,” “He/She Danced with Me,” and “Tell Him Anything.” Misses are a number sung by the Prince and his manservant while dancing in the Royal Mausoleum and one that ends up with the palace servants dancing in the kitchens. Both are just too twee.

Visually the film is a delight. Anif Castle in Salzburg stands in for the Royal Palace with Southwark Cathedral as the scene of the Royal marriage. IMDB states that over 300 costumes were made for the film and if, like me, you adore Georgian period clothing, you have to watch this at least once. It’s a Fragonard painting come to life especially one scene of Cinderella on a flower bedecked swing. Be sure to check out the almost Mardi Gras coach Cinderella arrives at the ball in.

Richard Chamberlain, though getting a touch long in the tooth by this age, looks darn good as the Prince. Gemma Craven is more sweet ‘girl next door’ wholesomeness than dazzling beauty but a good pick for the Prince to fall for at first sight. The film is loaded with several of my favorite actors including Michael Hordern – who gets some of the best lines (he suggests a tax on snobbery to pay for the ball), Edith Evans – who gets the second best lines, Margaret Lockwood – deliciously evil as the stepmother, and Annette Crosbie – as a very tart and overworked Fairy Godmother.

There are a few versions of the DVD out there including full and widescreen, and I’ve heard that the UK version has a good commentary track. Unfortunately, the DVD is OOP though I managed to find a copy fairly cheaply and easily off ebay. But if you’d rather not spring for one, some kind soul has uploaded it to youtube. Check it out for yet another version of the timeless fairy tale. B

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

21 Comments

  1. Sayuri_x
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 04:10:03

    I loved this film as a kid. I had taped it on an old VHS off the telly and I watched it over and over. That and the Anne of Green Gables miniseries. Well worth a trip down memory lane. I might have to see if I can get a hold of this on DVD.

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  2. infogenium
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 04:23:24

    I loved this movie too and also taped it to watch repeatedly and made friends watch it too (repeatedly)

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  3. ShellBell
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 05:10:18

    I love this movie and have done so ever since my mother took me to see it when it was first released. I have a copy of it on video and we watch it every now and then and still thoroughly enjoy it.

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  4. Jayne
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 06:38:18

    Yikes, I just went and checked prices on ebay. There seem to be some cheap DVDs available from UK sellers but anyone looking for a Region 1 DVD is SOL. Even the VHS tapes are pricey.

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  5. Mara
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 08:56:57

    Aww, you didn’t like “What a Comforting Thing to Know”? That was so fun (and that’s not even considering the homoerotic subtext :)). At least half the songs are tongue-in-cheek. I loved all the songs. And visually, yes, this film is gorgeous.

    I first saw this movie in the theater in ’76 when I was fourteen and have loved it ever since. I think it’s my favorite Cinderella movie, even over Julie Andrews and Leslie Ann Warren. Gemma Craven was darling. I also loved her in “She Loves Me”. I always wished she had been in more film musicals.

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  6. Raine
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 08:58:59

    Also loved this film. Even remember the words to the songs, lol.
    I thought Chamberlain was very good, and Atwood was fabulous. :)

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  7. Darlene Marshall
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 09:24:42

    Huh. This one slipped completely past my film radar, and I like Richard Chamberlain.

    When you’re looking for quirky romantic films you might have missed, check out “St. Ives” (1998). It’s an adaptation of an unfinished R.L. Stevenson tale, and the British cast and the very hot Jean-Marc Barr are adorable.

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  8. Jayne
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 09:37:49

    @Darlene Marshall:

    When you're looking for quirky romantic films you might have missed, check out “St. Ives” (1998). It's an adaptation of an unfinished R.L. Stevenson tale, and the British cast and the very hot Jean-Marc Barr are adorable.

    Oh, I have this DVD. Love, love it. Richard E Grant is great in it too.

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  9. Darlene Marshall
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 09:47:43

    Oh yes, Richard E. Grant was amazing in “St. Ives”:

    “Who’s there?”
    “Hercules!”
    “Much better.”

    I need to download and watch it again.[g]

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  10. Joanna V
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 10:24:39

    Loved this film! For years I felt like I was one of the only people who had seen or heard of it. The visuals are lush and authentic looking, the music is fun, and it has some great character actors – the fairy godmother is the best ever! I never liked the version with Leslie Ann Warren, this one was much more my type. Luckily I bought a DVD copy years ago so I could introduce my daughter to it. May have to watch this with her again soon.

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  11. Mireya
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 10:51:36

    ick! Where’s my comment!!!! Dayamn … it doesn’t pay to be posting at 7 am :P

    I watched this movie in theaters (yes, movie theaters). It came out when I was in my early teens. Loved it. It’s at the top of my favorite “Cinderella” inspired movies, along with Leslie Caron’s “The Glass Slipper” and Drew Barrymore’s “Ever After”. I never liked Leslie Anne Warren’s version.

    Too bad this movie is pretty much a collector’s item :(

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  12. Jayne
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 10:53:42

    @Joanna V: I love Crosbie’s take on the Fairy Godmother. Very no nonsense but still a romantic.

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  13. Estara
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 12:32:09

    I can basically still quote verbatim from the lyrics – this one is the one I made my peace with after Chamberlain’s turn in Thorn Birds destroyed my Shogun Anjin-san love for him.

    In a secret kingdom of our own,
    with no castles,
    and no vassals
    and no throne…

    *happy sigh*

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  14. Estara
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 12:39:32

    @Mara: My favourite Cinderella movie ever probably was never released in the English speaking world. It’s the Czechoslovakian production Three Nuts for Cinderella, which regularly is shown on German TV each year. It’s a Winter background and Cinderella really is very strong. There’s no fairy godmother just the legacy of wishes from her mother (like in the original Grimm tale).

    There’s an homage on Youtube here, with the title music as the background.

    Libusa Safrankova, the main actress was a regular in many other fairy tale productions and always a favourite of mine.

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  15. library addict
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 12:54:47

    Oh, I love this film. I remember watching it on the BBC when I was in middle school, having no idea what it was (I was flipping between the whole 3 channels we had at that time and caught it from just after the credits).

    When we moved back to the states, I managed to record one of the rare tv airings and had to contend with a very lousy vhs recording (with many edits for commercials) for the longest time before it was released on DVD. FWIW, my region 1 widescreen version has the commentary by the director. I also have the soundtrack on CD. And while What a Comforting Thing to Know may not have worked for you in the film, I enjoy the lyrics and it's one of the many songs from the film I have on my mp3 player. But my absolute favorite song from the film is Tell Him Anything.

    Sorry to see the prices are so ridiculous. I am still waiting for them to rerelease Truly, Madly, Deeply as I refuse to pay the small fortune people want for that one, too.

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  16. Jayne
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 13:45:37

    Sorry to see the prices are so ridiculous. I am still waiting for them to rerelease Truly, Madly, Deeply as I refuse to pay the small fortune people want for that one, too.

    Me too. I still wonder why TMD hasn’t been re-released. I mean even the VHS copies sell for a mint.

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  17. Anne
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 20:56:26

    LOVED this musical as a kid. I remember watching this (and the Sound of Music) over and over again. Unfortunately, my father taped both films on beta cassette tapes; when our player finally broke, the world had moved on to VHS so TSATR was lost to me.

    Even though I haven’t watched it in over 20 years, I still remember the words to most of the songs. My top 3 favorites are Tell Him Anything But Not That I Love Him, Protocoligorically Correct (the funniest scene in the film), and What a Comforting Thing to Know.

    I think I’ll head over to YouTube to see if they have any clips…

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  18. SabrinaDarby
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 00:26:22

    Loved this film as a child… and as a teen… and still!!! You tube does have most of the clips, but I’m lucky enough that my sister bought a copy a few years back.

    So fun!

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  19. Jayne
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:30:43

    @SabrinaDarby: I believe the entire film is up on youtube in 15 parts.

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  20. Estara
    Dec 05, 2010 @ 13:28:46

    This post finally urged me to buy the DVD and the CD ^^, although I’ve owned the VHS since the late 80s, but I really rarely connect my old VHS to the TV these days.

    I found a recent Australia release in Widescreen, region free, but PAL system (which is no problem, as Germany has PAL and all the current TVs also support NTSC) via Amazon.co.uk and a person who is selling the CD at a price I can afford.

    And since the same seller sold this one on all the Amazons and I can’t find it as available now I seem to have been the last lucky person to buy this… O.o

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  21. Jayne
    Dec 05, 2010 @ 18:44:14

    @Estara: Glad to hear you got your DVD and CD copies. Perhaps the seller will list some more in the future or it will prompt a rerelease from the company. We can hope…

    ReplyReply

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