Cinderella (1965)

aka Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

2009 #91
Charles S. Dubin | 78 mins | TV | G

CinderellaThis clearly made-for-TV adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (the second of three, to date) is a rather weak affair, easily demonstrating why no one seems to remember it.

The story is almost a scene-for-scene recreation of Disney’s version at times, although considering the limited variation in adapting the story — unless one decides to get quite radical or flesh it out, that is — that’s forgivable. The cast are largely unmemorable, the exceptions (not for good reasons) being Stuart Damon, whose acting is poor but singing is fine, and Ginger Rogers, who is barely noticeable as the Queen, particularly as she doesn’t do what she was most famous for. Fair enough, she was in her 50s, but the only other reason for her presence is to provide a star name at the top of the cast list. And Celeste Holm I recognised from High Society, which is neither here nor there.

Dubin does the best he can with TV studio limitations, using colourful painterly backdrops and trying to find some variation in camera angles, but it’s largely as flat as the sets. The musical numbers are quite entertaining, if mostly insipid, not that any approach R&H’s best anyway. I couldn’t tell you much about any of them within a few hours, never mind longer.

Anyone combating the might of a Disney classic is going to struggle, but that doesn’t prevent a decent effort from being produced. Between a below par set of songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein and weak staging, this Cinderella doesn’t even come close to that.

2 out of 5