Cinderella might be the most saccharine of the fairy tales that Walt Disney Pictures had adapted so far. The story’s antagonists are merely a cruel stepmother and her two bratty daughters, and the protagonist is a sweet-natured girl who lives a life of obedient servitude and is eventually rewarded for her humility with a handsome prince and a royal title.
The 1950 Disney animated movie also omitted the bit in the original fairy tale where the ugly stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by birds, since at the time that was a bit too hardcore for the under-10 crowd. However, the fairy tale returned to its grislier origins in the Cinderella story thread from Disney’s Into the Woods musical adaptation, which opened in theaters last year.
It looks like the Cinderella character hasn’t lost any of her sweetness in the transition from animation to live-action. In a fresh clip from Disney’s new version of Cinderella, Ella (Lily James) runs into the charming Prince Kit (Richard Madden) during a hunt in the woods, leaving him charmed when she resists the urge to badmouth her cruel family – and begs him not to hurt the stag that he and his men have been tracking.
This new clip is the latest in a steady trickle of scenes that Disney has been releasing over the past couple of weeks, so here are the rest of the snippets rounded up in one place, for ease of viewing.
There have been several different live-actions spins on the Cinderella story over the years, including historical romcom reinvention Ever After (starring Drew Barrymore) and the 2004 film Ella Enchanted, in which the title character (Anne Hathaway) is given the “gift of obedience” by a fairy at birth – and is thereafter forced to do whatever she’s told, with less scrupulous characters quickly learning to take advantage of her magically-fuelled tractability.
Kenneth Branagh’s version of Cinderella might not be as subversive, but “have courage and be kind” isn’t exactly an awful message to deliver to young audiences. Besides, with “gritty” and “dark” becoming increasingly common buzzwords when it comes to reboots, there’s plenty of room for a bit of shameless sugary goodness in theaters.
Cinderella opens in U.S. theaters on March 13th, 2015