Volume 2: Filmography

 

CINDERELLA

 

 

December 22, 1911 (Friday)

Length: 900 feet

Character: Fairy tale

Director: George O. Nichols

Scenario: From Charles Perrault's famous fairy tale of the same name

Cast: Florence LaBadie (Cinderella), Harry Benham (the prince), Anna Rosemond, Frank H. Crane, Alphonse Ethier, Isabelle Daintry

Notes: 1. This film was produced in the summer of 1911, many months before its release. 2. Immediately following Thanhouser's autumn 1911 announcement of this film, Selig announced that it was going to release soon a three-reel version of the same story; this was subsequently released on January 1, 1912. The Selig version (with Mabel Taliaferro) received more notice in the trade publications than did the Thanhouser rendition. 3. In England, the Thanhouser Cinderella was released by the Thanhouser Co., Ltd. nearly two years later, on December 18, 1913, with advance showings to the trade at the company's showroom on Shaftesbury Avenue, London, from November 4 through 7, 1913.

 

SYNOPSIS, The Moving Picture World, December 16, 1911:

"A meek, mild baron, with one motherless daughter, married again, and his second choice was an unlucky one. For not only did the woman browbeat her husband and make his life unhappy, but she beat an ill-treated poor little Cinderella and made her a servant. The cruel step-mother had two daughters of her own, who were given every luxury, and they aided their mother to make the life of their stepsister very sad indeed. The king's son gave a grand ball, and the baron and his family were among the invited guests. But when Cinderella wanted to go, she was cuffed and jeered at, and told that she must stay in the kitchen, her proper place, so the stepmother said. Little Cinderella helped the others get ready for the night of enjoyment, and then sat in the kitchen alone in her rags. Really no one could blame her if she cried.

"Fortunately for the poor child she had a fairy godmother, but up to this time she had never been in evidence. But the fairy godmother, who had been keeping an eye on the baron's household, decided that it was about time for her to make her influence felt. So she dropped into the kitchen via the fireplace (fairy godmothers seldom use doors; it is hard to say why, but they don't) and told Cinderella that not only was she going to the ball, but she was going in style. Her magic wand enabled her to provide a coach, coachman, footman, and horses out of a pumpkin, a lizard, some mice and a rat. Then another turn of the wand changed Cinderella's rags into a fine ball gown, and she started for the castle in high spirits. But she was told that she must be home by midnight, and like a dutiful daughter she promised. Also, the fairy godmother told her that at midnight all her finery would revert to its former state.

"Cinderella created a sensation at the ball, and the prince devoted all his attention to her. The wicked stepmother and her daughters did not recognize in the gorgeous guest the forlorn child that they had treated like a slave. In fact, Cinderella had such a good time that it was midnight before she knew it. She ran away as fast as she could, half way down the steps her gay garb turned into rags, and the coach and attendant became mice, pumpkins and lizards. As she fled she dropped one of her slippers, and the prince found it. Then he caused proclamation to be made that he would marry the lady who could wear the slipper if she could produce the mate to it. The stepsisters tried it on, with other dames, but failed to prove that it could fit. Then Cinderella asked for a test. She proved that the slipper was hers, and as she did so her rags turned back into a ball gown again. And the prince married her, and they lived happily together forever afterward. What became of the wicked sisters no one knows or cares. But probably the father of Cinderella had a happier life, for the chances were that his wicked wife was afraid to annoy him, fearing that the fairy godmother might get busy again."

 

REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, December 30, 1911:

"Delightful! A story full of the quality that will please Christmas audiences. This best of German fairy tales (and the best fairy tales we have are German) is pictured in perfect settings and carefully and artistically staged in every way. The Thanhouser Company has members that perfectly fill the different parts. Cinderella, herself, is especially suitable and seems to live in the fairy part she plays as ideal princess. The picture is a joy forever."

 

REVIEW, The New York Dramatic Mirror, December 27, 1911:

"One finds this production a delightful conception throughout, it is so thoroughly in accord with the spirit of the old tale. It has been put on with exceptional care and finish, and results in scenes of much artistic worth. The changes the fairy godmother effects are also notable. The actors are exceptionally well suited for their roles, and the prince and his maid make a decidedly charming pair. It is a film that shows much careful thought and one for which the producer is deserving of much praise."

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.