Cinderella (1899) – Georges Melies

I delight in the films of Georges Melies, and I love when I get to watch them for the blog. So despite the fact that it’s a short, barely clocking in at six minutes long, I was more than thrilled to watch it for DK Canada’s exceptionally enjoyable book Monsters in the Movies by director John Landis.

As I move deeper into the chapter on Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales, it seemed inevitable that some version of this story would be included in the book, and Melies is a great one to include.

With such a short runtime, the story doesn’t have much to spare, and the silent film kicks right into gear with Cinderella (Mlle Barral) meeting her Fairy Godmother (Bleuette Bernon)and transforming mice and pumpkins, scoured up from the singular set they are on, and transforming them into coachmen and a carriage.

Georges M_li_s' Cendrillon

And off she goes to the dance, and meets her Prince (Carmelli). Happily the ball room doesn’t seem very large, and there’s a huge clock (and a supernatural reminder within) to remind her that she has to leave by midnight.

There’s a celebration when the slipper finds the right foot, and a fun dance number that seems to have no connection to the story itself but seemed like a good way to close the film.

There’s such a sense of joy and innocence to Melies work that it’s hard to be enchanted and taken in by them, no matter how long they run. I love how he created his images, the sets, their designs, and of course, there is the beauty and ingenuity of the special effects he created and used.

Make sure you check out this one out, and treat yourself to classic film making, and see if you can figure out how he made his effects work. There are so many other wonderful films to come in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies. Pick one up today, and find something magical or macabre to watch tonight!


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