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The Slipper and the Rose

U.S. poster
Directed by Bryan Forbes
Produced by David Frost
and Stuart Lyons
Written by Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman and Bryan Forbes
Starring Gemma Craven
Richard Chamberlain
Michael Hordern
Edith Evans
Music by Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman
Cinematography Tony Imi
Editing by Timothy Gee
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) 1976
Running time 143 min.
Language English

The Slipper and the Rose is a 1976 British musical film retelling the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. This film was chosen as the Royal Command Performance motion picture selection for 1976.

Directed by Bryan Forbes, the film stars Gemma Craven as the heroine, Richard Chamberlain as the Prince, and a supporting cast led by Michael Hordern, Kenneth More, Edith Evans and Annette Crosbie. Academy Award nominated songs are written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, who also shared scripting duties with Forbes and, reportedly, the film's producer, legendary broadcaster/journalist Sir David Frost.

Contents

Plot

Prince Edward of Euphrania arrives back at his castle after unsuccessfully searching for a bride. He complaines to his valet and best friend, John, about how boring the life of a Prince is. Desiring a simple life, and hoping as well to marry the woman of his choice, the Prince expresses his concerns in song (Why Can't I Be Two People?). When Edward tells his parents that he wants to marry for love, they disagree with the idea (What's Love Got To Do With Getting Married?) and even Edward's cousin and grandmother agree with the King and Queen. Obviously frustrated, Edward goes out riding, with John tagging along.

Meanwhile, Cinderella's new stepmother and her daughters arrive home from the funeral of Cinderella's father. Cinderella goes upstairs to change her clothes, but is stopped by her Stepmother. She tells Cinderella that she will no longer live upstairs, but rather in the cellar, adding that Cinderella will also function as a servant to her and her two daughters. Cinderella refuses instantly, but the Stepmother and stepsisters threaten to send Cinderella to an orphanage if she doesn't comply. Cinderella recants her refusal, and proceeds to the cellar, to prepare a meal for her family and their guests. Cinderella realizes that while she has nothing now, she can never forget the time when her parents deeply loved her (Once I Was Loved). Later, Cinderella wonders outside to gather flowers for her parents' graves, and comes across the tomb of the royals. She can hear two people inside, and sees John and Edward. They are both making jokes about how wonderful it is to know that Edward will be buried like a King, no matter if he is a good or a rotten one (What A Comforting Thing To Know). Edward catches a glimpse of Cinderella running off, but thinks nothing of it.

Cinderella arrives back home and is scolded by her Stepmother, who gives her more chores to do. As Cinderella begins to peel the vegetables, she hears a knock at the cellar door. She is surprised to see an older woman, complaining of the cold weather. Cinderella welcomes her inside and offers her a seat by her fire. Suddenly, footsteps are heard above. The Stepmother arrives and asks Cinderella if she has done any work; before Cinderella can answer, she turns to see that the woman is gone and the entire cellar is clean and that the vegetables are cooking on the stove. The Stepmother is not the least bit impressed and gives Cinderella even more chores to do. The Stepmother leaves, while Cinderella is left confused by what has just taken place.

Back at the Castle, the King meets with his council, where he is informed that Edward has no choice but to marry, or a war will surely break out. Euphrania's enemy countries are wondering why no alliance has been formed yet, and are growing impatient. A marriage between Edward, and one of the Princesses from the enemy countries, will surely form an alliance. The Lord Chamberlain thinks of an idea to have a ball, and assures that Edward will most likely choose his bride then. The King and the council concur, (Protocoligorically Correct) and the meeting breaks. Edward is then informed, and is disgusted that his parents would agree to such an idea; but once again it seems that his entire family is against him, and he is persuaded to attend the ball (Bride-Finding Ball). When all of the foregin princesses refuse the invitation to the ball, the king suggests that they invite the local nobility.

Back at Cinderella's house, the Stepmother and Stepsisters receive an invitation to the ball. Since they have nothing to wear they take some of their old dresses, and demand that Cinderella sews all three of them elegant gowns for the ball from the fabric of the dresses. Cinderella is not a good seamstress, and has no idea what to do. The old woman reappears. Cinderella learns that she (the old woman) is a fairy godmother. The Fairy advises Cinderella to rest, while she handles the gowns. When Cinderella wakes up the next morning, the Fairy is gone, but has left behind three beautiful gowns. Cinderella is again left completely amazed.

That night, the Stepmother and Stepsisters depart for the ball. Cinderella is left saddened, until the Fairy shows up and informs Cinderella that she can go to the ball too. Cinderella and her coach are prepared, and she is sent off to the ball, but is warned that the magic can only last till midnight (Suddenly It Happens). At the ball, it is clear that Edward is not enjoying himself. But, when Cinderella arrives it's love at first sight, and she and Edward begin a waltz. After the waltz, they escape to the castle's garden sing about their love for each other (Secret Kingdom). The Lord Chamberlain arrives, just as the clock strikes midnight, and tells Edward that the king wants to see him. Edward says that he would be glad to meet with him, and tell him that he has found a bride. However, when Edward turns around, he sees Cinderella racing away. He pursues her, but she has disappeared, leaving only behind her glass slipper. Edward and Cinderella are left alone, and thinking of one another and the dance that they shared (He/She Danced With Me).

Edward sends his servants out far and wide, in search of the woman who fits the glass slipper. When the search turns out empty-handed, Edward builds a monument for the slipper, and hopes that, one day, Cinderella will turn up. Trying to get his mind off of Cinderella, Edward asks John if he has spoken to Lady Caroline, the woman whom John loves. John says that he hasn't, because she is a lady of the court, while he is a servant. (Position and Positioning). Wanting to help his friend, Edward knights John and gives him permission to pursue Caroline.

Edward is feeling hopeless and is frustrated by his fruitless search for Cinderella. He breaks the monument and tosses the slipper into the woods. One morning, John and Caroline are on a picnic and are heading back to the castle, when they see Cinderella in the woods, dancing with the slipper that she found. John recongizes her and tells Caroline that they have to get back to the castle to tell Edward.

As Cinderella dances, she is surprised by the arrival of Edward on his horse. They kiss and embrace and head back to the castle together. As soon as they arrive, they are greeted by the Stepmother and Stepsisters. Edward asks the permission of the Stepmother to marry Cinderella, and she is so shocked, that she gives full permission, while the Stepsisters can only whine & pout. Cinderella tells them that she forgives them for their mistreatment, and leaves with Edward. In the Throne Room, Edward and Cinderella arrive and go before the King and Queen. They both find Cinderella to be charming, but something seems to be troubling the King. He takes the Lord Chamberlain aside and tells him that, while Cinderella is nice and loves Edward, there is no way they can be married, because she is not royalty. John listens in on the conservation. As Cinderella readies herself for bed, the Lord Chamberlain enters and asks if he can speak to her, and she agrees. He tells her that while this is something he doesn't like to say, he has no choice but to be blunt. He tells Cinderella that, while he doesn't doubt her love for Edward, that they cannot be married, because of her bloodline. He also says that Cinderella will have to be exiled and that she will have to leave that very night. Brokenhearted, Cinderella asks the Lord Chamberlain to tell Edward that she never loved him, because she knows that Edward will try and find her because of his love for her (Tell Him Anything, But Not That I Love Him).

As the King watches Cinderella's carriage disappear into the night, from the Throne Room window, Edward storms in, obviously knowing about the exile (John told him). The King tells Edward that there was no choice, because Cinderella was not royalty, and a future Queen has to be royal. Edward, knowing he's fighting a losing battle, agrees to marry whomever the King and Queen choose, but says that his marital duties will go no further than the altar and leaves the Throne Room. Sometime later, we see that Cinderella is living peacefully in exile, but is still is thinking of Edward (I Can't Forget That Melody). Her Fairy Godmother arrives and asks Cinderella why she isn't at the castle, as Edward is getting married that day. Cinderella is surprised, and asks her who Edward is marrying. The Fairy Godmother doesn't know but, she plans to set things right.

Back at the Castle, the wedding is taking place. Everyone is surprised when Cinderella shows up in a wedding gown. The King interrupts the wedding and he and his council meet in private. The fairy godmother joins the discussion, and convinces the king to change the law, so that Edward can marry the girl of his chioce. In a surprising twist, Edward's cousin falls in love with Edward's chosen bride. So they are married, which fufills the alliance. Cinderella and Edward are so happy that they sing Secret Kingdom: Reprise.

Cast

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Dancers

  • Robert Arditti — Adrian Barnes — Wendy Barry — Tony Bateman — Nicky Benton — Michael Buchanan — Reg Bundy
  • Susan Claire — Ina Clare — Rosalind Cole — Michael Coleman — Lesley Collier
  • Michael Darbyshire — Anna Delaney — Bill Drysdale — Stanley Fleet — Neil Fitzwilliam — Joyce Graham
  • Johnny Heawood — Deanne Horsham — Sheila Humphries — Jerry (?) Hunt — Janie Kells — Lorna Kelner
  • Jimmy Land, Maurice Lane — William Lawford — Adrian Lepeltier — Susan Lockwood — Vince Logan
  • Connel Miles — Thorey Mountain — Connie Paull — Terry Rendle
  • Stuart Saunders — David Shelmordine — Petra Siniwski — Wayne Sleep — Arthur Sweet — Jessica Swift
  • Hilary Tickner — Jacquie Toye — Domini Winter

Songs

Award nominations

The Sherman Brothers were nominated for the following awards for The Slipper and the Rose:

Royal Command Performance

At the March 24, 1976 Royal Command Performance of the The Slipper and the Rose the Queen Mother commented to the songwriters, "The waltz you wrote for the ballroom scene is the most beautiful song I've ever heard."[1]

Criticism

Writing in The New York Times, critic Vincent Canby called the film "harmless", adding that the writers "stretched the fable without mercy, largely to accommodate a whole bunch of forgettable songs by the Shermans", and that, as the Prince and Cinderella, "Mr. Chamberlain and Miss Craven have impossible roles that are less like characters in a fairy tale than pictures on a jar of peanut butter."[2]

In other media

In the 2006 London play, Frost/Nixon, playwright Peter Morgan makes reference to Executive Producer, David Frost's involvement in The Slipper and the Rose suggesting that Frost is more "entertainer" than serious journalist.[3]

Jim Reston: "Where's David?"
Bob Zelnick: "At a movie premiere."
Jim Reston: "What, the night before we start taping? What premiere?"
Bob Zelnick: "The Slipper and the Rose"
Jim Reston: "The Cinderella movie?"
Bob Zelnick: "He's the executive producer."
Jim Reston: "What the one with Richard Chamberlain singing, 'ding diddy ding ding'?"

There is also a stage production that has been run on the British stage. It made its US premiere in February, 2004 at the Hale Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. A production was also put on in Nov.-Dec. 2008 at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse.

References

  1. ^ Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond by Robert B. Sherman, Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pg. 190
  2. ^ Canby, Vincent, "Screen: Glass Slipper Into Sow's Ear", The New York Times, November 5, 1976. Requires registration. Retrieved December 1, 2006
  3. ^ Morgan, Peter, Frost/Nixon. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 2006 p.41

External links


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