Nothing puts the magic into a fairy story quite like a musical and Brian Forbes’ acclaimed The Slipper and the Rose does just that. From the high life and pomposity of Prince Edward, played by Richard Chamberlin, to Gemma Craven’s portrayal of Cinderella – beautiful and kind, yet locked into a miserable existence – music permeates the film. Whether it is a ballad sung straight from the heart or some more humorous lyrics about the family crypt, a regular, strong and powerful selection of music helps to describe the entire plot, from feelings and actions to the more everyday aspects of life. The first number is to be found before ten minutes are up!
The magic of the film is further complimented by the complete fairy tale setting and costume. Whether it’s the glittering coach that Cinderella arrives by or the décor within the palace, nothing and no one is out of character. Equally, dancing is not merely confined to regal palace balls, as a whole host of impressive acrobatics can be seen to accompany every number.
Yet whilst Forbes is careful to keep the essence of the Cinderella story, it is not without an array of original twists to keep the story fresh, right until the ending. The creation of the fairy godmother is particularly unique, giving a deeper insight into the life of those who spend their lives helping others and showing the hardships they themselves often face. Focusing on the plight of Cinderella and Prince Edward specifically, whilst within the broader context of society as a whole, The Slipper and The Rose also takes care to address the issue of position and role; whilst perhaps aspirations may seem somewhat futile, one should never stop believing.
Though it may be tempting to be put off by a run time of over 130 minutes, it’s hard not to be swept up into the dreamlike world of Cinderella whether you’re five or a hundred and five. A film for the whole family to enjoy and sing along to, The Slipper and the Rose will make for perfect entertainment at any time.
Best character – Fairy Godmother
Best costume – Cinderella at the ball.